Psoriatic arthritis: The do’s and don’ts to reducing pain 15



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Stiffness, burning, pain, swelling around the joints.

These are typical symptoms for those suffering from psoriatic arthritis.

The difference between Psoriatic Arthritis (PA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is the way it affects the body. RA tends to affect the body symmetrically, so both sides of the body are affected ie: both wrists, both feet etc. With PA this isn’t always the case. However they both are an inflammatory auto-immune condition that needs to be treated with anti-inflammatory protocols.

Besides mainstream medicine providing treatments centred around immuno-suppressants such as Methotrexate there are some differences that exist when treating arthritis through Chinese Medicine.

A Chinese medicine practitioner takes into account the type of symptoms that are present. For example burning sensation and swelling will be treated differently to someone that has stiffness and deformity. With that same principle in mind the food that is recommended is different as well. For example a person with burning pain and swollen joints will be best to avoid spicy hot food which includes spices such as turmeric, garlic, cinnamon and the like. Although turmeric and garlic are anti-inflammatory they are warm and generating warmth in the body of someone with burning pain in their joints will only inflame the situation even more.

On the flip side someone who has stiffness and deformity of the joints without the burning sensation would greatly benefit from spices such as turmeric and garlic.

Foods that are best avoided by both scenarios include:

  • Sugars and other sweeteners
  • Coffee and other caffeinated beverages
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Refined Carbohydrates
  • Carbohydrate rich diet (even if Low GI carbohydrates)
  • Charcoal and BBQ meats
  • Excessive food consumption

Foods of benefit include:

  • Anti-inflammatory foods such as green leafy vegetables
  • Drinking minimum 2 litres of filtered water per day
  • Lean meats such as turkey breast, lamb eye fillet and chicken
  • Fish especially the oily fish (fresh is best)
  • Flax seeds are a great anti-inflammatory but for joint inflammation fish oil is better (flax seeds best suited for those with psoriasis on their body
  • Low GI carbohydrates such as brown rice and quinoa

These foods are beneficial to assist whatever treatment you are doing. It is important to recognise that food is one piece of the puzzle when treating PA. Ideally the treatment you are focusing on is assisting the inflammation in the body and the diet plan is aimed to reduce inflammation entering the body as well as potentially reducing the presence of a trigger that may exacerbate your PA.


Tell us, what else works for you? 

Irene Prantalos

Irene Prantalos knows what it is like to overcome a debilitating illness, and turn her life around. She was diagnosed with psoriasis when she was just 11 years old and battled her way through adolescence and into early adulthood, suffering from the skin disease… until she found a way to live free from psoriasis with the help of her mother. She is now a healthy skin educator and pioneer.

  1. I have PA. My rheumatologist prescribed Arava 10mg which controls my pain, I also attend weekly Arthritic Warm Water exercises run by a physiotherapist which I find wonderful.

    2 REPLY
    • Hi Trish Brown. At Mowel Retirement Village in Castle Hill. You don’t have to be a resident, but you do need a referral nite from your GP to the Arthritic Federation to enable you to join these exercises.

  2. I have tried most remedies to no avail, like everything it appears to be working however it’s not long before you find yourself back in the same situation and sometimes more pain.

  3. I see a rheumatologist for my psoriatic arthritis. With 2 meds he has reduced my pain by 99.9%. I am on methotrexate (which has eliminated the psoriasis), and salazopyrin. Don’t suffer any longer – go & see a rheumatologist.

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