Health

Best Stretches for Psoriatic Arthritis

If you have psoriatic arthritis, you may worry that exercise will worsen your condition. In fact, physical activity is an essential part of caring for your health: It can improve your strength, endurance, and flexibility, and help you manage your weight.

While all forms of exercise are beneficial, gentle stretches can play a key role in relieving psoriatic arthritis symptoms. When your tendons are loose and limber, you may be less likely to experience pain and tightness, according to the patient advocacy group CreakyJoints.

Plus, “increasing your flexibility helps prevent injury,” says M. Elaine Husni, MD, MPH, the vice chair of rheumatology and the director of the arthritis and musculoskeletal center at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “Daily stretching is an underemphasized part of psoriatic arthritis exercise.”

You’ll want to devote at least 15 minutes a day to stretching, but you should consider doing more, says Dr. Husni.

To get off on the right foot with any new stretching regimen, “you should start with a physical therapist to evaluate your physical ability and come up with a plan,” Husni says. “Once you can stretch without injuring yourself, you can make the plan part of your daily routine.”

Physical therapists are licensed by the state where they practice and work in a variety of settings, according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), including hospitals, outpatient clinics, and private practices.

In addition to creating a stretching plan tailored to your individual needs, a physical therapist will teach you how to monitor and adjust your program in response to changes in your psoriatic arthritis pain level, disease activity, and response to treatment, says the ACR.

RELATED: Physical Therapy for Psoriatic Arthritis: 6 Things You Should Know

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