Fight Back Against Fatigue:

Fight Back Against Fatigue: A Psoriatic Arthritis Patient’s Guide was made possible with support from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

CreakyJoints® is a digital community for millions of arthritis patients and caregivers worldwide who seek education, support, advocacy, and patient-centered research. We represent patients in English and Spanish through our popular social media channels, our websites, and the 50-State Network, which includes more than 1,600 trained volunteer patient, caregiver, and health care activists.

Part of the Global Healthy Living Foundation, CreakyJoints also has a patient-reported outcomes registry called ArthritisPower® (, which includes tens of thousands of consented arthritis patients who track their disease while volunteering to participate in longitudinal and observational research. CreakyJoints publishes the popular “Raising the Voice of Patients” series, which offers downloadable patient-centered educational and navigational tools for managing chronic illness. It also hosts PainSpot (, a digital risk-assessment tool for musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, and eRheum (, for telehealth and virtual-care support. All programming is free, always. For more information and to become a member, visit

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There are many different medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis and prevent disease progression. It’s important to understand the possible side effects. Download our RA drug side effects chart to learn about the common and serious side effects by various drug classes.

Fatigue vs Feeling Tired: What's the Difference?

Fatigue is not just being tired or sleepy. It is a medical symptom that impacts your physical and mental state and your ability to think clearly, stay motivated, and do the things you need or want to do. For roughly 30 to 40 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis (PsA), debilitating fatigue is one of the most difficult symptoms to live with.

CreakyJoints launched this guide to help people living with PsA understand how fatigue is different from being tired, what causes it, how to treat fatigue, and how to talk to your doctor so you can start feeling better.

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A Psoriatic Arthritis Patient’s Guide

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Fight Back Against Fatigue: A Psoriatic Arthritis Patient’s Guide was made possible with support from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Being tired means that your mind and body need sleep or rest — and that you are weary. It happens to all of us. Usually some short-term rest, a shot of espresso, a brisk walk around the block, or a cat nap can help us power through feeling tired.

Unlike being tired, fatigue doesn’t get better with rest or caffeine. “When it comes to being tired, naps or a few hours of rest can solve your problem; on a good day, maybe even a cup of coffee,” says CreakyJoints member Diane T., who began experiencing symptoms of psoriatic arthritis at age 25. “Fatigue takes it to another level. It’s a constant state of being tired in which the simplest tasks can cause me to lie in bed for 90 percent of the day.”

Being Tired vs. Having Fatigue

“When I am fatigued and I need rest, I'm not sleeping. I am just lying there; nothing in my brain is shutting off. If I am tired, I'm able to completely shut down and go to sleep.”

—Jaime H., CreakyJoints Psoriatic Arthritis Patient Council

What Does Fatigue Feel Like?

Read about what fatigue feels like

Wiped out. Utterly exhausted. As though you’re coming down with the flu. Unable to get your head above water. Pumping gas, but the gas tank is empty. The fatigue that people with psoriatic arthritis have is real and it interferes tremendously with daily life.

“Fatigue can be very subjective,” says rheumatologist Eric Ruderman, MD. Some of Dr. Ruderman’s patients with psoriatic arthritis say they feel “wiped out all of the time,” while others feel the burden as the day progresses. Because of limited energy levels, “they have to pick which one or two things they can do in a given day,” he says.

What Fatigue Feels Like

“Fatigue is like getting a blood draw, but instead of taking blood, the energy slowly gets pulled from my body.”

— Diane T., CreakyJoints Psoriatic Arthritis Patient Council

“Fatigue makes me just sit in my chair for two hours. I can’t summon the will to get up and move.”

— Eddie A., CreakyJoints Psoriatic Arthritis Patient Council

What Causes Fatigue?

Learn more about the causes

Even though many patients with psoriatic arthritis report that fatigue is one of the most challenging symptoms to manage, fatigue is still very misunderstood by patients and health care providers alike. But why?

In addition to fatigue being an “invisible” chronic illness symptom — one that is hard to quantify — there is also not usually a single cause of fatigue in PsA. Instead, this symptom is what experts consider “multifactorial” (due to many causes), which aren’t always easy to figure out. In a disease like PsA, one cause of fatigue can lead to many others.

How to Reduce Fatigue

Get the tips

Patients with psoriatic arthritis and health care providers who treat it agree that managing fatigue requires a well- rounded approach that may include adjusting and/or supplementing your medication regimen, managing your mental health, and making other healthy lifestyle changes.

• Improve sleep hygiene
• Move for five minutes
• Track your steps
• Switch up your daily routine
• Try some tai chi
• Stand up and take a tech time-out
• Take methotrexate close to the weekend
• Try teletherapy for mental health support
• Do something you love
• Decide what’s really a priority
• Zoom with a friend or family member
• Use a meditation app

• Know your limitations
• Say no
• Go for a quick walk
• Take a bath
• Schedule self-care in your routine
• Sip a cold decaf drink
• Think bite-sized
• Take 10-minute breaks
• Seek support
• Communicate, communicate, communicate

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Psoriatic Arthritis Fatigue

Get tips on talking to your doctor

Fatigue is notoriously challenging for psoriatic arthritis patients and their doctors to discuss and manage, but better care starts with better communication.

Rheumatologists and other health care professionals agree that fatigue is a critical symptom for your doctor to know about.

“Fatigue itself can affect a patient’s quality of life and ability to function,” says Rebecca Haberman, MD, Clinical Instructor of Rheumatology at NYU Langone Health in New York City. “If you don’t tell us, we won’t know, and it could change the treatments that we suggest and prescribe for you.”

What’s more, fatigue can be a sign of ongoing inflammation and chronic pain, a side effect of one of the medications you take to treat PsA, or related to a co-occurring health condition, such as anemia, anxiety or depression, or fibromyalgia.

The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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