If you have recently been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, you will know the challenges you face day to day, from managing pain and inflammation to preserving joint function. Searching for psoriatic arthritis treatments can seem overwhelming with the sea of information and different opinions available. Luckily, we at Active Care Chiropractic have put together this blog to answer all your questions regarding psoriatic arthritis. We will also explore the best treatment options available so that you can better understand how we can help you to manage your condition more easily!
What Is Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects some people with psoriasis. This variation of arthritis causes symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness and inflammation, which can be uncomfortable to live with. This condition affects 1 in 3 people with psoriasis and often develops a few years after initial diagnosis, although not everyone with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis, it is still a possibility for those with this skin disease.
As opposed to psoriasis that affects the skin, psoriatic arthritis mainly affects the joints causing swelling and pain that can lead to permanent damage. Similarly, they are both autoimmune diseases resulting in the immune system attacking healthy tissue causing pain and inflammation. You may notice periods where your symptoms reduce and other periods where you experience flare ups. Although psoriatic arthritis flare ups can be hard to predict, seeking treatment can help to manage this more easily.
Psoriatic Arthritis Causes
Unfortunately, what causes psoriatic arthritis is still relatively unknown. It is believed to be linked to your genetics, as 40% of people with psoriatic arthritis have family members with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. This autoimmune disease occurs when your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells and tissue, leading to inflammation in the joints and skin cells to overproduce. It’s also believed that there are certain environmental contributors that can cause this immune response, from lifestyle factors to physical trauma. Although anyone can develop psoriatic arthritis, here are some of the known causes that put individuals more at risk:
Psoriasis: As mentioned previously, those with skin psoriasis are at risk of getting psoriatic arthritis. Although not everyone with psoriasis will, between 20-40% of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. This is because both these conditions are due to your immune system attacking your body, resulting in inflammation. Although medical professionals are not able to predict whether those with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis, you will usually have psoriasis symptoms first affecting the skin, followed by arthritis symptoms that can take months or even years to appear following a diagnosis.
Genes: Psoriatic arthritis is thought to run in families. Having immediate family members with psoriasis or having a family history of joint problems and diseases can not only make you more likely to develop psoriasis, but increases your chances of getting psoriatic arthritis.
Age: The older you are, the more at risk you are of developing psoriatic arthritis. Although anyone can get this autoimmune disease at any stage in their lives, those aged between 30 and 50 are more at risk. As we age, the immune system may undergo changes which include the decline of efficiency and function. This can lead to an increased susceptibility to autoimmune conditions, including psoriatic arthritis.
Infection: Physical trauma such as an infection can trigger psoriatic arthritis development. This is because infections can set off your immune system which can lead to it attacking your skin and joints, which can cause inflammation in the body resulting in psoriatic arthritis.
Symptoms Of Psoriatic Arthritis Flare Ups
Although psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition that can get worse overtime, there are periods where your symptoms go away and then come back. This can be due to lifestyle factors or changes in your immune system that lead to your symptoms presenting themselves. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis mainly affect the joints, including pain, swelling and stiffness similar to regular arthritis. However, there are some symptoms that are only present in this type of arthritis. Some of the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis to watch out for are:
Joint pain: Psoriatic arthritis commonly causes pain, stiffness and tenderness in the joints, particularly in the fingers and toes. This can limit range of motion making it more challenging to perform everyday tasks, impacting the overall quality of life for those affected.
Foot pain: One of the symptoms is pain in the heels and soles of the feet. This is because psoriatic arthritis causes inflammation in the areas where tendons and ligaments attach to the bones. This can make a daily activity like walking much more difficult and even painful.
Lower back pain: Psoriatic arthritis can also affect the lower back, causing pain and stiffness. This lower back pain may be due to inflammation in the sacroiliac joints which link the pelvis and lower spine, leading to discomfort and reduced flexibility.
Swelling: One symptom that is present in this form of arthritis is swelling in the fingers and toes, which causes them to look like sausages. This can be particularly painful and can restrict the movement of the affected fingers, impacting the ability to perform fine motor tasks and handle objects.
Nail psoriasis: An uncomfortable symptom of psoriatic arthritis is changes in the nails. This can include changes in the appearance such as ridges, discolouration and even separating from the nail bed. The changes in the appearance and texture of the nails, although not painful, can be embarrassing for some individuals as well as causing discomfort making it difficult to trim and manage them properly.
