When To Get Medical Advice
See a GP if you have persistent pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints even if you have not been diagnosed with psoriasis.
If you’ve been diagnosed with psoriasis, you should have check-ups at least once a year to monitor your condition. Make sure you let the doctor know if you’re experiencing any problems with your joints.
Where Can I Get More Information
Around 9 out of 10 UK adults have access to the internet which is the easiest place to find more information. For those without internet access or who cannot get online, the options are becoming limited. A good place to start is the local public library, which often holds useful information. It may not be on immediate display, however, so try asking at the main desk. It is also worth asking your local GP surgery or hospital, which should have information in an accessible format.
Arthritis Pain Relief Tips For Winter Weather
Dress warmly, work out inside, and get enough vitamin D. These are some of the ways you can get arthritis pain relief despite the bone-chilling cold of winter weather.
Many people with arthritis swear by the pain in their joints as a predictor of rainy or cold weather. I used to hear people complain all the time that they knew rain was coming from the aching in their knees, says Pam Snow, 54, of Denver, who has arthritis. Now Im one of those people!
Snow has osteoarthritis in both knees. She typically manages her pain with exercise, diet, weight loss, and the occasional over-the-counter pain reliever, but when winter weather sets in, Snow faces an extra joint-pain challenge. I think its related to barometric pressure, she says. It definitely has made me more cognizant of the weather.
For Snow, arthritis isnt just a personal problem. As vice president for community involvement for the Colorado Arthritis Foundation, she travels the state educating others about the condition. So she’s aware that there’s very little scientific evidence to support her own experience, and that of the legions of others with arthritis who feel worse when the weather is frightful.
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Do We Know What Causes Psoriatic Arthritis
- The cause of psoriatic arthritis is the subject of much research.
- You cannot catch psoriatic arthritis or psoriasis from someone else. Therefore they are not contagious.
- The cause of psoriatic arthritis is not proven but experts believe it to be a combination of genetic, immunological and environmental factors. 2 out of 5 people with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis have a first-degree relative with the condition. This means you have a higher chance of developing psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis if you have relative who has the condition. Some experts believe infections such as streptococcal infections may provoke psoriatic arthritis, though this is not proven.
- The role of bacteria in the gut and developing psoriatic arthritis is the subject of current research.
- Trauma and stress may be contributing factors, although this is not proven.
- The genetic make-up of an individual is likely to determine the risk of developing psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and probably influences the severity.
- Being overweight is now understood to be linked to developing psoriatic arthritis and is the subject of ongoing research.
- There are certain genetic markers linked to the immune system which are now being used to predict the severity of psoriatic arthritis. Much more is known about the mechanisms that lead to inflammation in other conditions and it is likely advances in science will lead to much more effective treatments with fewer side effects.
What Are The Parts Of A Joint
Joints get cushioned and supported by soft tissues that prevent your bones from rubbing against each other. A connective tissue called articular cartilage plays a key role. It helps your joints move smoothly without friction or pain.
Some joints have a synovial membrane, a padded pocket of fluid that lubricates the joints. Many joints, such as your knees, get supported by tendons and ligaments. Tendons connect muscles to your bones, while ligaments connect bones to other bones.
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Caring For Joints In Bad Weather
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition that has periods of flares and remission. People living with psoriatic arthritis over time learn what triggers their symptoms and can incorporate strategies to manage their pain and swelling, indicating the understanding that comes with experience. Once the pre-flare state has been recognized as such, people living with psoriatic arthritis learn to adapt their activity level and lower their stress. Management of flares involves self-medication, self-help, resting, seeking medical attention, avoiding things or alternatively, just continuing on.2 There are also several strategies specific to weather-induced flares, including:manage
Planning ahead People living with chronic conditions like psoriatic arthritis that are influenced by the weather can watch or listen to the weather report to have an idea of what to expect and provide themselves time to prepare.3
Adding layers Especially for cold weather, adding layers of clothing to provide more warmth can improve joint flexibility.3
Using the warmth and comfort of water Painful, swollen joints can often be relieved in a warm bath, which is relaxing and can be great for gentle stretching. The Arthritis Foundation recommends soaking for about 20 minutes. Adding sea salts or Epsom salt to the water can also ease muscle aches. Swimming or water aerobics in a heated pool can be both great exercise and soothing to joints that are inflamed from psoriatic arthritis.1
Wear The Right Clothing
People with skin problems due to psoriasis may find natural, soft, breathable fabrics, such as cotton, are less likely to irritate or trigger skin changes.
To stay warm in winter, a person with psoriasis and PsA might try wearing a base layer of cotton and adding layers of warmer fabrics.
