Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory condition that causes joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness in people with psoriasis. Home remedies and self-care tips may improve a person’s quality of life with PsA.

Exercise, diet, stress relief, and some other nonmedical remedies can reduce the impact of psoriatic arthritis on daily life. They may help a person minimize pain and maintain range of motion.

A person’s doctor can help them create a treatment plan for PsA, which may include a combination of medical treatments and self-care tips.

This article discusses the various home remedies that can help relieve PsA symptoms.

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According to the Arthritis Foundation, exercise is key to managing PsA. It can help an individual:

  • reduce pain
  • ease stiffness
  • improve mood
  • improve function
  • protect overall health

The Arthritis Foundation recommends exercises such as:

  • aerobic exercise
  • strength training
  • stretching-based practices like yoga and tai chi

It is important to avoid exercises that put too much force on the joints. Walking, cycling, and swimming are types of aerobic exercises that do not put excess pressure on the joints.

It is best for a person to contact a doctor for advice on how to ease into a workout program. A doctor can also advise the individual on what exercises and level of activity are suitable based on their PsA symptoms.

Learn more about exercising with psoriatic arthritis.

Resting after exercise

Exercise is important for symptom relief, but it is also possible to put excessive stress on the joints and trigger a flare-up.

People with PsA who experience joint pain during or after exercise will want to make sure that they are resting enough and not overdoing physical activity.

Stress is a common trigger for psoriasis and PsA. Along with exercise, which can also help people relieve stress, other stress management techniques may help reduce PsA flares.

Several approaches to stress relief include:

  • meditation
  • visualization
  • deep breathing
  • yoga
  • massage

Learn more about relaxation techniques.

During flares, applying heat and cold therapy to sore joints can help reduce swelling, soothe pain, and ease stiffness.

Hot and cold therapy can include:

  • a warm bath, which may reduce soreness
  • a paraffin bath for the hands and feet, which can also help joints feel less sore
  • using an ice pack wrapped in a towel, which might help reduce swelling

Neither heat nor cold is better for PsA symptoms, so people can pick whichever feels most comfortable.

No eating plan can fully resolve PsA symptoms or reduce flares entirely. However, some foods have links to lower inflammation. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial for joint health, according to a 2018 study.

Examples of food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and tuna
  • nuts and seeds, such as flaxseeds and walnuts
  • plant oils, such as soybean oil and canola oil

A 2018 study supports eating fruits and vegetables as a way to manage arthritis, especially those with plenty of antioxidants, such as leafy greens.

A dietitian can help a person create an eating plan to help them manage PsA symptoms while ensuring they get enough essential nutrients.

Learn more about anti-inflammatory diets.

Foods to avoid with PsA

A person may choose to avoid foods that contribute to inflammation. These include foods high in sugar and processed foods high in saturated and trans fats.

Learn more about psoriatic arthritis and diet.

Obesity can increase the risk of PsA. Maintaining a moderate weight can reduce this risk.

Obesity can apply extra pressure on the joints. It can also contribute to low level, chronic inflammation, according to a 2023 review. This can trigger PsA flares and make symptoms worse.

Following an anti-inflammatory diet and exercise regimen can help with weight management.

People with obesity may find that losing 10% of their body weight improves how their body responds to treatments. However, this may not be right for everyone. It is important for people to speak with their doctor to determine what is best for their symptom relief and overall treatment plan.

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice in which a practitioner inserts extremely thin needles into pressure points on the body.

There’s no direct evidence that acupuncture can reduce the symptoms of PsA, according to a 2020 case report. However, the case report’s authors suggested that acupuncture has successfully reduced psoriasis symptoms in other studies.

A 2023 review of 21 animal studies also found that acupuncture helped reduce pain and inflammation symptoms of arthritis.

This research shows that acupuncture might be a promising option for those living with chronic PsA pain, although more studies are necessary.

Learn about acupuncture for psoriasis.

If a person smokes, quitting smoking may help them manage symptoms of PsA.

Smoking is a risk factor for PsA. It may also reduce the efficacy of a person’s treatment. By taking steps to quit smoking, it may make treatment for PsA more effective.

A person may wish to contact their doctor for advice if they wish to consider quitting smoking.

Learn about smoking cessation aids.

Home remedies may help with daily management of PsA symptoms, but they won’t slow the progression of the condition. A doctor may recommend medications alongside self-care tips.

Treatments include medications that reduce inflammation, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and occasionally corticosteroid injections.

Biologics and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs can also target parts of the immune system to reduce joint damage over time.

A person’s doctor can provide more information about what medications they recommend for PsA.

Learn more about medications for psoriatic arthritis.

People should contact their doctor if they experience constant painful, stiff, or swollen joints. Even those without psoriasis should follow up on these symptoms.

People with psoriasis would benefit from regular appointments to monitor the progression of the condition and allow their doctor to assess the efficacy of their current treatment plan.

Here are some frequently asked questions about PsA.

How can I help myself with psoriatic arthritis?

People with PsA can manage flares and symptoms in the following ways:

  • practicing relaxation and managing stress
  • eating a diet full of omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, and vegetables
  • getting enough regular physical activity or moderate exercise
  • protecting the skin to relieve itchiness and discomfort
  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • quitting or avoiding smoking

What should a person not do with psoriatic arthritis?

Several lifestyle choices can increase inflammation and make PsA flares worse, including:

  • eating foods high in sugars, saturated fats, and trans fats
  • smoking tobacco
  • drinking excess alcohol
  • exercising through pain

What is the best lifestyle for psoriatic arthritis?

The best lifestyle for a person with PsA is one that involves being active, managing pain, eating healthily, and listening to their body.

A person’s doctor can advise on steps they can take and activities they should avoid to help reduce symptoms. Alongside self-care tips and lifestyle modifications, medications may also help manage the condition.

Psoriatic arthritis can put pressure on daily life with pain, inflammation, and stiffness. However, self-care tips and home remedies can help a person manage symptoms.

Alongside medications, a doctor may recommend self-care tips such as getting enough physical activity, resting when necessary, and practicing relaxation techniques. Maintaining a moderate weight and following a joint-healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may also help.

Some treatments like acupuncture and cold or heat therapy can also support medical treatments for PsA.