The Weight of It All: PsA & Weight
How much extra weight do we tote around? I don’t want to think about it anymore. I lose, I gain. At some point I came to the conclusion that I was carrying extra weight. However, we carry other weights as well. We daily load ourselves down with shoulder bags, laptops, grocery bags... and it is really damaging our joints. I know for me personally, my purse can weigh me down. The laptop that I use on a daily basis is very heavy. I became aware that these things I carry around all the time were slowly having an effect on my hands, shoulders, and fingers. If you were to weigh your purse, grocery bags, laundry basket, you would see you are carrying around a lot of weight.
Carrying extra weight
I am a few pounds heavier than what I would like to be; ok, maybe a lot. This extra weight is very hard on my joints. I feel morning stiffness and fatigue every day. I have made a conscious decision to lessen the load. If I don’t need my purse, I don't tote it around. There have been times when as little as two pounds was a challenge to carry. My fingers on each hand stiffen to the point where it is difficult to straighten them out. When I finally get them straightened out, it is painful. Carrying heavy objects is not good for us at all. Some clothing items carry a lot of weight. I have this beautiful long heavy coat, but I refused to wear it because of its weight. When I wear it, there seems to be a tugging on all my muscles, joints, and shoulders. Love the coat but it is not conducive to me or my joints.
Eliminating heavy objects
I don’t lift many heavy things anymore. Before I had PsA, it was no big deal for me to move a couch, big TV, or other heavy objects. I do none of that anymore. I know I must maintain my health and watching the weight of things I pick up is crucial to my overall health. Leave the lifting of beds and couches to my “superman”.
There are heavy items we wear and don’t realize how much damage they are doing to us. Belts, hats, and even shoes can be heavy. I had to check the things that were weighing me down. Also, this stresses the body and we suffer more pain. I know firsthand. We are quick to pull our joints out of whack. I have done this before and it is no fun. It makes you feel like you are having a heart attack.
So what's my solution?
Get to know your limits. First and foremost, we need to understand our joints, muscles, and tendons are already sensitive. I have put restrictions on what I wear, what I lift, the work I do around my house. I can’t lift weights at all. I just can't bear it. I exercise a little bit, which has helped me tremendously in my PsA journey. Be mindful of the weight we are carrying daily without even realizing it because it will make a difference in the pain we feel daily.
What about just letting go?
I have spoken to many people who are newly diagnosed with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. I have had this disease for 55 years, but my heart goes out to someone who is healthy one day and sick the next. I was speaking to a young lady who told me that waking up each morning feels like there are two big bricks on each of her shoulders weighing her down every morning. How do we help people get rid of that extra weight whether it is physical or mental? We are all different, so what works for me, might not work for you. But I have faith, I go to therapy, I do light exercise, healthy distractions and of course medication. These things will not always get rid of the weight, but it will help you be stronger to carry the weight; if it’s a purse or just the weight of the world.
Do you regularly track your psoriatic arthritis symptoms?