In many people with psoriatic arthritis, cold weather can cause symptoms to flare. In this article, we discuss ways to manage psoriatic arthritis in cold weather, both in the short and long term.
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) affects around 30 percent of people who have psoriasis. This type of arthritis can also occur in people without psoriasis.
Cold weather can cause achy joints in many people, and those with arthritis or other joint conditions may experience significant flares of symptoms.
PsA causes joint inflammation and pain. Many people report that cold weather worsens symptoms, but few studies have investigated this association.
Cold temperatures and low humidity can contribute to winter flare-ups of psoriasis. A lack of sunlight can also have a negative effect and lead to vitamin D deficiency.
The following tips can help people manage skin and joint inflammation and associated pain.
1. Take a warm bath
Simply bathing in warm water can help ease pressure on aching joints, reducing swelling and inflammation.
A warm bath can ease the symptoms of many types of musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, and low back pain.
Ideally, water should not be too hot or cold, about 92–100°F (33–38°C). Aim to soak for around 20 minutes.
Try some gentle stretches after bathing to keep the joints and muscles supple for longer.
2. Wear the right clothing
Experts often advise people with psoriasis to wear natural, soft, breathable fabrics, such as cotton. To stay warm in winter, try wearing a base layer of cotton and adding layers of warmer fabrics.
When buying base layers, choose long-sleeved cotton tops, leggings, or long johns.
The aim is to cover as much skin as possible. This will prevent it from coming into contact with any irritating fibers in outer garments.
Various brands of long johns and other thermal clothes are available online.
To be extra safe, choose 100-percent cotton fleece for the outer layers, when possible.
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