Lance Bass is getting candid about his journey with psoriatic arthritis.
The singer and dancer, 43, was diagnosed with the condition — which affects nearly 1 million Americans — five years ago after experiencing debilitating symptoms for quite some time.
"I had symptoms before, but you know, I kind of just dealt with it, not knowing exactly what it was. I was a dancer my whole life, so I just kind of figured it was because of dancing," the *NSYNC alum tells PEOPLE, adding that he noticed patches of psoriasis on his scalp while dealing with excruciating joint pain.
"It definitely started in my shoulders and then in my knees," he continues. "And again, to me, that was just such a sign of dancer pain, so I just thought it was completely normal, totally ignoring the signs."
"Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that can affect people who have psoriasis and is caused by overactive inflammation of cells inside the body," says Alvin F. Wells, M.D., Ph.D, director of the Rheumatology and Immunotherapy Center in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. "Symptoms such as scalp psoriasis or pitted nails, in addition to joint pain, could point to psoriatic arthritis."