Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis affecting approximately 10-30 percent of individuals who have psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a condition that includes thickened patches of skin that are silvery, red, or white in color.
Typically, these patches appear on the scalp, elbows, and knees. Typically, individuals are diagnosed first with psoriasis and the psoriatic arthritis diagnosis comes later. However, the joint problems typically occur before the lesions appear on the skin.
The basic symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include joint stiffness, swelling, and pain. These symptoms can affect any part of the body, including spine and fingertips and can be mild or severe.
Both psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis, the symptom will flare alternately with periods of remission in between.
Since there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, the focus is typically on symptom control in order to prevent permanent damage to joints. Without proper treatment, psoriatic arthritis can be debilitating.
Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
As already mentioned, psoriatic arthritis is characterized by symptom flare-ups with periods of remission in between.
However, you should know that both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are chronic disorders that will get worse over time.
Psoriatic arthritis can affect the joints of one side or even both sides of your body and the symptoms most often resemble those of RA. Both of these disease cause joints to be painful, warm to the touch, and swollen.
However, other symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include the following:
The swelling in fingers and toes can cause them to resemble sausage links. You should also know that it’s possible for you to develop swelling and deformities in your feet and hands before you notice significant joint symptoms.
Individuals who have psoriatic arthritis are also likely to experience pain at the points where tendons and ligaments attach to bones. This is especially likely at the back of the heel or the sole of the foot.
Low Back Pain
Some individuals develop a condition that is referred to as spondylitis as a result of their psoriatic arthritis.
This condition is characterized by inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae of the spine and the joints between the pelvis and the spine.
Cause of Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the body’s natural immune system attacks the healthy tissues and cells.
This response results in inflammation of the joints and an over production of skin cells.
Researchers are not exactly sure what causes the immune system to turn on the healthy tissue, but it does seem likely that both genetics and environment contribute to it.
Many times, individuals with psoriatic arthritis have a family history of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
Researchers have uncovered specific genetic markers that seem to be associated with the development of psoriatic arthritis.
You should also know that physical traumas and environmental factors, for example- viral/bacterial infection, could possibly cause psoriatic arthritis in an individual who already has an inherited tendency.
Naturally Treating Psoriatic Arthritis
In recent years, many more people have been turning to natural treatments for their conditions- whether instead of or in combination with traditional treatments.
However, as far as psoriatic arthritis, there hasn’t been much research related to natural treatments. Research has shown that conventional treatments seem to delay damage related to the condition, but alternatives have not really done so.
However, there are a few remedies and vitamins that could possibly be helpful in reducing the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, when used in conjunction with conventional therapies.
It’s possible that fish oil can cause a reduction in the proteins that cause inflammation. It is recommended that you take 2,000- 3,000 milligrams of fish oil per day.
You should know that it has been noted that Eskimo populations tend to have lower instances of both RA and psoriatic arthritis.
Though it’s true that genetics likely play a role, it is possible that their diet, which is high in fish oil, plays a role in this.
Studies regarding acupuncture tend to be pretty conflicting. In some cases, it seems to help, but in others, it doesn’t.
However, arthritis does continue to be used for nearly all forms of arthritis, including psoriatic.
Some people say that it relieves their pain- but the best results are usually for isolated areas.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and could possibly relieve the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. The reason behind this is that turmeric seems to reduce certain inflammatory proteins.
However, these effects are very mild and very difficult to measure. Most of the time, people say that they try it and though there is some benefit, it is so negligible that it’s not worth continuing using it.
Willow bark has been referred to as the “herbal aspirin.” It contains salicin, which is very similar to the chemical, acetylsalicylic acid, found in aspirin.
One study done in 2001 with 78 participants showed that willow bark extract relieved pain much better than the placebo. It’s possible that this could also work on individuals with psoriatic arthritis.
Individuals with psoriatic arthritis often have a Vitamin D deficiency, as found in a 2011 study. However, it’s not clear why. That same study revealed that Vitamin D does not seem to affect the activity of the disorder.
One study, involving 10 patients showed that seven of those taking Vitamin D showed a decrease in psoriatic arthritis symptoms, such as joint pain. However, there was no placebo group to measure it against.
This vitamin is found mostly in green, leafy veggies and is very important for joint health. However, it has not been officially studied regarding psoriatic arthritis.
One report did show that lowered levels of Vitamin K are associated with severe symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Though it’s not really clear if Vitamin K could improve symptoms of psoriatic- or other types of- arthritis, it can’t hurt either.
L-carnitine is found naturally in the body and generally, healthy people produce enough of their own and don’t require supplementations.
There have been some indications that it could help individuals with psoriatic arthritis, but that hasn’t been proven as of right now.
One study revealed that deficiencies in Vitamin B12, just like Vitamin D, are much more common in those with psoriatic arthritis than those who are healthy.
However, it doesn’t seem to be considered a primary option for treatment. Again though, it can’t hurt to get extra Vitamin B12 in your diet.