December 15, 2022
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From medication to diet to movement, these six timely tips can help you reevaluate your psoriatic arthritis (PsA) management as we move into the new year.
A new year is around the corner, and while you may or may not be making any resolutions, this time of year is the perfect time to reevaluate your PsA management plan.
For many people in the United States, insurance coverage plans change, deductibles start over, and benefits refresh, making it a great time to look at your budget and options. Not to mention, if you are considering making dietary changes to manage your condition, many diet management plans offer New Year specials that you might want to take advantage of.
What is your current plan? Do you have one, or are you sort of in a free-fall pattern post-diagnosis? You might want to consider a well-rounded approach or what I like to think of as “fighting the war on a variety of fronts,” with all tools at your disposal.
Here are some tips for reevaluating your condition management plan as we move into the new year.
It’s important to have a conversation with your care team if you’re considering any changes to your condition management plan. If you’re currently taking pharmaceutical medications as a part of your plan, it’s a good time to talk about how well it’s working for you.
If you haven’t already done so, have an open and transparent conversation about reasonable expectations around treatment outcomes for your particular case. For example, I have both PsA and rheumatoid arthritis, so what I can reasonably expect in terms of treatment outcomes is different from someone who has one condition.
In addition, has your doctor’s office made any changes to their policies scheduling, refills, or billing? If so, make sure you understand those changes and how they might impact you or your care going forward.
Even the most seasoned spoonie will tell you that navigating insurance can be a nightmare. Just when you think you have it all figured out, a new year may mean changes to your plan.
This could include coverage changes for medications you’re taking. Be sure to contact your insurance provider if you have any questions to avoid surprises.
On the other hand, you may be entitled to receive additional coverage benefits. If physical therapy sessions, joint braces, or prescription medical equipment are covered, talk with your doctor to see if you might benefit.
Maybe you’ve always been curious about functional medicine and have been wondering if it might be right for you. Perhaps the new year is the right time to get serious about researching it.
Whether you are considering adding alternative symptom management options, like CBD, or alternative treatment options, like following a gut health protocol, take some time to do a little research about what your options might be. In my experience, combining my prescription medications with alternative options can take my symptom relief from mediocre to manageable.
Have the holiday season’s goodies gotten out of hand?
When it comes to PsA management, there are people who swear by whole foods, plant-based, autoimmune protocol, keto, and even carnivore diets. Maybe the new year is the right time for you to get serious about figuring out if a new eating plan might be right for you.
Different people have different responses to all kinds of protocols. So, it is worth speaking with your doctor to see if they have a recommendation for you.
Does your condition management protocol include movement? Movement of any kind keeps our joints “oiled” and our muscles strong and flexible.
If physical therapy is included in your insurance plan, this is a great place to start. If not, speak with your doctor and start small. For the most part, any movement, no matter how small, is better than none at all.
I find the most benefit from gentle stretches in the morning, often before I get out of bed, to sort of “grease the wheels” as I attempt to start my day. However, in the interest of pure honesty, morning pain is usually the worst for me, so it is often very difficult for me to make myself get these stretches finished. But “future Leanne” is pretty much always grateful that I was able to push through and get those early stretches accomplished in bed before my aching feet hit the floor.
Before trying a new movement regimen, speak with your doctor for recommendations on what would best suit you.
Stress is a major flare trigger for me. Over the years, I have found one of the best ways to combat stress is to incorporate some of my favorite hobbies into my disease management plan.
I have to make this a clear, nonnegotiable part of my management plan. Otherwise, it is likely to be one of the first things cut from my to-do list if I end up with more pain and fatigue than I expected.
If you push stress management aside too often, it will sneak up on you and get out of hand really quickly. So, when you make your management plan, be sure to include a list of different types of interests and include options that require varying degrees of time and energy.
Pulling together all the components of your condition management plan for the new year might take some time and a bit of trial and error.
It might seem like a lot to consider, but having a well-thought plan will give you your best shot at making your PsA more manageable in the new year.
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