Psoriatic arthritis treatments center on symptomatic relief, which includes:
- Swelling reduction
- Pain relief
- Increased joint mobility
- Additional joint damage prevention
The type of therapy administered depends on the severity and type of psoriatic arthritis. In mild cases, only one or two joints are affected and the patient may be symptom-free for long periods of time. In more severe cases, three or more joints are affected, causing greater joint problems and disability.
If caught early, therapy can help maintain joint function and mobility. Preventing outbreaks of psoriasis may also help to control the associated arthritis.
Common Medical Treatments for Psoriatic Arthritis
- Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Decreases pain and swelling
- Biological Drugs: Suppresses cells that trigger inflammation, providing symptom relief and preventing future joint damage
- Disease-modifying Anti-rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs): Drugs that affect specific cell events that cause psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis
- Immunosuppressants: Decreases painful symptoms by slowing skin cell growth in psoriasis. Given only in severe cases of psoriasis
- Antimalarial Drugs: Occasionally used to treat psoriatic arthritis; decreases inflammation
- Corticosteroids: Anti-inflammatory drugs that can be injected into joint spaces to decrease swelling
- Synovectomy: Surgical joint replacement to restore movement; done when other treatments are ineffective.
Alternative Therapies for Psoriatic Arthritis
- Certain dietary supplements have shown promise in symptomatic relief of joint problems.
- Stretching and isometric exercise is crucial to maintain range of motion and strength of joints.
- Aqua therapy, which is exercise done in a pool, can decrease pressure on the joints while flexing and stretching.
- Heat and cold packs also relieve joint pain.