Psoriatic arthritis develops in people with psoriasis, an autoimmune skin condition that causes scaly, inflamed plaques on the skin. Because psoriasis is an inflammatory condition, inflammation can start to affect the body’s joints. Psoriatic arthritis involves joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness that is either symmetric or asymmetric. The pain typically affects the hands, feet, and lower back.
Because you don’t move a lot during your sleep, you can wake up in pain or with stiff joints if you suffer from psoriatic arthritis. Inflammatory activity can also surge during the night depending on the body’s circadian rhythm. However, making a few changes to your morning routine can help you start each day with more motion, fluidity, and less pain. Include some or all of the following activities in your morning routine to improve symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.
Take Time To Stretch
Stretching is an underutilized therapy, despite how easy it is for everyone to do. You can perform simple to advanced stretches almost anywhere, anytime. Gentle stretches in the morning can help loosen up stiff joints to allow for more mobility throughout the day. Flexibility exercises and simple yoga poses, including a sun salutation, are low-impact so you don’t have to worry about straining muscles or joints. During your stretches, you should feel a gentle pull along the muscle, but pain indicates that you are overdoing it.
Applying heat can help improve blood flow to that specific region of the body. More circulation to the area, especially to your joints, can help reduce stiffness and improve mobility. If you experience pain in larger areas of the body like the spine, you can apply a heating pad. An electric heating pad can be great for this, but you can also use one that you put in the microwave to heat up. Make sure that you place a towel between the heat source and your skin to avoid any irritation or burns.
Take A Warm Shower
As previously mentioned, warmth helps to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation. Many people with psoriatic arthritis find that warm showers play a crucial role in their morning wellness routines. If you prefer a warm bath to a shower, consider adding sea salt, oatmeal, Epsom salt, or bath gel containing coal tar to help soothe muscles and moisturize the skin. Whether you take a shower or soak in a bath, be careful to not make temperatures too hot because that can cause dry, itchy skin.
Brush With An Electric Toothbrush
What does brushing your teeth have to do with joint stiffness? Well, a study from 2020 emphasized the importance of oral health for people with psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis patients have a higher risk of periodontitis, a chronic inflammatory condition that may result in early tooth loss. You have an easier time prioritizing oral health if you use an electric toothbrush because there is no need for the back-and-forth movement, which can cause discomfort while brushing. You can slide a piece of foam tubing over the handle to give yourself a better grip.
Use Assistive Devices
If your goal is to reduce strain on your joints, the last thing you want to do is make life more difficult. While you get ready, you can use a shoe horn to help put on your shoes. This tool is greatly beneficial if it hurts your knees to squat down in the morning. There are devices that also help you pull up a zipper if that is difficult. A dressing stick, which has a double hook at the end, can save you from bending or overextending your arms. You can use it to help put on your shirt, pants, and shoes!
Make Smart Breakfast Choices
Is a drive through breakfast sandwich easy and quick? Yes, but it doesn’t do your body any favors, especially if you regularly battle inflammation. Focus on foods that are naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants because they help fight against inflammation. For example, chia pudding, fruit and vegetable smoothies, and mushroom blends that you can add to coffee or tea are excellent. A vitamin D supplement may also be a great addition to your morning, as people with psoriatic arthritis tend to have lower levels of vitamin D.