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Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment

01 May 2007

Psoriatic arthritis sometimes develops in those people who already have psoriasis. Fortunately, psoriatic arthritis is treatable and unlike rheumatoid arthritis, which usually requires constant treatment, psoriatic arthritis may only require therapy when symptoms arise. When they subside, therapy can be stopped until further problems develop. The goal of treatment for psoriatic arthritis is to control inflammation.

Those with psoriatic arthritis may be able to help reduce symptoms by avoiding triggers. A common trigger is stress, for which relaxation therapy may help.

Rheumatologists are specialists in musculoskeletal disorders and are likely to make a proper diagnosis and advise on the best treatment options as psoriatic arthritis can sometimes be confused with other diseases. Here are some of the treatment options:

-- A non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug NSAID is usually prescribed. The best time to take this medication is at night after dinner and again when you wake up. Taking such medication with food will reduce the chance of stomach upsets.

-- DMDs (disease-modifying drugs) are also used to slow down the progression of the arthritis. They can take several weeks to begin to work. These drugs can have serious side effects on the liver and kidneys so their use must be carefully monitored.

-- Ciclosporin may be used to reduce severe inflammation quickly. It also acts on the immune system.

-- Sulfasalazine suppresses the inflammatory response and has few side effects.

-- Low doses of corticosteroids such as prednisolone can be injected into joints to treat severe cases or taken as tablets for long term control. They are used only if other treatment has not worked.

-- As a complementary therapy, a natural healing formula made from essential oils is indicated to help relieve symptoms and control future discomfort.

Exercise is important to keep the pain and swelling of psoriatic arthritis to a minimum. Follow a good exercise program so as to improve movement, strengthen the muscles to stabilize the joints, improve sleeping patterns, strengthen the heart, increase stamina, as well as reduce and generally improve the overall physical appearance. Usually, a normal amount of rest and sleep will be sufficient but if you are feeling extra tired, then increase the amount of sleep and rest accordingly.

If you are suffering from pain and joint swelling, then try a long soaking in a warm bath or even apply a warm compress to the affected area. Some people find relief from a cold compress instead. A physiotherapist can also provide such treatments using heat, cold or exercises to help the joints.

An occupational therapist can help sufferers to protect their joints from any further damage. They can suggest ways to make life easier for you at home and at work such as such as wrist splints and specialist equipment such as kitchen tools.

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