Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory joint condition which can develop alongside psoriasis. It causes symptoms such as pain, swelling, stiffness, and reduced range of motion in the affected joints.
While psoriatic arthritis is most often treated with medication such as anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers, more and more people are now turning to PsA natural treatments such as acupuncture, massage, and herbs.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to treat PsA naturally, along with some lifestyle changes that could help you to manage this condition more effectively.
What is a Natural Treatment for Psoriatic Arthritis ?
PsA natural treatments are anything that can be used to relieve the symptoms of PsA without the use of medication. Some people prefer to use PsA natural treatments alone, while others use them alongside their regular medication to enhance its effects.
Some of the most popular natural PsA treatments include acupuncture, massage, and herbal medicine. Many people also find that making changes to their diet and exercise regime can help.
Although all of these treatments are completely natural, it is still important that you speak to a qualified professional before making any changes to your medication, taking herbs, or suddenly changing how much you exercise.
However, when used responsibly, these PsA natural treatments could really help you to manage your condition and relieve symptoms such as stiffness and pain.
1. Acupuncture for Psoriatic Arthritis
Acupuncture is an ancient therapy from China which involves placing fine needles into the skin at specific points. This is thought to help restore a state of balance between body and mind, and can help with a range of physical and emotional symptoms.
Acupuncture benefits PsA in a number of ways. It reduces inflammation, promotes relaxation, and effectively relieves pain. Although we still do not know exactly how acupuncture for PsA works, we do know that it has a powerful influence on the nervous system.
As well as altering the way that the brain receives pain signals from the body, acupuncture also releases endorphins, your body’s very own painkilling chemicals. Acupuncture also improves blood circulation and relieves stress to help relax body and mind. All of these benefits combined make it a fantastic all-round PsA natural treatment.
Like acupuncture, massage for PsA is thought to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and relax the muscles to relieve pain.
There are many different styles of massage including deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, aromatherapy massage, and acupressure massage. Talk to your therapist to find out which will provide the best relief for you.
3. Herbs for Psoriatic Arthritis
Many people choose to use herbal medicine, either as an alternative to conventional medication or to enhance its effects. Although herbal medicines are an effective PsA natural treatment, it is important to check they are safe for you to use. Therefore, you should always consult a qualified herbalist before starting to use any herbs for PsA. Important note: for reasons that honestly escape me, herbs are not regulated by the US government. That means there is no license for herbalists. The best thing to do is look for someone who has an L. Ac with the letters MSTOM or MSOM at the end of their title, that says they studied herbal medicines in conjunction with acupuncture for at least 3 years, typically 4.
Some of the best herbs for arthritis include turmeric, ginger, chili peppers, and green tea. Fortunately, these PsA herbs can be safely incorporated into most people’s diets without the risk of side effects.
4. Exercise for Psoriatic Arthritis
One of the best ways to relieve PsA symptoms is exercise. For PsA patients, this can sometimes be difficult due to the pain and stiffness caused by their condition, but even doing a little exercise every day is better than doing nothing at all.
Firstly, exercise can help you to maintain a healthy weight which means less pressure on your joints and less pain. Secondly, exercise can help to improve strength, flexibility, and help you move around more easily. Finally, exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve your mood.
Exercise for PsA patients can be either passive or active. Passive exercises include stretches and movements that are carried out by another person, usually a physical therapist. Active exercises are movements that you do yourself, such as walking, swimming, or cycling.
Some of the best PsA exercises include yoga and tai chi, which are very gentle and put less pressure on the joints than jogging or playing racket sports. Many people with PsA also find swimming or exercising in warm water helpful.
If you have not been active for a while, start off slowly and build up to doing more over time. If you feel that your pain is being aggravated, stop and consider doing something different instead. You can also ask your physical therapist or trainer to check that you are doing your exercises correctly.
5. The Best Foods for Psoriatic Arthritis
People with PsA should aim to eat an anti-inflammatory diet including lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruit and vegetables. The best fruit and vegetables are those which are rich in antioxidants such as berries and leafy greens.
One of the most important nutrients for PsA is omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats have anti-inflammatory properties and can be found in oily fish (sardines, salmon, mackerel etc.), olive oil, flax seeds, nuts, and avocados.
6. Foods to Avoid with Psoriatic Arthritis
As well as knowing which foods to eat more of, you should also know which foods to avoid. PsA symptoms can be aggravated by foods such as refined sugars, processed foods, trans-fats, red meat, alcohol, and sometimes dairy.
All of these foods can increase inflammation in the body and make PsA symptoms worse. Try making healthy substitutions such as swapping white bread and pasta for wholemeal, butter for olive oil, and snacking on fruit and nuts rather than cakes and cookies.
7. Meditation for Psoriatic Arthritis
Another popular natural treatment for PsA is meditation or mindfulness. This is a great way to relax and relieve stress, and could also help you to cope better with PsA pain.
Although meditation for PsA cannot take away your pain, it can teach you ways to make it more manageable and prevent it from interfering with your life. Meditation could also improve your mood and help you to sleep better at night.
8. Mineral Baths for Psoriatic Arthritis
Bathing in warm water with Epsom salts or Dead Sea salts is a great way to soothe aching joints and relax and unwind after a stressful day. Many people also find that mineral baths help to relieve the itching that can sometimes accompany psoriasis.
9. Stop Smoking to Reduce Inflammation
Smoking increases inflammation in the body and can make PsA and psoriasis symptoms much worse. If you need help with this, ask your pharmacist or physician for support. These days there are so many different options available that you are bound to find something that makes the process a little easier. Some people even use hypnosis or acupuncture to help them quit!
10. Join a Support Group
Joining a local support group or online forum is great way to meet people who are going through the same things as you are. Not only can it be really comforting to know that you are not alone, but you can also exchange hints and tips about which PsA natural treatments have worked well or not so well for you. We strongly suggest Ben's Friends Support for PsA - this is an amazing group of caring individuals going through PsA together.