Eye irritation: Some individuals with psoriatic arthritis can experience inflammation in the eyes, leading to symptoms of redness, pain, sensitivity to light and blurred vision. It’s important to seek a medical professional to prevent potential complications to your vision.
The 5 Types Of Psoriatic Arthritis
Typically, when we think of arthritis we associate it with joint pain. However, psoriatic arthritis
manifests in various forms, each presenting unique characteristics and affecting individuals differently. But what are the 5 types of psoriatic arthritis?
- Asymmetric psoriatic arthritis
This type is typically a mild form of psoriatic arthritis and involves inflammation in a few joints on one side of the body, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. It commonly affects joints in the fingers, toes, wrists or knees.
- Symmetric arthritis
Often confused with rheumatoid arthritis, symmetric psoriatic arthritis affects the same joints on both sides of the body. It commonly leads to pain, swelling, and stiffness in multiple joints, such as the knees, wrists and elbows, and can potentially result in joint deformities over time.
- Distal arthritis
Sometimes mistaken for osteoarthritis, this type specifically affects the joints of the fingers and toes, leading to swelling, stiffness and pain in those areas. Distal arthritis can also cause changes to the nails, including pitting, ridges and separation from the nail bed.
Causing back pain, psoriatic spondylitis affects the spine and sacroiliac joints, leading to inflammation, stiffness and discomfort. This can lead to reduced mobility and flexibility, making it difficult to move and perform daily tasks.
- Arthritis mutilans
Considered to be the most severe and rarest form of psoriatic arthritis, arthritis mutilans can cause significant joint damage and deformities. It often leads to the breakdown of bone cartilage, resulting in irreversible changes and even disability. Particularly affecting the hands, feet, fingers and toes.
Psoriatic Arthritis Treatments
While there is no cure for this autoimmune disease, psoriatic arthritis treatments involve managing this condition and helping individuals reduce pain and improve their quality of life. Treatments can help to alleviate symptoms as well as slow down the progression of the disease, and can be in the form of medication, lifestyle changes and natural treatments, for example; red light therapy. Some patients may choose multiple options to enhance the outcome of treatment and help them get back to feeling normal again.
Psoriatic Arthritis Medication: When seeing a doctor you may be prescribed non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids to help reduce pain and swelling. Despite these psoriatic arthritis medications not offering a cure, the main focus is on relieving symptoms, slowing down the condition’s progression and improving quality of life.
Exercise: Although not a stand alone psoriatic arthritis treatment, with the addition of regular exercise in your routine, this can help strengthen your muscle to help you better support your joints. This can ease the pressure you put on your joints everyday, and help to relieve some of the inflammation and therefore pain that comes with this condition.
Diet: Making dietary changes can help you manage your psoriatic arthritis symptoms. Not only can eating the right foods help prevent psoriatic arthritis flare ups, but maintaining a healthy weight can help ease the stress put on your joints. Incorporating a variety of anti-inflammatory food, such as fruits vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats found in fish, nuts and seeds, can reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate some of the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic Arthritis Treatments And Red Light Therapy
If you have tried other treatments and have not received the results you were hoping for, then you may want to try red light therapy to relieve the psoriatic arthritis symptoms you’re experiencing. This technology is an innovative solution to helping those who are suffering from this disease to heal and get an improved quality of life. Using red light therapy alongside other psoriatic arthritis treatments will help you to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain with the help from infrared light. This technology works by exposing the skin to red or near infrared light, which is then absorbed by the cells to stimulate cellular energy. This is great for inflammation as red light therapy stimulates blood flow, helping to improve circulation. This enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to inflamed tissues, supporting the body’s natural healing processes and reducing the inflammation caused by psoriatic arthritis.
Choose Active Care Chiropractic For Psoriatic Arthritis Treatments
After hearing the amazing effects of red light therapy for psoriatic arthritis, why not try it out for yourself? Here at Active Care Chiropractic we’re proud owners of two red light therapy devices that not only help to target specific psoriatic arthritis areas, but also heal your whole body. So whichever type of psoriatic arthritis you’re experiencing, using this treatment alongside your medication can help relieve your symptoms and get you back to feeling like yourself again! Get in touch today and start your recovery with us.