Wearing cotton base layers such as long-sleeved cotton tops, leggings, or long johns can help prevent contact between the skin and irritating fibers in outer garments.
Various brands of long johns and other thermal clothes are available online. A 100%-cotton fleece can provide a warm outer layer.
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What Triggers An Arthritis Flare
Flare triggers are different for different types of arthritis.
Flare triggers are different for different types of arthritis.
If you have any type of arthritis, youve probably lived through a flare. A flare is a period of increased disease activity or worsening symptoms a time when the medications you normally rely on to control your disease dont seem to work. Many patients would also add that flares affect many other aspects of their life as well.
But why does this happen? According to Joseph Shanahan, MD, a rheumatologist in Raleigh, North Carolina, and assistant consulting professor in the division of rheumatology, allergy, and immunology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, The first thing I ask when a patient presents with a flare is whether they have been taking their medication as prescribed..
The causes of flares vary by disease so lets look at the triggers of each.
Inrheumatoid arthritis , a flare can be related to natural variations in the processes that cause inflammation. This means flares can vary in intensity, duration and frequency, but theyre usually reversible if treated promptly.
Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory disease that affects the skin and joints. Nearly 30% of people with the skin disease, psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. Most people with PsA say a psoriasis flare will often precede a flare of arthritis symptoms.
Soak Up The Heat In A Sauna Or Hot Tub
Theres a reason heat is often the first thing recommended for joint pain it really helps, Dr. Askanase says. Heat and moisture together often work better to reduce arthritis pain than either on its own so take advantage of this by spending some time in a hot sauna or steam room . If you prefer to stay at home, a hot bath often does the trick, she says. Keep all the doors closed and the fan off so the steam can build up in your bathroom.
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A Look At This Clinical Condition
Raynauds phenomenon, sometimes called Raynauds disease is a clinical condition that affects the flow of blood to the extremities.3 The condition is not life-threatening but can affect your quality of life by limiting certain activities or climates.4
A rheumatologist generally diagnoses the condition. With Raynauds, spasms in blood vessels , can be brought on by cold, anxiety, or emotional stress. 3,4 This results in a decrease in blood flow to the fingers and toes causing them to experience extreme cold, a change in color, or sensation.
Best Strategies For Getting Through The Winter
Try these strategies to keep your psoriatic arthritis pain and other symptoms in check over the cold-weather months:
Dress warmly. Contrary to popular belief, you wont get sick from going out in the cold with a wet head or without enough warm clothes. But exposure to cold air can trigger joint pain in some people and can also dry out skin. So be sure to dress appropriately, and pay special attention to protecting affected joints.
Wash your hands. To reduce your risk of getting sick, wash your hands often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . If soap and water arent available, use hand sanitizer thats at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all hand surfaces and let the gel dry thoroughly.
Avoid close contact with others who are sick. Stay at least 6 feet away from anyone in your home who is currently sick. When you are out in public, wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth and try to stay at least 6 feet apart from people who are not in your household, advises the CDC.
Get vaccinated. The flu vaccine is generally safe for people with psoriatic arthritis. If you are taking biologics, you must be vaccinated with a shot instead of a nasal spray .
Additional reporting by Julia Califano.
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The Chronic Nature Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease. Inflammation in the lining inside your joints causes swelling, pain and stiffness. However, rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other parts of your body, such as your skin, eyes, blood vessels, and even your organs, like your lungs or heart.
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but treatment can help lessen pain and stiffness, and slow down the diseases progress. However, no matter how well your disease is under control, you may find that cold weather makes your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms worse. You may even feel you can predict the weather based on how your joints feel. There havent been many studies looking into the weather-pain connection in rheumatoid arthritis. Some small studies seem to support it, while others are inconclusive.
Can I Get Financial Support
Many people worry about what happens if they cannot work or need financial help because of the effects of psoriatic arthritis. Fortunately for many, with good therapy and management the condition can be controlled and allow for a full and active working life. But if you do find that even for a short period of time you are likely to need help, visit the national government websites online. If it is easier, contact your local government or council office, where you should be directed to the appropriate resource and information.
Always consult your doctor or healthcare provider.
This article is adapted from the What is Psoriatic Arthritis? leaflet.
Other leaflets are also available to or order FREE from our shop and include the following:
- About Us
- Occupational Therapy and Psoriatic Arthritis
- Physiotherapy and Exercise: Psoriatic Arthritis
- Psoriasis and Sensitive Areas
- Psoriatic Arthritis – Did you know?
- Psoriatic Arthritis – When to treat?
- Psoriatic Fatigue
- Treatments for Psoriasis: An overview
- Treatments for Psoriatic Arthritis: An overview
- What is Psoriasis?
