A tin man figure bends over stiffly while someone pours oil on his joints

Tell Us You Have PsA Without Telling Us You Have PsA: The Stiffness is Real!

The trend "Tell us without telling us" or "Tell me without telling me" allows people to make pointed statements that play with stereotypes, defining characteristics, and the opportunity to share inside jokes.

As unique as psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can be, we asked our Facebook community, "Tell us you have PsA without telling us you have PsA." The responses were overwhelming, and we have noticed some consistent themes. So much, in fact, that we are creating an article series to play on the great shared topics.

First up? Stiffness. Then fatigue. Then we shifted focus and talked about the emotional toll of maintaining an invisible illness. Oh yeah, we've covered it all!

So, tell us

Psoriatic arthritis causes joint swelling and tendon and ligament inflammation. Meet what is mainly responsible for your tin-man-like joint stiffness. You may not be able to fully bend your fingers or form a fist. Difficulty getting in and out of bed in the morning can be your first challenge of the day. Taking those first few steps can feel like you have been stuck for hours and you are remembering how to move your body. Here is what a few of those with PsA had to say about stiffness...

"Holding your coffee and putting it down to realize your fingers stiffened to that position!"

"I should be carrying an oil can with me everywhere. You never know which joint is going to be squeaking the loudest."

"When I rest for more than 15-20 minutes, I am stiff and have trouble walking when I get up."

Community Poll

What time of day do you experience stiffness the most?

How else does stiffness impact daily life?

So, what else do those who live with PsA have to say about stiffness? Look no further. Our very own advocates share their own experiences. Vickie shares how being nonstop busy can lead to post-activity stiffness – and her tips for managing! And how about recovering and managing joint stiffness in the mornings? Diane talks about how to make the most of your mornings with PsA. And Leanne's insight into managing stiffness? Just keep moving.

Community Poll

Would you consider stiffness to be the most frustrating PsA symptom?

Tips for the tin-man

Taking a rest, post-exercise, and, of course, waking up in the morning. These are all examples of when stiffness can rear its ugly head. So what can help?

  • Heated products: Heated gloves, slippers, blankets, and even mattresses. The heat will reduce your inflammation.
  • Simple stretches in bed: Move slowly and intentionally. It is not an intense yoga class. The stretching can reduce pain and stretch out that stiffness.
  • Take a morning walk: Starting your morning slowly with some movement and mindfulness can improve your physical and mental health.
  • Be patient with yourself: take your time in the morning! Take a hot shower or bath. Indulge in some essential oils. Stress can make stiffness worse.

Connection in community

While all of this is a comical and light approach to what life with PsA can entail, we know there is so much more.
How can we get loved ones to understand the impact of pain? Are we able to push through this, or should we just rest? If we choose to rest, how do we push past the guilt? And do not even start on the overwhelming treatment options and doctor relationships.

Here at Psoriatic-Arthritis.com, we are a community that offers a safe place for sharing, support, validation, and kindness. However you feel comfortable getting involved, we are here for you.

  1. Create an account on Psoriatic-arthritis.com
  2. Share your story
  3. Participate in our forums – whether answering or asking questions!
  4. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  5. Sign up for our newsletter

Community Poll

In addition to stiffness, what other PsA symptoms do you experience?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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Community Poll

When it comes to living with multiple health conditions, I've found my: