Fatigue and Psoriatic Disease

By Martin Robertson
Updated 2024-03-27 23:52:25 | Published 2023-09-29 20:04:04
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
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As someone with psoriatic disease, fatigue is a constant presence in my life. Interestingly, my fatigue is more pronounced with psoriatic arthritis than with psoriasis. A few years ago, while I was in law school, I developed stiffness in my neck from studying in an uncomfortable desk chair. I was prescribed a pain medication which not only helped with the pain, but also made me extremely tired. This proved problematic during class when professors would call on me using the Socratic method, as my fatigue hindered my ability to think clearly.

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In 1976, I was diagnosed with PsA after sustaining a traumatic injury from playing tennis excessively. From then on, I noticed that I would tire easily during physical activity, including something as simple as walking or standing for more than 30 minutes at a time. PsA is a chronic condition and for many years, I experienced its effects before biologic drugs were introduced in 1999. Prior to that, my knees had experienced severe damage, leading to double total knee replacements in 1999. I spent 22 days in rehabilitation at the hospital after the surgery, focusing on rebuilding the quadriceps above the knees. While I eventually regained full mobility in my knees with a range of motion of 130 degrees, there is still pain in various parts of my body, especially in weight-bearing joints such as my knees, hips, ankles, and feet.

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Over the years, I have tried various medications for my PsA including acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). These medications have triggered fatigue as a side effect. In the past six years, I have been taking a mild opiate-like drug twice daily to control overall body pain and individual flares. While it helps with managing pain and allows me to sleep better, it also induces tiredness. Therefore, it is important to assess its impact on me individually before doing certain activities, such as driving.

The most intense periods of fatigue for me have been caused by morphine infusions prior to surgeries. Although beneficial in helping me sleep through the procedures and afterwards, morphine is highly addictive and should be taken with caution. During my working years, accommodating my fatigue was challenging as it often affected my performance. However, I found that being open with my supervisors and colleagues about my medication and its consequences has helped in receiving understanding and accommodations. Sometimes, pushing through the fatigue is necessary but taking short naps throughout the day can also provide some relief. Personally, I often find myself dozing off while reading or watching television in the evening. It is also important to stay connected with others who have PsA for support. Consider joining our Facebook Support Group.

Martin Robertson is verified user for iMedix