If you suffer from psoriasis, you are at risk for developing psoriatic arthritis. This disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that can range from mild symptomatic flare-ups to constant pain and joint inflammation, which may lead to damaged joints if not treated early. Joint inflammation in conjunction with psoriasis can occur even prior to the appearance of psoriatic rashes, the distinctive red and silvery patches that develop on the skin.
Psoriatic arthritis can develop in people who don’t have psoriasis, particularly in those who do have family members with psoriasis. This arthritic disease tends to affect the large joints of the feet, distal joints of fingers and toes, and the lower back and pelvic areas, though any part of the body can be involved.
Psoriatic Arthritis Symptom Awareness
The signs of arthritis associated with psoriasis are typically observed and felt in the fingers, toes, feet, or spine. Watch for the following symptoms, especially if you already have been diagnosed with psoriasis:
- Swelling, stiffness, and pain one or several joints
- Red, tender, or warm joints
- Stiffened joints
- Fingers or toes that swell to the size of a sausage
- Pain around the ankles, back of the heel, and in the feet
- Pitting of fingernails or toenails
- Pain in the lower back, caused by a secondary disease, spondylitis, a form of joint inflammation between the vertebrae and/or the pelvis and spine
These symptoms can occur months or even years after developing psoriasis, and up to 25% of those with psoriasis are at risk for this type of inflammatory arthritis.
What To Do If These Symptoms Occur
It’s important that you consult a physician if you note any of the above arthritic signs and symptoms, particularly if you already have psoriasis. If psoriatic inflammatory arthritis is diagnosed, it is important that treatment begin immediately in order to keep pain and disability at bay.
Diagnostic tools include observation of your joints, X-ray or MRI imaging tests, and lab testing to properly identify this chronic disease that can be mistaken for rheumatoid arthritis at times.
Which Types of Treatments Are Available?
Although this condition is a chronic one for which there is no cure, there are treatments available to alleviate pain and inflammation and lessen the possibility for disability in the future. Medication treatments can consist of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), immunosuppressants, and/or TNF-alpha inhibitors. These medications can help control painful symptoms by lessening inflammation. DMARDs can aid in slowing the disease’s progression. A person’s immune system can often go haywire when symptoms flare up, so an immunosuppressant can help calm it. Pain, stiffness, and joint swelling are all helped with prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and steroid injections may also be an option.
How Regenerative Therapies Can Help
Treatments using stem cells, platelet-rich plasma, and other materials have been shown to effectively help with pain relief in psoriatic arthritis patients. Regenerative therapies, such as stem cell therapies, use cells taken from your own body to heal damaged tissue and promote further healing without the need for invasive surgical techniques.
An injection containing your stem cell materials is placed into the area of the body that is affected. In about 30 minutes, the procedure is completed, and over a period of time, tissues begin the repair and renewal process. Patients can find relief with the use of these regenerative therapies for chronic conditions such as spondylitis, a form of arthritis associated with psoriasis that affects the spine.
If treatment is performed in the early stages, the pain and inflammation from psoriatic arthritis can be alleviated. If you feel that you are a candidate for regenerative medicine or other treatments for arthritic pain, contact us at the Spine Institute Northwest at (888) 712-0318 for a consultation.