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Psoriatic arthritis involves inflammation, pain, and swelling in the joints. Some natural treatment options — including stress reduction, exercise, capsaicin, and oatmeal — may help.
Psoriatic conditions tends to occur in cycles, with times of flare (when symptoms worsen) and periods of remission (when they reduce or disappear for some time).
Current medical treatment options can help slow the progression of PsA, prevent flares, and relieve symptoms, but natural and alternative remedies can also help a person relieve their symptoms.
Some approaches aim to relieve symptoms, while others help reduce the risk of a flare. It is important to note that not all of these remedies have scientific evidence to support them.
The following natural remedies may help with PsA:
Curcumin, which is an ingredient in turmeric, appears to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies have shown that curcumin may be able ease PsA symptoms by changing how some genes function. People can add the spice to food or take turmeric capsules.
Authors of a review published in 2018 concluded that curcumin could be a candidate for treating PsA naturally.
Find out more here how turmeric can help with psoriasis.
Turmeric is available for purchase online in various forms.
Capsaicin is the compound that makes chili peppers hot.
Some research suggests that creams containing capsaicin may numb pain receptors, bringing relief to painful joints. A person should apply these creams to the affected joints.
Capsaicin creams are available for purchase online and over the counter.
3. Epsom salts
Warm water also helps loosen joints and relieve pain. The temperature should be around 92–100°F (33–37.8°C).
4. Fish oil
Omega-3 fatty acids are present in fish oil. Studies suggest that they ease painful swelling by reducing inflammation. Possible sources include omega-3 supplements, oily fish such as tuna, and other cold-water fish.
Ginger is a root and a spice that appears to have anti-inflammatory properties. The Arthritis Foundation suggest that ginger may help people with rheumatoid arthritis, which is another inflammatory type of arthritis.
Exercise can boost a person’s overall health and quality of life. It can also reduce stiffness, strengthen muscles, aid weight maintenance, and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
7. Avoid or quit smoking
Current guidelines strongly recommend either quitting or avoiding smoking, as this is a trigger for PsA and symptom flares. A doctor will be able to recommend a suitable smoking cessation program or tool.
8. Massage therapy
A massage therapist with knowledge of PsA can help relieve joint discomfort and release tight muscles and joints. Getting a massage can provide significant relief from arthritis-related discomfort.
A qualified acupuncturist can insert needles at various pressure points to relieve chronic pain. Some evidence suggests, but does not confirm, that this can help treat PsA.
However, it can be expensive, and it may trigger skin symptoms in some people with psoriasis.
A therapist can apply pressure to different points of the body to reduce pain, stimulate the immune system, and release tension.
The following tips may help:
11. Try to relax
Many people find it hard to reduce their stress levels, especially when they feel unwell. Meditating, practicing yoga, and getting enough sleep each night may help manage stress and promote relaxation.
12. Get enough sleep
Sleep can help manage inflammation, reduce stress, and boost overall health and well-being.
The National Psoriasis Foundation explain that people with psoriatic conditions tend to have more problems with sleep than those without them.
One reason for this is that itching and pain can make it hard to sleep.
To encourage good sleep:
- Make sure that the room is dark, and that the temperature is comfortable.
- Leave cell phones and other devices outside the room.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
If these strategies do not help, a doctor may be able to offer another solution.
13. Take a warm bath
Spa therapy, including hydrotherapy such as taking a warm bath, can loosen joints, ease pain and inflammation, promote relaxation, and lower stress levels.
14. Meditation and mindfulness
Mindfulness involves being aware of the body, how it is feeling, and any changes that may signal an approaching flare. It also involves being aware of any situations that may cause unnecessary stress. Meditation can help manage pain and stress.
People with PsA may have skin involvement as well as arthritis. Here are some remedies that may help soothe the skin:
15. Apple cider vinegar
Applying apple cider vinegar to affected areas of skin may help a person with scalp psoriasis. However, people should not use apple cider vinegar if the affected areas are cracked or bleeding.
Apple cider vinegar is available to buy online
16. Oregon grape
The authors of a 2018 review note that applying creams with Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) to the skin can improve skin symptoms.
17. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and it may help relieve skin symptoms. Before applying it, a person should do a patch test, as it may aggravate some people’s skin.
18. Oats and Dead Sea salts
Oatmeal, as a paste or in a bath, can help soothe irritated skin.
A person can also add Dead Sea salts to their bath. The water should be warm, never hot, as this can trigger symptoms.
19. Aloe vera
This soothing, plant-based balm can provide comfort when a person applies it to patches of irritated skin.
Learn more here about how aloe vera can help with psoriasis.
A person should try to moisturize their skin at least once every day. The best time to do this is within 5 minutes of taking a bath or shower. A thick moisturizer is usually best. A pharmacist can suggest suitable options.
Learn more about moisturizers and emollients for psoriasis here.
Foods that contain antioxidants and fiber may help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is an underlying factor in psoriatic conditions and others that can occur alongside them, including obesity and heart disease.
Here are some tips:
Fruits and vegetables: These can provide antioxidants and fiber and help a person maintain a healthy weight.
Fats: Plant-based fat sources, such as avocado and olive oil, are good choices. People should limit their intake of animal fats and trans fats, which are present in many processed foods.
Dairy products: Opt for low-fat or fat-free items.
Processed foods: Choose fresh, whole, and unprocessed foods rather than highly processed ones.
Sugar and salt: Avoid refined and added sugars and salts.
Drinks: Stay hydrated, especially with water, but limit the intake of alcoholic and sugary drinks.
Learn more about foods and diets that may help with PsA.
It is important to remember that natural remedies do not replace the treatment plan a doctor prescribes. However, they may help relieve some symptoms if a person uses them alongside their medical treatment.
People should always:
- buy products from a reliable source
- follow the directions on the packet
- find a qualified professional for any alternative therapy
- ask a doctor before trying any alternative or complementary therapy
Some therapies may interact with medications or cause unwanted effects. A doctor can also advise on trustworthy sources.