One of the most common symptom of lupus, many people experience and live with chronic pain.
“My hands, wrist, shoulders… You name it, the pain is there”
The pain associated with lupus can be one of the most challenging parts of the disease. Everyone with lupus experiences pain differently and in different amounts, but the most common areas are:
- Joint pain
- Itchiness and irritation from rashes
- Lung pain
- Abdominal pain
Causes and Solutions of Lupus Pain
Pain from lupus comes mostly as a result of other common lupus symptoms. For example: sun sensitivity can make bright sunny days cause eye pain, headaches, or sun burn; rashes that come from flares are itchy and irritating; digestive issues associated with certain types of lupus cause severe stomach cramps; and swelling can put pressure on your joints, making them ache even if you aren’t moving around.
That’s a tough list, but the good news is that identifying the symptoms that are causing your pain lets you fix the root cause instead of just the pain itself. Here are a few ways you can tackle those root causes:
- Wear sunglasses, hats, or long sleeves in the sun
- Track what you eat and manage your diet to help your abdominal issues
- Ice and rest any swollen joints or muscles
- Speak to your doctor and get the right medication.
There are many other strategies to reduce your pain. Work with your doctor to take on the causes of the pain, not just the pain itself!
Is my pain from my lupus, my fibromyalgia, or my rheumatoid arthritis?
Another challenge for many lupus warriors is that often they are not just battling lupus, but other conditions that cause pain like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. If you are suffering from other conditions, it is important to make sure you are addressing them correctly. Make sure to work with your doctor to find the right medications and track your pain. Also, while pain medicines can be helpful, and in many instances are necessary, there are always risks and side effects with medications. It is good to know some other approaches to pain relief:
- Mediation / Breathing Techniques
- Warm Baths
- Moist Heated Towels
Stress and Staying Positive with Lupus Pain
“Why can’t I just be pain free for a day?”
Perhaps the most challenging part of the lupus pain is the frustration that comes along with it. Daily aching, headaches, and rashes can wear on you and can make living your normal life exhausting and the stress caused by mental strain can actually worsen your physical pain! So it is important to keep your mind and mood healthy to manage your pain.
How can you help yourself?
- Do meditation or light yoga
- Keep your brain distracted with hobbies and activities
- Stick to a healthy diet from your doctor
- Share with friends and family
Staying positive and keeping yourself focused on other things will not only keep your mind healthy, it can also help to reduce physical pain.
Work with your doctor, your family, your friends, your community, and your own habits to help yourself beat lupus pain.