PsA can make it hard to get a good night’s rest.
A small 2017 study suggests 84 percent of people
with PsA have poor sleep quality. While it might be tempting to hit the snooze button sometimes, waking up and going to bed at the same time every day can make a big difference in combatting PsA fatigue.
If you’re feeling extra stiff or uncomfortable in the morning, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can help. These medications can help ease inflammation, reduce pain, and give you improved range of motion.
Gentle movements in the a.m. can help loosen tight joints and improve circulation. From head to toe, gradually stretch each body part. Pay particular attention to areas most affected by PsA, like
your neck, arms, and legs.
A long, warm shower can work wonders on morning stiffness from PsA and get you ready for the day.
Be careful that the water’s not too hot, though, which can dry out your skin. The ideal temperature is somewhere between 92 and 100°F (33.3 and 37.7°C), according to the Arthritis Foundation.
Another way to soothe joint stiffness is by snuggling beneath a warm blanket in the morning. Consider investing in an electric blanket with a timer. That way, you can set it to turn on automatically a few minutes before your alarm goes off and wake up feeling toasty.
While the pain and stiffness of PsA can make physical activity seem less than appealing, low-impact exercise can improve your mobility and ultimately make you feel a lot better. Aim to take a 30- to 60-minute walk every day. Regular exercise can help improve your symptoms and maintain a moderate weight, which can reduce stress on your joints, per the Arthritis Foundation.
Orthotic shoes can help make walking easier and
more comfortable when you have PsA. They help take the pressure off joints and provide additional support for walking. You may also want to look for a pair with Velcro, rather than laces, if finger pain and stiffness from PsA makes tying shoes uncomfortable.
Wearing a neoprene brace over your kneecap can help reduce pain from PsA and keep your knee in proper alignment. This can be especially helpful
when you’re doing any exercises that involve
the quadriceps — the large muscle on the
front of your thigh.
Heat and sweat can trigger PsA flares. If you’re heading outside on a warm day, pop on a hat to keep the sun off your face and catch some sweat. Light-colored clothing, which absorbs less heat from the sun, can also keep you more comfortable.
For many people, warm weather, sunlight, and high levels of humidity improve PsA symptoms, such as joint pain and stiffness. However, this type of weather can also be a trigger for flares in others with PsA.
If that’s the case for you, try to limit the amount of time you spend outdoors on especially sunny days.
Planning out your shopping trip can help you breeze through the supermarket and preserve your energy levels. This PsA grocery list can help keep you on track.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from grocery workers.
If your joint pain is making shopping a struggle,
the staff can lend a hand to help you reach items
on high shelves and lift heavy products into your cart.
Opt for a shopping cart instead of a hand basket when grocery shopping. The cart will help you avoid carrying extra weight that can put strain on your joints. Plus, you can lean on it if you’re feeling pain and fatigue.
Research shows that plant-based foods can reduce inflammation, thus potentially improving PsA symptoms. Focus your grocery shopping on the fresh produce section so you’ll have plenty of nourishing fruits
and veggies to eat throughout the week.
Canvas tote bags aren’t just good for the earth — they’re easier on the joints, too, says the Arthritis Foundation. Reusable bags also tend to be easier to grip and carry than plastic. Try to avoid overfilling the bags, which could make them difficult to get home.
While diet can’t cure PsA, the foods you eat can make
an impact on your symptoms. Research shows that fresh fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants. Eating them can help reduce the inflammation that’s common in chronic conditions like PsA. Avoid inflammatory foods that can trigger a PsA flare, such as red meat, dairy,
It can be a challenge to use conventional forks and spoons if your finger joints are swollen from PsA. Make mealtime easier by using adaptive cutlery, such as good-angled grip utensils. They feature a bent handle covered in an easy-to-grasp material, which makes them easier to use. Another option is to use thick, flexible covers for utensils that can help you grip
them while eating.
Roughly 5 percent of people with PsA say the condition makes it difficult or impossible to lift a full cup to their mouth, according to a 2016 study. Consider stocking your kitchen with reusable straws, which can allow
you to sip from a cup without lifting it up.
Another helpful kitchen hack for people with PsA is looping a ribbon or scarf through the refrigerator door handle, according to the Arthritis Foundation. When swelling and stiffness in your fingers makes it difficult
to open the door, you can slide your arm through the ribbon and lean away from the door, allowing your
body weight to pull it open.
Meal prep may tire you out. Keep a stool nearby
to take frequent breaks and restore your energy.
Investing in an ergonomic office chair can make it much more comfortable to work at the computer for long periods of time. Choose one with lumbar support that complements the natural curve of your spine. Chairs with lots of adjustments for things like the seat height, tilt, and armrest angles can also help you find
a comfortable position for the workday.
As you work at your desk, try to be mindful about your posture. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your upper back straight. Your arms should be at about a 90-degree angle, and your wrists should be straight while you work. Ideally, your feet should press firmly on the floor. If your feet don’t quite reach, use a footrest for extra support. Finally, aim to get up from your chair
and stretch or walk around roughly every half hour
to prevent pain and stiffness.
Cradling a phone between your ear and shoulder can worsen neck pain from PsA. A headset can help you avoid stress on your neck and shoulders during long conference calls.
Swapping a conventional mouse for a more ergonomic vertical mouse can help lessen the stress on your wrist and hand, ultimately keeping you more comfortable. You can also perform exercises to prevent hand stiffness throughout the day.
If you need to spend a long time reading printed materials, you might want to add a document holder
to your workstation. It keeps the paper at eye level, thus helping you avoid pain from bending your neck downward to read.
Around 1 in 3 people with PsA have mild anxiety, according to a 2019 review of 24 studies. A pet may help, though. Research shows that pet ownership can lead to lower levels of anxiety and other health benefits. Plus, seeing your furry friend snuggled up may help set the tone for your own relaxing bedtime routine.
Stress can exacerbate PsA symptoms, so it’s especially important to find ways to relax at the end of the day. One proven relaxation technique for PsA is mindfulness meditation, according to the Arthritis Foundation. It involves sitting quietly and doing a 30- to 45-minute body scan, during which you focus on every part
of your body.
PsA can make skin extra sensitive. Before you go
to bed, slip on loose, cozy clothing. Pajamas made
of silk or cotton generally aren’t as irritating as tight, synthetic fabrics.
Aromatherapy can help you relax, too. Lavender is particularly known for its calming properties. Consider lighting a lavender-scented candle or placing a few drops of lavender essential oil into a diffuser.
Psoriatic Arthritis: A Day in the Life