Community Views: The Pains of Showering with Psoriatic Arthritis
Showering can be one of the most challenging routine activities for people living with psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Many people with PsA feel like they do not have the energy to shower every day. When they do scrub up, they rely on tricks to make the process easier and less draining.
Make the most out of your shower
When it comes to taking a shower, it might be difficult to step over the edge of a tub, manipulate a bar of soap, squeeze a washcloth, wash your hair, use a razor, and simply bend down to wash your legs and feet.
To learn more about what habits work best, we reached out to community members on our Facebook page. We asked you to tell us: “What are your tips for a good shower routine?”
More than 80 people with psoriatic arthritis responded. Here is what was shared.
Invest in a shower chair
The #1 answer was to buy yourself a chair or bench for the shower. Some community members shared that they prefer bathing in the tub for the same reason. This gives them the ability to sit and take it easier while tackling this chore.
“Shower chair. So much easier.”
“I have used a shower chair for years. It helps immensely.”
“I use a shower bench. Have fallen too many times and hurt myself.”
Try a new showerhead
Many community members have found that it helps to have a detachable showerhead. Holding the showerhead in your hand can make it easier to rinse your hair and body. A showerhead with a variety of settings also allows you to pick a water flow that is soft and soothing. In many cases, showerheads with only 1 setting cause too much pressure on the scalp. This can be painful.
“Several years ago I got a showerhead that has multiple settings (steam, massage, soothing, etc.) with a side-attached handheld wand with different pressure settings. It helps me no matter how I feel.”
“I changed my showerhead to one that is handheld.”
“I recommend a handheld showerhead, too. That way, after I make it up a flight of stairs and into the tub, I can sit and relax with a vibrating setting on the showerhead.”
Switch to a shorter hairstyle
Changing your hairstyle can be a big adjustment, but it can also lessen the time and effort it takes to wash your hair. Several community members shared that they opted to cut their hair short to make the process less of a bother.
“I went to a short hairstyle that I do not have to blow dry.”
“I cut out my hair short.”
Skip the shower entirely
Many folks have found they can shower every other day. You may even be able to shower just once or twice a week, depending on the climate where you live and how much you sweat. Those who do skip showers said they get by using dry shampoo and baby wipes on the in-between days.
“Baby wipes have become my go-to when showering is not possible. Especially in the winter when showering dries my skin out even more. Dry shampoo is a miracle.”
Shower with your hair upside-down
One last trick to consider is to bend over so your head is lower. This can give your arms a break since you do not have to reach so high to wash and rinse your hair.
“When I do shower, I bend at the waist and wash my hair ‘upside down’ so I do not have to keep my arms above my head (which takes more energy than a healthy person realizes).”
Pain and discomfort from PsA can make the most basic tasks cumbersome. And while the disease can affect the hands and joints, it often causes fatigue as well. All of this can make taking a shower not only a significant hurdle, but also a safety concern.
Thank you to everyone who shared their showering tips and tricks. We appreciate how much this community helps one another.
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?