There are simple adjustments that you can make at home to reduce the impact that psoriatic arthritis has on your daily life
How to manage your PsA at home:
There are simple adjustments you can make at home to make it easier for you to carry out your household chores and even get around the house.
If you finding it hard to carry out daily household chores such as food shopping try completing the shopping in a single trip, online or take a friend and ask for assistance to find products, pack bags and carry items. The strain on your joints will be lessened and you will be able to save energy.
- Household chores:
If you are finding it difficult to grip household objects or use certain appliances you could try spreading your housework over a couple of days and take regular breaks. You could also consider the following during psoriatic flares:
All of the above will reduce the strain on your joints, which will reduce the risk of pain and inflammation and the worsening of your symptoms.
- The use of easy-to-grip gardening tools
- Long-handled tools and invest in gadgets such as an automatic can and jar opener to help with preparing food
- Any other adaptations to the normal routine which may reduce the physical stress of tasks
- Getting around the house:
If you are finding it challenging getting around the house or up and down the stairs; a fixed handrail to the walls or a trolley to move things from room to room will help support your movements and reduce any aggravated symptoms caused by the added stress.
If you symptoms are causing you increased trouble over a period of time, you could also consider relocating items within each room or your house in order to reduce the distance between the more common tasks. Any simple changes or adaptations to your daily life, no matter how small, could help better manage your symptoms in the long-term.
A flare-up of your psoriatic arthritis symptoms can often be unpredictable and can occur at any time, especially if you have recently had an infection or have been stressed. Flares can often involve an increase in joint pain, swelling, fatigue and stiffness, which can affect your emotions and make you feel low in mood.
There are simple techniques you can take up to not only help you manage a flare but also pre-empt a flare from occurring if early signs start to appear (e.g. a sudden increase in pain or extreme fatigue). These preemptive techniques include:
- Managing your medication
If you are experiencing an increase in pain during a flare and your medications are not helping, do speak to your specialist and discuss the other treatment options. There are a variety of treatments available and the best treatment may not always be the best treatment for you.
- Using complimentary therapies
Complimentary therapies can be used to assist any medication that you are currently receiving. Muscle and/or joint stiffness and pain can be treated using hot and cold therapies (e.g. a hot water bottle, electric heat pad, ice packs for hands and feet) and are particularly useful during periods of psoriatic flares.
- Taking up relaxation techniques
To reduce fatigue, joint stiffness and subsequent pain it is critical that you:
- Have adequate daily rest
- Maintain and healthy sleeping pattern
- Frequent and gentle exercise
If you have regular flares you should always consult your doctor to discuss your current treatment plan to ensure it is tailored specifically to condition.
Raising a family whilst managing your psoriatic arthritis can be difficult, especially if you have children who don't quite understand your condition, but there are things you can do to help minimise this impact on your family life:
- If you struggle to play with your children or grandchildren
You can sign your children or grandchildren up to an after school / weekend sports group so they can play with other children and still keep fit. It is important that you both remain active and this is something that you can both participate in together.
- If you find it hard to explain to younger children how you are feeling
Use story books and illustrations to help explain where you are ‘sore’ so they understand why you can’t play today.
- If you find it difficult to choose a location for a family day out/holiday that has the right facilities to suit your needs
Plan ahead and prepare by finding out how long the journey will take, what activities are involved and whether there will be accessible facilities (e.g. lifts, wheelchair ramps and toilets)
- If you find you are unable to find time to relax
Speak with your family when you need to rest so that they can help you out with any household chores. Using family and friends to share tasks is key to making sure that you have adequate periods of rest and do not make your symptoms any worse.