While psoriatic arthritis has no current cure, early diagnosis and treatment can help you avoid severe joint damage and other complications.
A number of medications and therapies can help improve the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. You and your doctor can choose the best treatment for you based on the extent and severity of your condition.
Keep reading to learn about all the available treatment options.
- using fragrance-free laundry products
- choosing clothing made of soft, natural fibers
- keeping your skin moist and hydrated
- eating a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables
- trying an anti-inflammatory diet
- using heat to improve blood circulation to reduce stiffness and muscle spasms
- applying cold packs to reduce acute inflammation
- if you smoke, quitting smoking
- if you drink, avoiding or limiting alcohol
- trying low-impact exercises like walking or yoga
Your doctor may prescribe several types of medications to help you manage your psoriatic arthritis symptoms — especially if they become more severe. They may even prescribe a combination of medications.
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen to control pain and swelling
- disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate or apremilast for peripheral arthritis (non-spine)
- injections with biologic medications that target specific parts of the immune system to slow or stop inflammation
Corticosteroid injections may occasionally be recommended to reduce inflammation from psoriatic arthritis.
With these injections, your doctor can target specific joints or areas where you are having the most pain and inflammation. This could increase your relief while reducing potential side effects.
Oral steroids that affect the entire body and cause bone loss are no longer recommended for psoriatic arthritis.
Ultraviolet light can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, so light therapy is sometimes used to treat the skin component of psoriatic psoriasis, not joint inflammation.
Several types of light therapies can be used. They include:
- Narrowband UVB phototherapy. The “gold standard” for treating psoriasis, this type of light therapy exposes your entire body to UVB light in an enclosed box for just a few minutes at a time.
- Sunlight. Roughly 20 to 30 minutes of sun exposure can help people with mild symptoms.
- Excimer laser. This handheld device can be used on small, specific areas. Treatments are done 10 to 12 times, several times per week.
- UVA light. On its own, UVA light doesn’t help psoriasis. In clinical settings, it’s combined with a chemical called PUVA. It takes 20 to 25 treatments a few times each week to see results.
If your psoriatic arthritis becomes severe and other treatments and medications are not providing relief, your doctor may recommend orthopedic surgery.
These surgeries are usually suggested when you’re in danger of severe joint damage, or have limited function because of pain and inflammation.
Complementary and alternative therapies may also provide relief for psoriatic arthritis.
Discuss these with your doctor to get an understanding of how these therapies might help your specific condition, and how often to use them:
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation can improve function and reduce pain.
- Acupuncture has not been scientifically proven to help psoriatic arthritis, but many people report that it gives them some relief.
- Massage therapy can promote relaxation and loosen joints.
- Herbs and nutritional supplements may also provide benefit for some people.