As of today, arthritis comes in many forms and variations that it becomes necessary to learn more about each condition in order to understand how they can be prevented and/or treated. Psoriatic arthritis is one of the common types of this disease and it is every bit as debilitating as any other form of arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis is characterized as a chronic condition that manifests as skin and joint inflammations. For people who are not familiar with this disease, it is both a skin condition as well as a malady of the joints. While Psoriasis and arthritis usually occur separately, and one disease often precedes the other, there can be a point where both conditions are present and prevalent.
Once the disease has been properly diagnosed after a battery of tests, the next step is finding the right treatment for this specific type of arthritis. There are a number of psoriatic arthritis treatment options, including (but not limited to) the following:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are among the most common treatments used for psoriatic arthritis. Since the condition is characterized mainly by swelling of the skin as well as the joints, anti-inflammatory drugs will help manage the condition and alleviate the pain to a certain point. In addition to reduced swelling, NSAIDs also inhibit the production of prostaglandin, which is responsible for sensitizing spinal neurons to pain.
In a medical context, it is often preferable to use NSAIDs for pain management rather than Class A narcotics such as Oxycodone or Hydrocodone based drugs.
No prescription required- Most NSAIDs are sold at pharmacies and there is no need for a doctor’s prescription in order to buy it.
Minimal Side Effects- When taken at the right dosage, anti-inflammatory drugs present minimal side effects (usually none at all).
May cause adverse drug interaction- For patients who are taking other medications, especially those that are used to treat conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and hemophilia, may experience severe reactions to NSAIDs even if they follow the correct dosage. It is best to consult with your physician before taking any medication that may interact badly with NSAIDs.
Note: Some of the most common OTC non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include Advil, Aspirin and Naproxen.
When NSAIDs do not provide any relief or considerable improvement on the condition, most physicians would prescribe Corticosteroids (steroid based medication) in order to target the specific affected areas. Prednisone is one of the most commonly prescribed steroid based drugs for psoriatic arthritis, and it is administered under the strict supervision of a physician.
Due to the increased risk of infection, Prednisone is prescribed only when necessary. However, its excellent results have been well documented over the past few decades so doctors from all over the world continue to use it on patients who suffer from arthritis.
Corticosteroids are known to take effect fast and deliver lasting relief.
Patients may experience severe adverse reactions such as vomiting, dehydration, clotting problems, and many others.
While most physicians prefer to treat their patients with NSAIDs for the swelling and pain, others are more biased to Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs or DMARDs. This type of drug works differently from NSAIDs and Corticosteroids because it delays the progression of the disease as opposed to simply treating the symptoms.
DMARDs are highly controlled drugs so they require prescription from a physician. Among the most common prescriptions, include Methotrexate, Sulfasalazine, Enbrel, and Remicade.
Effective Preventative Measure
This drug largely benefits patients who have been diagnosed with Psoriatic arthritis during its earliest stage. DMARDs work best for patients since it halts the disease before it advances, which means there is less pain and discomfort.
Much like Corticosteroids, DMARDs can severely compromise the immune system, which leaves the patients more vulnerable to infections. Prior to prescribing this drug, physicians must first determine the severity of the disease and whether or not it has progressed significantly.
Many people overlook the potential of exercise as a psoriatic arthritis treatment because it comes across as counterintuitive. In reality, exercise is one of the best things for combating the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Light workouts such as stretching, certain yoga positions, walking, and other cardio exercises help relieve joint stiffness and alleviate the pain brought about by this condition.
Maintaining one’s ideal weight is necessary in order to relieve the pressure from the joints, which are already straining from the effects of arthritis. People who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of developing this disease especially upon reaching the age of 50.
Improves Endurance and Cardiovascular Function
People afflicted with psoriatic arthritis often complain of fatigue and lethargy, both of which can easily be addressed with proper exercise. Working out can also improve one’s cardiovascular fitness, which is always helpful when battling a degenerative disease like arthritis.
Hydrotherapy or Water Therapy
This alternative treatment is a specific variation of exercise, albeit less stressful for the body. Hydrotherapy is done in a large pool, where the body is at its most relaxed state. The movements are easy and fluid, since the main goal is to relieve all the stiffness from the joints.
Impact-free exercise- water therapy is just about the best type of workout not only for arthritic patients but also for the elderly. It does not cause any stress on the limbs and joints so there is no fatigue factor to worry about
There are no particular disadvantages to this treatment, except perhaps the requirement of a large pool to do the exercises in.
Finding the Best Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment
There is no single best way to treat any type of arthritis, but there are a number of viable treatment options available at any given time. Deciding which treatment plan is best is always the call of the attending physician who is familiar with the particulars of each patient’s history and current health status.
In addition to a treatment plan, it would also be wise to change one’s diet and lifestyle in order to prevent the progression of the disease or at least slow down the degenerative process significantly.