Your Psoriatic Arthritis Survival Kit

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Living with psoriatic arthritis, a form of autoimmune arthritis, I connect with many different patients. I’ve come to realize that we may have slightly different disease manifestations, but we all have a subset of common tools to help manage day to day pain and inflammation. Here are my 11 must haves for managing my psoriatic arthritis.


Heating pad

I use my heating pad every day. In the morning, my hands can be very stiff and painful. I’ll use my heating pad to get the blood flowing and my fingers moving.  At night, I use it to help ease pains and comfort my body. Any time my joints feel stiff, my heating pad is my go to!


Ice pack

Whenever I have a busy day, I can usually count on my knee(s) swelling. Enter: ice pack. I’ll elevate my legs, throw on the ice pack and relax. When my joints are feeling hot and swollen, ice is my solution.


Stim machine

A few years back, my orthopedic surgeon helped me get a stim machine after surgery. Depending on the setting, it’s a TENS unit or stimulates my muscles to build strength. The TENS setting is wonderful when my knees or hands/wrists are bothering me. I hook up the electrodes, and in a few moments, feel a bit of pain relief!


Yoga mat

Yoga is a HUGE part of my treatment plan. It keep my joints moving and it helps clear my head. You don’t even need to have a yoga mat to complete a yoga flow. You can do yoga right at your desk or sitting on your bed. Want some help? Check out these chair yoga postures.


Pain relieving rub

Every arthritis patient seems to have a different go to, but mine is definitely Doterra’s Deep Blue. This stuff is a lifesaver for me! Whenever my knees, SI joint, or wrists start aching — my immediate reaction is to grab my Deep Blue. Other patients have told me that they use Icy Hot, Bengay, Capzasin-HP, and many others.


Supplements

In a perfect world, we’d get all of our nutrients from our diet. But, unfortunately, we don’t. So I find it extremely important to take supplements regularly. I boost up my immune system with zinc, B-12 (methylcobalamin and/or adensylcobalamin), Vitamin C and many others. I’ve written about top supplements I recommend for autoimmune arthritis.


Occupational therapy

During my OT sessions, I’ll use the fluidotherapy and ultrasound machines. My OT massages and stretches my hand and lower arm muscles, tendons, and ligaments. I then complete strengthening exercises. But you don’t need to go to OT to benefit from hand exercises. Here are a few easy exercises you can incorporate in your every day!


Physical therapy

In PT, I complete exercises that help strengthen my bigger muscles and keep my body moving. One way PT can help your psoriatic arthritis is in reducing pain, swelling, and stiffness.


Fruits and veggies

Eating quality food is KEY. I believe that having a strict, nutritious diet helps you manage symptoms better than anything else will. Focus on giving your body the fuel it needs to work as well as it can.


Compression gloves

My life has been changed since I started wearing compression gloves. I never understood how helpful they could be until I started wearing them. There are many great brands out there. Wearing them helps tremendously with swelling and pain. I wear them during my work day and occasionally at night.


Meditation app

Helping your nervous system remain calm is important when dealing with an autoimmune condition. I don’t go a day without using the Headspace app. It helps me clear my head, listen to my body, and slow down. It can be hard to deal with pain. But, with meditation, you can learn to come to terms with your pain. Other apps include Buddhify or Calm.


Conclusion

What items do you believe are beneficial for autoimmune arthritis? Other people with the condition would love to hear what you use! Tweet, or post on Facebook using the hashtag #Chroniclife.