The pain and discomfort associated with psoriatic arthritis can take a toll on your everyday life. Daily activities like bathing and cooking can become a burden.
Instead of letting psoriatic arthritis slow you down, there are several lifestyle changes and assistive gadgets you can try to relieve your joint pain and accomplish your day-to-day tasks.
Household chores don’t need to be done all at once. You can spread out cleaning and other chores throughout the week or divide them into segments throughout the day.
If you pace out your cleaning activities, you’ll still get them done over time but won’t hurt yourself in the process.
Hand pain is a common issue for people with psoriatic arthritis. This can make it difficult to fully grasp onto tools you need. Some tips for making tools easier to use include:
- wrapping brooms and mops with a soft cloth to make them easier to grip
- shopping for utensils with large handles and grips
- choosing lightweight tools over heavy ones
Store kitchen tools that you use most often on the counter and in easy-to-reach cabinets. You can strategically place electric appliances, like blenders, can openers, and food processors on the countertop to make cooking a breeze.
You might also want to consider getting rid of heavy pots, cast-iron skillets, and pans in favor of lightweight cookware.
Your home should be free of furniture and décor that take up floor space and make it difficult to walk around.
Get rid of anything you’re not using to fulfill a specific purpose. Throw away any unused boxes and papers.
Consider removing decorative rugs and throws that may trip you. The more stuff you have, the harder it becomes to clean your house.
Consider asking your employer for a workplace assessment to make your office environment more ergonomically friendly.
If you’re a member of a union, speak to your union representative to review your rights and options for the workplace.
Some workplace adaptations that may help people with psoriatic arthritis include:
- adjusting the position of your computer monitor so you don’t strain your neck
- using a track pad instead of a mouse
- using an ergonomic chair
- wearing glasses made for looking at a computer screen
- changing the height of your desk
- placing a footrest under your desk to prop up your feet
- rearranging your work area to avoid having to lift heavy items
- negotiating a work-from-home schedule with your employer
- using a headset for phone calls
- using electronic voice dictation so you don’t have to type on a keyboard
If you can't work due to your condition, you can apply for disability.
If you sit for a long period of time while at work or home, take a break every so often to stretch out. You can set an alarm to stretch or walk around for five minutes every hour. Stretching keeps you limber and prevents stiffness.
Occupational therapy focuses on helping you perform everyday activities with greater independence.
An occupational therapist is an excellent resource to help you improve the skills you need to accomplish tasks or find an alternative way to complete them.
They can give you tips on how to do things with minimal pain and discomfort, such as:
- getting dressed
- cooking and eating
- moving around the house
- engaging in leisure activities
- going to work
- participating in social activities
Smart technology has come a long way and is becoming less expensive. You can now connect your thermostat, lights, and other appliances to your smartphone so you don’t have to get up to turn them on and off. You may even be able to turn them off and on using voice commands.
You can also purchase lamps that turn on by just touching the base.
A nonskid mat will help reduce your risk of slipping in areas that may get wet, like the kitchen or bathroom. Grab bars nearby are also a good idea for helping you move around the house more safely.
If you have to carry something, use a rolling bag or cart instead of heavy bags. You can purchase a cart that folds up for easy storage.
Consider installing a toilet seat riser. This type of adaptive device adds five or six inches to the height of the toilet, making it easier to sit and stand.
Wearing comfortable shoes is essential. The wrong type of shoe can cause damage to joints or make your joint pain worse.
Make sure your shoes have plenty of room in the front, as well as solid arch support and good cushioning. Avoid wearing high heels and sandals with no support.
Tight clothing puts unnecessary pressure on your joints. Wear breathable and loose clothing that’s easier on your body.
Don’t push yourself past your limits because you’re ashamed or embarrassed of your condition. Know that it’s OK to ask for help. A good support system can make a world of difference.
Adaptive and assistive devices are available to help manage psoriatic arthritis. While you may be tempted to buy as many as you can, be sure to first discuss your options with your doctor.
Relying too much on these devices could cause more harm than good, since you still need to maintain your muscle strength. Meeting with an occupational therapist could be the key to finding out what type of assistance you need on a daily basis.