Daydreams For a Better Future with PsA – Part 2
Welcome back, daydreamers! If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 of this article series here. Now, I want to get to some of the other reasons why I think we should be hopeful about the future, even if a cure for PsA is not found in our lifetimes.
New options for pain relief
This is a big one. Chronic pain from psoriatic arthritis or other autoimmune conditions can steal the quality of life from our days. In just the past few years, there have been so many interesting advances in pain relief though, and I think there are lots of reasons to hope. Remember the Dr. Ho’s commercials? Well, a company called Livia has taken the technology and put it into abdominal patches that eliminate menstrual cramps. Neurologists are starting to find ways to confuse the nerve receptors that cause migraine pain. And in the last few decades, we’ve seen a number of new pain relief technologies that can help those with psoriatic arthritis. Oska Pulse and TENS Units are two that come to mind, but awesome products like heated mattresses and compression socks that you can put in the freezer are also out there. I also think that the huge curbing of opioid prescriptions will ease up. I have every reason to think that we’ll find a middle ground where doctors can be mindful of opioid abuse while not punishing the rest of us who need opioids for chronic pain and who don’t abuse them.
Mainstreaming of natural pain relief options
On the heels of that, there are some natural pain relief options that become more mainstream every day. Medical marijuana is the big player here. In 2017, Canada announced plans to legalize recreational cannabis in 2018, and in US states, including California and Alaska, are already on board. All trends point toward a future where cannabis may be available to everyone. With that will come new strains to help ease pain, get better sleep, and combat inflammation. Marijuana may be the poster child, but kratom is another up and comer on the scene and will likely follow the same path cannabis has. I think once marijuana has its breakthrough, we’ll see lots of other natural alternatives for pain relief come to light. Science will continue to find new plant extracts, like CBD oil, that will help with symptoms of PsA and other chronic conditions.
Like a fine wine, science and medicine get better with time. Even in the absence of a cure, medical researchers will continue to find new ways to make life with PsA easier. Every year there are new and better surgeries, like joint fusion and joint replacements. In the past few years, pharmaceutical companies have overwhelmingly switched their research focuses to biologics and other injectables, which is good news for those of us who need new biologics every few years. There’s more research done every day into the immune system, and how it’s influenced by things like genetics, the environment, and gut health.
I want to finish off by talking about awareness. Each day as our communities grow bigger and our voices grow louder, the world learns more about psoriatic arthritis and the impact it has on our lives. As awareness continues to grow, life will get easier for those with PsA and other chronic conditions. Doctors will receive more education in medical school about autoimmune conditions, and more physicians will connect the dots faster when someone shows up with psoriasis, pitted nails, and swollen joints. As psoriatic arthritis makes a bigger name for itself, the disability application process will become less uncertain, and our friends and family members will start to recognize terms like spoon theory, invisible illness, and brain fog. Cities are starting to require that all buildings are accessible, modern workplaces offer better work/life balance and work from home options, and everyone is thinking more about mental health and how things like meditation apps and counseling may help them stay healthy.
Living with autoimmune conditions comes with many dark moments, and it’s easy to despair. I’m hopeful that even if I don’t experience all of these daydreams come to life, future generations might. Every day I join in the conversation and try to promote awareness and patient advocacy. By doing this, I’m helping to make my daydreams a reality, and that’s a reason for me to hope.