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When Your PsA Flare is FLARING

When Your PsA Flare is FLARING

While the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) may differ from person to person, one thing remains constant — experiencing flares. What is a flare, you ask? It is that period of time when your symptoms significantly worsen, and for many people, it can feel like the symptoms are unbearable. These flares can happen at any time and can be challenging to manage.

Health Union, LLC conducted a large survey of people who have psoriatic arthritis, and asked many questions about what it’s like living with a chronic condition in which flares are so commonly experienced. Over 1,000 people completed the survey. Here are the highlights from what our community shared with us.

What body parts are most affected by flares, and how long do they last?

PsA symptoms can be experienced over your whole body. Among people who took this survey, on average, about 7.5 distinct areas of the body were reported to be currently affected by the symptoms of PsA. When a symptom starts feeling worse, and a flare occurs, it can feel frustrating and discouraging, particularly if you felt your treatment plan was working!

Body Parts Affected by Flares

While it can sometimes feel like a flare is lasting forever, we found that there is a wide variety of experiences in how frequently people experienced flares and how long they lasted.

Flare Frequency

Among people who took the survey, almost three-quarters of people with PsA experienced flares monthly or even more frequently, with flares lasting several weeks.

Flare Duration

Why do PsA flares occur?

Flares usually strike after being triggered by something that’s going on in your daily life — from a change in your diet to a change in the weather. Some things are within your control, while others are not. Regardless, it is important to be aware of what may be a trigger for you. In our survey, we found that 84% of those with flares have identified their triggers, with stress and/or weather or climate changes being the most common.

Top 5 Flare Triggers

What are ways to manage and treat PsA flares?

For many people, having PsA and experiencing flares negatively impacts their quality of life. Survey respondents reported that their ability to exercise or participate in physical activity are the most frequent areas of their life to be negatively affected. Less frequently cited, but still commonly reported aspects of life that are also compromised include the ability to work, sleep, and have a social life.

Life with PsA Flares

People with PsA manage their flares in several different ways. Pain medications, such as NSAIDs, rest and sleep, and heat therapy are the three most frequently used tactics.

PsA Flare Management Techniques

Coping with a PsA flare

It can be frustrating coping with a condition that encompasses such a wide range of symptoms. Many people describe this condition as extremely painful, both physically and mentally.

PsA in One Word

But please know that you are not alone. Our community here at understands and supports you even when you’re dealing with your worst flare.  And when that happens, reach out to us on Facebook or in forums!

The Psoriatic Arthritis In America 2017 online survey gathered insights from 1,033 individuals currently suffering from psoriatic arthritis to better understand their symptoms and management of this condition, as well as the impact on their lives.


  • DianaN
    12 months ago

    I don’t know what a flare is because I overdo it every day and want to believe I am the same person I always was. I live with pain every day and the people I live with have their own health issues.

  • Kirs
    2 years ago

    Hi. I am new to this group, but I can totally relate to all of the readings and what we go through living with psoriatic arthritis. I started getting pustular psoriasis when I was about 30 after a very stressful time in my life. At age 45 I started to feel arthritis and I was diagnosed with PA. I finally tried Humera and I had a reaction to it. It did help with the pain, but I started to get psoriasis in different places on my body. Then my appendix burst. Landed in the hospital for5 days. So, I decided to try the holistic approach. It worked for a while, but I am in the middle of a flare which started with stress from work and family issues. I am now 54, in pain everyday. Going back to my Dr next week and I want to try something new. Living in pain everyday has become the new norm, and it really does put a toll on you. Especially when you have to work everyday, in a stressful environment. Does anyone have any suggestions about new medications I could talk to my Dr about? Thanks! I am looking forward to being a member of this group!

  • pmaleport
    2 years ago

    I am new to this PSA community and find many of these articles and forums so helpful as my psoriasis has progressed over the past 20 years. I have been on Humira for 11 and a half years which completely cleared my plaque, but over the past 5 years I believe I have developed PSA based on the information provided on this site. A lot of these articles have helped explain what has been happening to my body and at least now I can put a name to it. I truly feel that Humira has helped stop the progression of the PSA but heck when you turn 60 things start falling apart. I am not nearly as bad as many but the flare-ups are starting to get worse and more frequent. Thank you all for sharing.

  • Rebecca moderator
    2 years ago

    So glad to hear you are finding our community helpful – and especially glad you may have an explanation for your current symptoms. You definitely aren’t alone in this – you may want to check out the forums especially about treatments and check your friend inbox for a friend request from me 🙂

  • Shuggie
    2 years ago

    This article is amazing. It’s thorough and describes PsA 100%. Perfect to educate those in need such as Family, Friends etc. If…. they just would read it!
    PsA has been Life Altering for me in every way from head to toe. Ì miss ME before PsA so much. I know other’s do too.
    I feel like I’ve been snatched up, crumbled, stepped on and tossed aside. Imagine if you will a piece of paper, crumbled and you try to then straighten it out and make it smooth again. It’s Not possible! At the top of this crumbled sheet of paper- if you were to try and smooth it out…. is the words ME. The The first line says “I’m struggling and I’ll never be the same.” For me:
    PsA is like being physically assaulted and battered by an invisible attacker that left me with multiple injuries, wounds and pain that will never heal. It’s the same attack day after day. The same excruciating pain. Ì can’t compete or fight an invisible attacker. The pain NEVER EVER goes away. It backs off, then jumps you from behind.

  • Koffegurl
    2 years ago

    I was one of the PsA community that did this survey. I’m sad, but also grateful that I’m not alone. Thank you for the support!

  • VickiN moderator
    2 years ago

    Thank you so much for participating, Koffegurl! Were the results what you expected? I find it incredibly comforting to see so many people who can relate (when previously they thought they were alone). That’s the best part of this community. Sending positive thoughts,
    -Victoria, Community Moderator

  • Koffegurl
    2 years ago

    Sorry it took so long to respond. Yes, the results seem to be things that I experience most during flares. I’m grateful I’m not alone, but sad that you all understand.

  • trixiepop
    2 years ago

    I like this article! What pain meds work the best during flares?

  • Koffegurl
    2 years ago

    Trixiepop, pain meds don’t work on me for very long at all. I’m getting results of genetic testing in a few days and hopefully it will give answers to what might help. I’ve Had PsA for 36 years and am now disabled. Sometimes, I have to go on oral steroids for any relief.

  • VickiN moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi trixiepop! It’s really individual, but we do a have a good list here of the different types (if you’re interested):
    Have you discussed any of these with your Rheumatologist? Warm wishes today,
    -Victoria, Community Moderator

  • Astrid
    2 years ago

    Really enjoyed this.

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