Best Natural Remedies for Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic Arthritis Overview
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis that can develop in people with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes patches of red, scaly skin. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include joint pain and inflammation. There is no cure, so treatment revolves around symptom management. Your doctor may prescribe a variety of remedies, including anti-inflammatories and pain medications.
Fortunately, there are also several natural remedies and lifestyle changes that may help relieve symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The body converts omega-3 fatty acids into anti-inflammatory chemicals. Studies involving people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other inflammatory diseases indicate that fish oils may decrease inflammation and stiffness in joints.
Healthy fish oils are found in salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, halibut, and cod. According to the Arthritis Foundation, pregnant women should avoid king mackerel and eat no more than eight ounces of albacore tuna each month, due to potentially harmful mercury levels.
Fish oils are also available as a dietary supplement. High levels can interfere with some medications, so talk to your doctor before taking fish oil supplements.
Some patients find that turmeric, an herb in the ginger family, may ease psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis flare-ups. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are a frequent topic of study. You can add a touch of turmeric to almost any dish. It is also available as a dietary supplement. Ask your doctor or naturopathic practitioner to advise you about the correct dosage.
Diet and Weight Management
Some of the foods you eat may trigger an inflammatory response. A study reported by the Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research suggests that plant-based foods can help regulate the inflammatory process. Therefore, a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and whole wheat can reduce inflammation.
A healthy diet can also help you maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight can add stress to your joints and interfere with mobility.
Give Your Joints Some TLC
Use a heating pad or take a soothing warm bath to loosen up stiff joints and muscles. Use ice or a cold pack on your joints and muscles to help relieve pain. Whenever possible, use your entire hand rather than just some of your fingers to push doors and to lift heavier objects. Use assistive devices to open bottles and jars so you don’t strain your fingers and hands.
It’s hard to think about exercise when you’re hurting, but exercise is important for your health. It can help strengthen muscles and increase flexibility. Exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight so you put less stress on your joints and muscles. If you’re really hurting, try exercising in a pool. The water will help you build strength without stressing your joints and muscles.
If you don’t have time for a daily workout, take several 10-minute breaks to stretch and perform some range-of-motion exercises. Your doctor, physical therapist, or trainer can recommend specific exercises for your condition.
Getting a good night’s sleep will help you fight fatigue. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. If you have trouble falling asleep, try taking a soothing warm bath before going to bed.
Also, make some time to rest and relax during your busy day. Don’t know how? Put your feet up and read or listen to your favorite music for 20 minutes or so.
Find a Naturopathic Doctor
A naturopathic doctor is one who concentrates on lifestyle factors and natural therapies to help patients manage illness and chronic diseases. They may help you improve your diet and suggest alternative therapies, as well as discuss therapies that are complementary to conventional treatment. These may include homeopathy, psychology, and spirituality. Many doctors will work in partnership with naturopathic practitioners to provide you with a whole body approach to health.
- Exercise. (n.d.). National Psoriasis Foundation. Retrieved October 14, 2013 from http://www.psoriasis.org/treating-psoriasis/complementary-and-alternative/exercise
- Herbs/Natural Remedies. (n.d.). National Psoriasis Foundation. Retrieved October 14, 2013 from http://www.psoriasis.org/treating-psoriasis/complementary-and-alternative/herbal-remedies
- Psoriatic arthritis. Lifestyle and home remedies. (2010, December 9). Mayo Clinic staff, Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 14, 2013 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/psoriatic-arthritis/DS00476/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies
- Supplement Guide: Fish Oil. (n.d.). Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 14, 2013 from http://www.arthritistoday.org/arthritis-treatment/natural-and-alternative-treatments/supplements-and-herbs/supplement-guide/fish-oil.php
- Watzl B. Anti-inflammatory effects of plant-based foods and of their constituents. (2008, December). Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2008 Dec;78(6):293-8. doi: 10.1024/0300-98220.127.116.113.
- What is Naturopathic Medicine? (n.d.). Bastyr University. Retrieved October 15, 2013 from http://www.bastyr.edu/academics/areas-study/study-naturopathic-medicine/about-naturopathic-medicine