When Psoriatic Arthritis Pain Is Overshadowed By Another Condition
Last updated: June 2023
Since my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis, its pain, symptoms, and treatments have often been overshadowed by my other health issues. This includes, but is not limited to, my endometriosis pain, the surgical errors made while being treated, and the fallout from both that take over my body and life when they flare.
The pain is so intense that it is like wearing horse blinders. I can only see in one direction. At its worst, I cannot feel or recognize pain or worsening symptoms from fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, or psoriasis.
It isn’t that they improve or have disappeared, but that I am blinded by the war occurring throughout my abdomen and pelvis.
Pain, pain and more pain
The severity and duration of these extracurricular flares interrupt my life and how I care for psoriatic arthritis and other chronic illnesses. My latest endometriosis flare began in November of 2019. That is two years at the time of writing this article.
If it continues, it will be the most prolonged and painful flare of my life. Until now, the longest flare lasted for two years which occurred right after my botched hysterectomy. The duration of most of my endo flares ranges between three weeks to nine months.
My endo flares affect my bowels, bladder, pelvis, abdominal muscles, and ribs. Lesions create inflammation in areas where I should not have any. Adhesions and scar tissue adhere to the pelvic floor, bladder, bowels, ribs, and muscles. When they twist and pull, tug and rip, the pain drowns out the pain my spine is in from psoriatic arthritis.
I almost forgot how spondylitis tortured my lower back until I recently experienced decreased pain from my current endo flare. But it was quick to remind me that it hasn’t gone anywhere after standing for just five minutes.
A break from pain isn't possible
The danger of having another health issue dominate my life is that I had to reduce and cease some of my psoriatic arthritis treatments.
This is particularly frustrating for me because as anyone who followed my posts during 2017-2018, knows it was one of those treatments that got me out of a wheelchair and walking 4 to 10 miles per day. Between not being able to treat my spine daily and new issues stemming from the endo flare, I was set back to where I was in 2016.
Whether it is for another condition or procedure, those of us who have had to stop or take a break from an effective psoriatic arthritis treatment never know if it will continue to work as it did before. While blinded from the pain, we don’t think about the pain lying underneath the other pain we are working to end.
Personally, after two absolutely fantastic years of significant psoriatic arthritis relief, it was and is devastating to know that I won’t be picking back up where I left off when and if this endo flare ends. Not knowing if the damage done during this flare due to lack of treatment and exercise is permanent terrifies me.
More illnesses, more problems
The most significant misconception friends and family seem to have regarding treating multiple chronic illnesses is that whatever worked before should work again. They do not understand the amount of damage that can take place during a break from treatment.
Another is that when a flare from one ends, I should return to the level of ability that I was in before. As if each condition does not affect the other. Unfortunately, the more illnesses we have, the more problems we must contend with.
Do you have another condition that has interfered with your psoriatic arthritis treatment plan?
Do you have any questions about PsA?