We’ve established that massive inflammation occurs when the immune system ‘turns on itself’ as it does in lupus. This inflammation is often the cause of the pain or other symptoms of lupus. Because causes of lupus are poorly understood, the cause of the inflammation isn’t known exactly; however, some have thought that a chemical reaction created by lupus autoantibodies causes inflammation.
However, before discussing medications used to treat the pain caused by lupus, there are a few things in most homes which should be in your ‘arsenal,’ your ‘bag’ of tricks.’ I say this because even the most basic medications used to treat lupus pain are not without side effects; do try these first!
Moist compresses are an age-old remedy used to decrease pain. But what temperature should they be? If you said, ‘both warm and cold’ you’d be right; warm feels best and seems to me to penetrate to achy joints, but cold decreases the inflammation which causes pain. If you do chose heat for achy joints, it should be moist heat.
Hot showers, saunas, soaking tubs are a good way to start the day, but give yourself 15-20 minutes, maximum exposure. There is definitely a time for the routine use of cold; if there’s been an acute injury, like a twisted ankle, or sprain. For the first 36 hours, cold applications act well to decrease swelling.
Other remedies for pain relief are relaxation techniques, medication, visual imagery, focusing on breathing. These techniques is always the reduction of stress. So, one would ask; what does decreasing stress have to do with pain?
There are several ways, including relaxation enough to move the focus of one’s thinking elsewhere. Relaxation techniques have also been shown to increase the body’s level of endorphins; our body’s natural pain-killer and some go as far as saying that endorphins are the body’s morphine.
Other pain-relieving modalities are acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic, massage, biofeedback, to name a few; but it is advised for any of the techniques that I mention- including over-the-counter-medications-be discussed with one’s physician.
Many pain-relief remedies are age-old medicine and often without the side effects of what is available today. Many consider acetaminophen to be ‘benign.’ However, it is questionable that if it were to undergo the approval process today, it would not be released to the general public.