Your Doctor Just Diagnosed You With Psoriatic Arthritis – Now What

Well first of all, it’s good you got diagnosed. It takes years for some of us to get a proper diagnosis.

“The human body has limitations. The human spirit is boundless,” said Dean Karnazes, an ultra-marathon runner.

What Comes After Being Diagnosed With Psoriastic Arthritis (PsA)?

For people with psoriatic arthritis, perhaps relating to an ultra-marathon runner might not be the first thing that comes to mind. For 30% of individuals, their condition will develop into joint pain and swelling, including daily fatigue and a general reduction in range of motion.

I had to find ways to manage my pain because in my mid-twenties, remaining in bed with all my negative thoughts was too much of a waste of my youth.

There were things on my bucket list to check off!

Back in the day they told us to take an aspirin.

As years went on and I got to see better doctors, I was advised to focus on strengthening my muscles and bones in the following ways:

  • through low-impact exercise
  • listening to my body when it needed down-time for adequate recovery
  • and swimming!

Difficulty Swimming With Psoriasis

Chlorine, yes, I know. Not great if you have plaques on your skin. I deliberately bought a long-sleeved, full-body swimsuit that could protect my skin from direct contact with the water.

If I was having a flare-up, I would limit my time in the pool to about 45 minutes, but generally, an hour and a half each week did a lot of good for my joints. I could get a cardio work

out without pounding my knees and ankles on the ground if I had opted to run instead.

The focus was never really on how fast I could swim, but I was focused on extending the range of motion for my arms and legs. In particular, the breaststroke was the most effective since it made me draw wide circles with my limbs without being too strenuous (like the butterfly stroke could be).

Doing Yoga to Cope With Symptoms of PsA

I think this was one of the best things I had discovered, even better than strength-building.

Yoga taught the following:

  • important breath work skills
  • mindfulness of my body
  • respecting my body

I definitely didn’t start this journey intending to do handstands or splits or any other kind of extremity, but I just wanted to learn how to be gentle and present with myself.

I loved the meditative nature of each session and customized a flow sequence that my body could manage. There were some days where a tree pose, or an upward-facing dog pose would be too much, but that never stopped me from feeling rejuvenated and content about what I could do.

Resting

All of that practiced mindfulness would have been for nothing if I wasn’t going to pay attention to my body telling me to slow down. Sometimes, my body was saying,

“How about doing this tomorrow instead?”

It’s never a good idea to be in such a hurry for anything. Don’t be afraid to declare a day of rest if that’s what you need the most.

A warm or cold compress usually helps with muscle recovery, as well as easing specific joint pains. Not forgetting to replenish your fluids, I especially liked this compress-and-water combination treatment after every workout.

It’s Not a Competition — It’s a supportive Environment

We have different thresholds, some more or less than the other, but we’re not here to beat each other at anything. Only supporting, always up-lifting.