“Right exercise acts as non-drug treatment in Psoriatic arthritis”
Psoriatic arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints which can cause a reduction in movements and function. Reduced physical activity may lead to weight gain.
Regular exercise is found beneficial in psoriatic arthritis by reducing disease activity, improving mobility, reducing joint pain, and stiffness along with weight loss.
Exercise can also help in reducing stress, improving mood, and maintaining bone density.
Psoriatic arthritis is one of the complications of psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis has been defined as inflammatory arthritis associated with psoriasis. Researchers say that around 30% of psoriatic patients develop psoriatic arthritis.
With the increase in the number of psoriasis cases, the number of psoriatic arthritis is also on the rise. Many researchers say that a combination of various factors such as genetic, immunologic, and environmental factors result in developing psoriatic arthritis in an individual.
Signs and symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
- Swelling over the joints or entire finger
- Pain and tenderness in the joints
- Difficulty in moving
- Stiffness in the joints
- Stiffness in back
- Morning stiffness
- Psoriatic lesions
- Nail changes such as pitting, discoloration
As there is no permanent cure for psoriatic arthritis the treatments are aimed to reduce joint inflammation, maintain mobility, and prevent deformity. The treatments include medications, lifestyle changes, weight management will help in slowing the disease and preserve joint function and mobility.
Regular exercise in psoriatic arthritis helps in reducing joint stiffness and improves mobility.
Why do you have to do Exercises for Psoriatic Arthritis?
Research says that exercising regularly in psoriatic arthritis helps in reducing disease activity, improves wellbeing, reduces comorbidities.
Benefits of exercise in psoriatic arthritis
- Regular exercise was found beneficial on disease activity
- Improved well being
- Reduced cardiovascular risks
- Reduced fares
- Reduced enthesitis
- Helps to reduce weight
What kind of exercise you should begin with when you have psoriatic arthritis?
If you are a beginner you can start with some basic exercises such as stretching, yoga, deep breathing exercise.
If your joints are swollen and painful you should move the affected joints without aggravating pain regularly throughout the day.
Once you are comfortable with your basic exercises you can move to strength train and cardiovascular exercise with minimum to moderate intensity deepening on the pain.
In the beginning, exercise can cause some discomfort such as muscle ache, joint ache but it should never lead to acute pain. If exercise leads to sharp pain or swelling you must stop the exercise and make sure you are doing it in the right way. If the pain lasts longer you need to consult your doctor or a physiotherapist for advice.
Exercises for Psoriatic arthritis
Start with Warmup
Before you begin with any exercise it is best to start with warming up when you have psoriatic arthritis. Warming up helps in preventing pain and injury.
When you have psoriatic arthritis your joints may have swelling and pain which can restrict free movements. Regular stretching help in keeping muscle flexible and strong. If the muscles are not stretched properly then muscles shorten and become tight. This restricts the free movements of the joints and increases joint pain.
It is advised to do stretching exercises after warming up so that muscles are ready for it. A simple walk or aerobic exercise will help to warm up.
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for a psoriatic arthritis patient, to begin with. If you are a beginner you can start with a few minutes per day and can increase gradually. It’s better to have small walks three to four times rather than long ones as they may hurt your joints. Walking on flat surfaces will reduce the strain on joints.
Few points to keep in mind
- Wear comfortable, fit shoes
- Take short walks whenever possible
- Make walking a part of your daily routine
- Observe how you feel and if joint pain increases consult an exercise therapist or physiotherapist or doctor for suggestions and modifications.
Aerobic exercises are more intensive than walking. If you are comfortable with walking you can try aerobic exercise which is more beneficial as it can accelerate weight loss, reduce pressure on joints, reduce inflammation.
Aerobic exercise improves general health and improves immunity. You can start with a short-termed interval and gradually increase the duration depending on your comfort. If you feel aerobic exercises are worsening your condition especially when your feel is involved with psoriatic arthritis you can try reducing the intensity and duration of the exercise and see if it works for you.
Swimming is can have both advantages and disadvantages for psoriatic arthritis. When most of your joints are involved in psoriatic arthritis and if you are not able to do walking or any other physical activity swimming can provide you the needed exercise by reducing stress on joints.
Many psoriatic arthritis patients who also have covered large areas of their body with psoriatic lesions experience sudden flare and dryness when they spend a long time in the water.
Hot water pools can help in reducing joint pain and muscle stiffness.
Yoga is an excellent form of exercise for psoriatic arthritis. Yoga helps to attain both physical and mental well-being.
Yogic exercise gives a good stretch to the body and joints without hurting them. It also involves a breathing pattern to be followed.
Strength training exercises help in increasing muscle strength. The stronger muscles keep your joints stable.
A recent study says that strength train has improved the quality of life and functional capacity.
Strength training can be done either by holding the weight without any joint movements or with joint movements.
One can start with light weight and gradually increase the weights depending on your comfort. It is better if one does strength training twice or thrice a week or on alternate days.
Exercise precautions when you have Psoriatic Arthritis
Regular exercise is essential to be healthy, but you should not overdo it and know where to stop. When you have psoriatic arthritis you should cautious about choosing the right physical activity depending on the severity of the disease.
Avoid high-impact exercises initially as they worsen your psoriatic arthritis. You can gradually increase the intensity of the exercise over the course of time.
When you have stiffness and swelling in the joints try not to over-exert with any physical activity as it may worsen the condition.
Talk to your doctor or physiotherapist if you feel that your condition is worsening when you do exercise.
Do not push yourself too hard as it may hurt you or can cause pain.
Sometimes you may feel mild soreness after doing certain exercises but this will go away in a day or two.
Exercise is good for your body. When you have psoriatic arthritis regular exercise will help in reducing joint stiffness, inflammation, and pain.
One should begin with the exercise activities that are comfortable and gradually one can increase the intensity and try different exercises.
If you feel an increase in joint pain while doing exercise you should stop and consult a doctor as it may be a sign of joint inflammation which could lead to joint damage.
Choose the right exercise depending on the severity of the disease and they should be comfortable to do.
For better results, you need to be persistent and patient and listen to your body.
- Kessler, Julie & Chouk, Mickael & Ruban, Timothy & Prati, Clément & Wendling, Daniel & Verhoeven, Frank. (2021). Psoriatic arthritis and physical activity: a systematic review. Clinical Rheumatology. 40. 10.1007/s10067-021-05739-y.