Menacing looking rake towering over a tiny figure surrounded by mounds of fallen leaves

Psoriatic Pain: Loving Fall & Hating The Leaves

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. Living in Louisiana where the summers are excruciatingly hot makes the cooler temperatures of fall always delightful. The summer heat is bad for my psoriasis. The winter temperatures are bad for my psoriatic arthritis. Fall, however, usually does not affect me at all.

What does affect me or at least my body anyway is trying to rake up the leaves that fall from our trees. I work diligently to keep my flower beds up in the summer. I love it when someone walks by and compliments on how well our yard looks. I cannot afford the cost of hiring a company, so it is left up to me and my husband to keep the yard looking great.

The fall days before diagnosis

Before my diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, I could spend all day out in the yard doing whatever I wanted to. Gardening has always been a hobby of mine. Up until my symptoms turned bad it was nothing for me to have a rake in my hand.

I would spend hours on raking a section of the yard. I would get it all cleaned up and then move to another section. I was content to do so. With my headphones on I could listen to my favorite rock music playing. It would be the perfect combination for me to just get lost in my own little world. Those leaves didn't stand a chance.

Managing fall chores & psoriatic symptoms

Fast forward to present day where my psoriatic symptoms tend to be really bad, especially in my back. Gone are those days of a rake in hand and listening to great music. Now it only takes about five minutes for the pain to start. My back starts to tighten.

The next few strokes bring on the pain. Psoriatic arthritis in my back is telling me that I no longer can use that rake. I try to take breaks and let my back rest. However, it is not long after getting back up that my back is hurting again. It is an endless cycle of raking and breaking. To some people that might sound like a good routine. To me, it means I am getting nowhere fast.

The blessing of a leaf blower

Stubbornly, I had spent most of a day raking and breaking. I just about had my front yard raked up but daylight was fast dimming on me. My neighbor had seen me out there raking. He approached me with a leaf blower. He said by using the blower I would be able to get finished. Boy, how he changed my life that day.

Not only did I get the yard finished but I was in less pain using the blower. Needless to say, I made my husband go buy one the very next day. I used it to finish the back yard as soon as he got it home. Don't get me wrong. I still had to take breaks but not as many as before with using the rake.

Work smart, not hard

Yes, psoriatic arthritis is hard. Yes, it can limit what you do and for how long you do it. However, as the saying goes, if you work smarter instead of harder there are ways to get things accomplished with less pain. You will never see a rake in my hand again when it comes to those fall leaves.

I will happily get my leaf blower out to make my yard look nice. The worst part of the leaf blower is it makes it hard to listen to my headphones. But, hey, I guess we all sacrifice something when it comes to living with psoriatic arthritis. I will take the loss of the headphones. After all, when I get finished I can always go to the house and listen to as much music as I want. It's a total win/win as far as I am concerned.

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