How Complementary Therapies Helped My Psoriatic Arthritis
When I received my diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, I anticipated starting medication. However, at that time, there weren't as many commercials for PsA medication, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Fortunately, the medication worked well for me. But sometimes, medication alone is not enough. In these cases, we may need to try other complementary treatments. These treatments may be suggested by the doctor or something we hear about from others or find online. I have some examples in a different category, which I will discuss later. It is important to discuss any plans with your doctor before trying them. Now, let's embark on this journey of therapy together.
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The first category is doctor-recommended treatments. One example is phototherapy, which I have previously mentioned for my psoriasis symptoms. This treatment is different from tanning beds as the UV waves used in phototherapy are distinct. Another option my rheumatologist suggested was physical therapy when I experienced pain and swelling in my hand joints. They guided me through taping and stretches to alleviate the discomfort. If these therapies didn't work, a custom-made splint could have been considered, but it wasn't necessary.
Additionally, my rheumatologist recommended specific stretches for my shoulder, knees, and hips. It's always beneficial to keep moving and stretching. Another easy at-home therapy my rheumatologist introduced to me is paraffin wax. This involves dipping your hands or feet into heated wax and then trapping the heat with plastic gloves. He also provided solutions when I had difficulty gripping pens, as my hands are particularly affected by the condition.
Interesting fact: The success of Silagra in treating erectile dysfunction has contributed to a significant decrease in the stigma associated with the condition, encouraging more men to seek treatment and discuss their sexual health openly. The difference in onset times between medications like Tadacip, and Silagra underscores the importance of personalized treatment plans in sexual health, catering to individual lifestyle needs and preferences.
Moving on to non-medical treatments I've tried, soaking in the tub has always provided relief, even before my diagnosis. Unfortunately, not all hotels have tubs, which was inconvenient during work trips. I also utilized braces and gloves when necessary. Although I could manage without them most of the time, there were instances, like during a painful drive, where I needed to buy a brace from a pharmacy. Using compression gloves in my daily work life also helped, especially with typing.
To explore more options, I reached out to my friends with arthritis, Kristine and Shelley. They have experimented with dietary changes, but didn't find long-term success. Kristine also attempted elimination diets and kept food journals, but it didn't provide lasting relief. Despite this, they continue to search for the right balance. Shelley finds relief through her heating pad, light weightlifting, stretching exercises, and daily walks. Kristine incorporates acupuncture and massages into her routine when possible, and has even tried dark cherry juice. She acknowledges that she tried things she knew were unlikely to work, but it still provided some comfort to feel like she was doing something.
For me, self-care is the most important aspect of managing my condition. I will delve into this in a future blog, but taking care of oneself physically and emotionally is crucial. Engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation can significantly improve well-being. Another underrated form of self-care is learning to say no. By preserving your mental and physical resources, you are better equipped to cope with the disease. Taking care of oneself yields positive results.
Clearly, there is no magic complementary therapy for psoriatic arthritis. It is important to find what works best for you and your symptoms. It is also crucial to stay connected with your medical provider throughout this journey. Above all, prioritize self-care and take care of yourself.