Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) may cause muscle pain, loss, and weakness. This can be due to inflammation, lack of physical activity, and other factors. Various treatments may help a person to manage muscle pain due to PsA.

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a long-term autoimmune form of arthritis. PsA can affect people differently, with symptoms being mild or severe.

This article discusses PsA and muscle pain, exploring how doctors treat it, how PsA affects other parts of the body, and when to contact a doctor.

A person is sitting on a bed with their hand on their back.Share on Pinterest
NickyLloyd/Getty Images

Studies suggest that people with PsA can develop muscle weakness and pain due to prolonged inflammation.

When someone has PsA, the immune system attacks its own tissues. The joints and skin are the main parts of the body the condition affects, but the organs may also be involved.

The condition can cause inflammation in large and small joints and sometimes the spine. If it affects the spine, doctors refer to PsA as a form of spondyloarthritis. The condition may also affect the muscles around the joints.

If someone with PsA experiences pain and stiffness, they may be less active. Research shows that inactivity and bed rest can cause muscles to reduce and become weak.

Learn more about what can cause muscle aches.

A 2017 study indicated that PsA may cause the loss of muscle mass in people with PsA postmenopause. However, the researchers noted limited research on muscle mass and arthritis, and most studies are related to rheumatoid arthritis.

Muscle weakness and loss may occur due to:

  • aging
  • lack of physical activity due to pain and stiffness
  • inflammatory processes
  • protein metabolism disturbances
  • hormonal changes

It is best to contact a doctor for advice if a person with PsA has concerns about muscle loss.

Learn about muscle wasting.

There are several strategies that people can try at home to help relieve muscle pain with PsA.

For example, a 2018 study found that a resistance exercise program improved muscle strength in people with PsA.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends that people with PsA exercise regularly if they can. In addition, they advise the following, which may help to manage muscle pain:

In addition, a doctor may prescribe medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids, to help manage muscle pain and inflammation.

Learn about medications for PsA.

In addition to muscle pain, PsA may cause symptoms such as:

  • itchy, painful skin
  • tenderness, pain, and swelling in the joints
  • cracking, pitting, and lifting from the nail bed
  • fatigue and tiredness

Additionally, without proper treatment, it can cause complications such as:

  • vision problems
  • weaker bones
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • increased risk of heart conditions

Seeking treatment for PsA can help a person to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.

Learn more about how PsA can affect the body.

If a person has symptoms of psoriasis or arthritis, it’s important that they discuss this with their doctor. They may refer them to a dermatologist or rheumatologist for a diagnosis.

Doctors may take a medical history and perform a physical examination. They may also use X-rays or blood tests to confirm their diagnosis.

If a person already has a PsA diagnosis, their doctor can help monitor their symptoms and change their current treatment plan as necessary. It is best to contact a doctor for advice if there are concerns about muscle pain or other symptoms.

PsA can cause muscle pain and stiffness. This may result in a person being unable to get enough regular physical activity, which may affect muscle strength and mass.

Other factors such as protein metabolism, hormones, and aging may also play a role in how the condition affects the muscles.

People can try dietary and lifestyle strategies to manage muscle pain. These include avoiding foods that may increase inflammation, getting enough regular exercise, and heat therapy.

In addition, a doctor can discuss medications that may help to alleviate pain, such as NSAIDs.