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Eating Healthy And Get Enough Sleep
Proper diet to maintain health is essential for everyone, especially those who have psoriatic arthritis. Obesity can further exacerbate the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, such as joint pain and inflammation. A healthy diet can also help boost the immune system, especially for PSA. Be sure to consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein. Besides, inadequate sleep can be harmful to people who have psoriatic arthritis.
Does Cold Weather Affect Psa
There is very little research into PsA and weather. Some people with PsA find that it gets worse during the winter, report the National Psoriasis Foundation. Other people notice no difference in their symptoms from one season to another.
It is possible that having less exposure to UV light from the sun during winter may increase disease activity in PsA. When UV light hits the skin, the body produces vitamin D. Some research has linked low vitamin D to psoriasis and PsA.
Some experts believe that changes in atmospheric pressure may also play a role. Atmospheric pressure drops when a cold front is approaching. This may cause the joints to painfully expand.
Dry, cold air may also dry out the skin and aggravate psoriasis symptoms.
Doctors use two main types of medication to treat PsA: disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and symptomatic drugs. DMARDs may help reduce disease activity and relieve the symptoms, while symptomatic drugs target symptoms alone.
Doctors may prescribe a combination of both drugs.
DMARDs for PsA include:
- conventional DMARDs, such as methotrexate
- tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, including:
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Does Cold Weather Affect Osteoarthritis & What Triggers An Osteoarthritis Flare
Osteoarthritis mainly takes place from injury, aging joints and obesity. Common symptoms of the problem are stiffness and joint pain. Treatment options depend on your affected joints. These are wrist, hand, neck, knee, back, and hip, while involving exercise and medication both. If you are an overweight person, you may overcome your symptoms from regular weight loss.
Tips To Manage Symptoms
If you feel that your arthritic symptoms worsen when the temperature goes down, try the following. First, dress warmly and layer up, especially if you are heading outside. Wear moisture-wicking fabrics to keep your muscles and joints from getting a chill. Be creative in how you will stay active in the cold weather. If you cannot go out, explore exercise and workout activities that you can do in the comfort of your home. There are a variety of exercises that you can do with very little space or equipment required. Consider keeping a diary to verify whether it is the cold weather that triggers your symptoms or bad habits.
If you suffer from arthritis and need help managing your condition, call Movement Orthopedics. They specialize in advanced diagnostics, prevention, and treatment of a variety of orthopedic conditions and injuries including arthritis. Call 586-436-3785 to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.
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Why Does Psoriasis Get Worse At The Holidays
Holidays are supposed to be times for fun and relaxation, but for most adults, that translates into a lot of stress, lack of sleep, overeating and drinking, and just generally not following our regular routines. All these changes create a perfect storm, leading to flares in psoriasis symptoms. Making time to maintain your regular skincare routine, finding ways to relieve stress, and generally, making healthier choices can be extremely beneficial to reduce psoriasis symptoms.
How Do I Manage Psoriasis During Cold Weather Months
The best way to combat psoriasis symptoms in the winter months is to get a head start. By increasing your symptom management plan in the late summer and fall, youll set your skin up for a healthier winter. Review the four top tips below to learn how you can prepare for your skin to handle winter weather.
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Engage In Regular Physical Activity
Physical activity should not be ignored. Light exercise is crucial in order to maintain good health and prevent the body from becoming stiff.
Simple indoor exercises such as stretching, walking and yoga are enough for patients of arthritis.
Regular massage of the affected area helps to improve the blood flow and makes the immune system stronger and better during the winter season.
How Does Cold Weather Affect Ra
Have you heard the phrase chilled to the bone? People with RA experience this on a literal and painful level when temperatures drop.
Youve probably heard that people with various forms of arthritis have long been said to be able to predict the weather. Whether its a bum knee acting up when a rainstorm is on the horizon or, worse yet, a full-fledged rheumatoid arthritis flare when a blizzard hits, many of those with RA swear the weather has a negative impact on their conditions.
Scott Harbaugh, a meteorologist from WPXI News in Pittsburgh, explains that winter weather could have an impact on arthritic conditions.
For years it has been known that changes in air pressure can affect the body, said Harbaugh. In cases like arthritis, sore joints, or muscular difficulties, these changes can easily cause excess pain to a person.
Weather is a prevalent topic of conversation on various arthritis social networks and online forums. Its especially popular during the winter months when a lot of the United States experiences cooler temperatures and more variations in temperature and air pressure. At the beginning of this month, an informal Facebook survey on the topic was posted on the official Arthritis Ashley page. Out of 35 respondents, most reported that weather impacted their symptoms in some way or another.
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