How Physical Therapy Helps Psoriatic Arthritis

Julie Cerrone Croner | Nov 12th 2015 Nov 20th 2016

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Okay, we all know exercise is good for us, but when our joints are stiff and we feel like we’re 108 years old, it can be hard to get moving. Here are five ways physical therapy can help fight your psoriatic arthritis.

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Reduce pain, swelling and stiffness

Depending on the individual, your therapist will create a program that caters to your specific needs. They’ll introduce tactics such as heat/cold therapy, electric stimulation, massage, ultrasound and others. Many of these are aimed at reducing swelling (massage) decreasing pain (cold therapy), increasing blood flow and flexibility and relieving muscle spasms. 

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Stabilize the joints

Strength and flexibility are key to healthy joints. Having extensively studied how muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons work together, your therapist will provide an exercise plan that strengthens and increases flexibility in your joints. And, by creating flexibility in your muscles, you may be able to expand your range of motion.  

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Increase endurance and help fight fatigue

Many psoriatic arthritis patients experience intense, bone-numbing fatigue and malaise. Chances are that moving is the exact opposite of what you WANT to do. But, getting your joints in motion helps increase oxygen intake, builds cardio endurance, lubricates the joints and gets your body going!  By also getting your blood and heart rate pumping, you’ll be taking in more oxygen and feeding your body the fuel it needs.

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Get back to everyday activities

The goal of physical therapy is to get a patient back to participating in his or her everyday life. By decreasing fatigue and increasing endurance, you’ll be able to do more and more. Also, by strengthening your muscles and increasing range of motion, you’ll be better able to reach for things off the high shelf, walk up a flight of stairs, or take a stroll in the park. This is why working with a therapist is key to getting back to life you love!

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Improve your state of mind

Not only will movement and exercise release endorphins in the body, exercising will help improve your outlook and lift your mood. Physical therapists know a positive outlook is essential during rehab of an injury, procedure or chronic condition, and will provide you with the encouragement you need.  And guess what? The other patients you encounter will be rooting for you as well! That increased support alone can help lift you up.

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A final note

Physical therapy helps fight autoimmune arthritis in a myriad of ways. With benefits  such as cutting down on inflammation, pain, stiffness and fatigue, getting you back to your life and improving your state of mind - how could it be a bad thing? With psoriatic arthritis, peeling yourself up off the couch or out of bed can be a very hard thing to do, but it could be the best decision you make.

NEXT: How to Live Better with Psoriatic Arthritis
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