Conservative Treatment Options For Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis can cause severe joint pain, inflammation, warmth over the affected areas, scaly skin plaques or patches, lower back pain, and foot pain. It is considered an autoimmune disorder, and when symptoms are moderate to severe, biologic drugs are often prescribed. Because biologic drugs can cause significant side effects, they may not be appropriate for everyone. If you are unable to tolerate biologic drug treatment, consider the following conservative psoriatic arthritis treatments.

Cold And Heat Therapy

Alternating between ice packs and moist heat is an effective conservative treatment option for psoriatic arthritis. Moist heat provided by a hot pack, warm compress, or even a warm shower or bath helps relax sore muscles while providing relief from joint pain and inflammation.

Conversely, cold therapy, provided by an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables can decrease pain and swelling, while helping to relieve irritation and itching of skin plaques. Be sure to wrap your frozen vegetables in a soft cloth so that a barrier is placed between your skin and the cold. Applying ice or a bag of frozen vegetables directly to your skin may worsen your symptoms, and even cause frostbite and tissue damage.

Joint Splinting

Your rheumatologist may recommend that you splint your joints to help stabilize them, ease pain, and decrease inflammation. A rigid splint can be made by using household items such as a rolled-up towel or newspaper, a thin piece of board or plank, or even a clean stick from a frozen treat.

Place padding such as a piece of gauze or soft cloth underneath the splint to prevent skin irritation. To fasten the splint to your fingers, you can use shoelaces, clothes strips, or medical tape. If you are not sure how to splint your joint, ask your doctor to show you how, or purchase a commercial splint from your local pharmacy or medical supply company.

Be sure to remove your splints periodically so that you can gently perform range-of-motion exercises to promote circulation. Never use duct tape to keep your splint in place. Prolonged exposure to your skin with duct tape can result in skin irritation or peeling. 

If you have psoriatic arthritis, see your doctor on a regular basis. While conservative treatments are often effective in managing pain and inflammation, severe cases of psoriatic arthritis may lead to joint damage, which may require surgery to replace the joint with an artificial one.

For more information about psoriatic arthritis treatments, contact a clinic like Sarasota Arthritis Center.