When you have psoriatic arthritis, you’re managing a serious skin condition as well as chronic joint pain. At Arthritis Northwest PLLC in Spokane, Washington, the highly skilled rheumatologists offer compassionate treatment and support for patients affected by psoriatic arthritis. To find out how they can use their expertise to help relieve your symptoms, call Arthritis Northwest PLLC today to schedule a consultation and to book an appointment. Or visit us online.
Psoriatic arthritis is a disorder some people develop when they also have a skin disease called psoriasis.
Psoriasis causes flaking, peeling patches of red and white skin to appear. Sometimes, in addition to the skin problem, patients find their joints become increasingly stiff, swollen, and painful because of arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis can affect one or many of your joints but is most common in the hands and knees. Psoriatic arthritis in your spine (spondylitis) can stiffen your back and neck, so you find it hard to bend.
You could also suffer from enthesitis. This is tenderness felt where your ligaments and tendons attach to the bones in your joints. Enthesitis, a typical symptom of psoriatic arthritis, can cause pain in places like the soles of your feet, your elbows, and the backs of your heels.
While the underlying cause of psoriatic arthritis isn't clear, there may be some risk factors involved, such as a genetic link; as the condition often runs in families. Another risk factor may be a compromised immune system.
What is clear is that psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means it's due to an immune system malfunction. Instead of restricting itself to invading microorganisms that could pose a genuine threat, your immune system attacks normal, healthy cells in your body with an autoimmune disorder.
These cells might be in specific places, such as your joints, causing problems like rheumatoid arthritis. With psoriatic arthritis, both your skin and the connective tissues in your joints come under attack.
There isn't a definitive test that can confirm you have psoriatic arthritis, but the Arthritis Northwest PLLC rheumatologists have extensive experience in diagnosing the disease.
Your provider conducts a physical exam, looking at your skin, nails, and joints to find signs of psoriatic arthritis. They also use diagnostic imaging and lab tests if necessary to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other kinds of arthritis.
The images also help your Arthritis Northwest PLLC provider determine the extent of any damage inside your joints.
For patients with milder arthritis symptoms, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a good place to start. If these don't help, your Arthritis Northwest PLLC provider might prescribe disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
DMARDs slow down joint deterioration and help reduce the pain psoriatic arthritis causes. If you have severely inflamed or swollen joints, steroid injections could help.
Another option is biologic medications containing modified antibodies, such as:
Physical therapy is also a vital treatment for psoriatic arthritis, helping to keep your body strong and flexible and slow down joint stiffening.
For the most advanced psoriatic arthritis therapies, call Arthritis Northwest PLLC today or book an appointment. Or visit us online.