A Bad Day-Lupus and Pain

Are you unable to get out of bed? That doeesn’t make you lazy or crazy; it makes you human. After all, when ‘able-bodied’ people are ill and they stay in bed, are they considered lazy or crazy? Why is it that we ‘lupies’ hold ourselves to a high standard? Furthermore, people whose lupus is active have more bad than good days; or maybe I should qualify that by saying that if you do have all good days, you’re a pretty fine actor!

So, what keeps you in bed?  One answer is that sleepiness makes you want to hang out in bed. But bigger than sleepiness are your aching joints and fatigue that may or may not go hand in hand with the sleepiness from insomnia. Sure, we all have stiffness in the morning, but the patient with lupus experiences the stiffness much longer and there can be a multitude of causes:

ACHY JOINTS or arthralgias are often due to arthritic changes in the joint itself. Age doesn’t matter, although arthritic changes and accompanying discomfort are more often seen in 60 year-olds than in 20 year olds. Sometimes pain in a youth is attributed to ‘growing pains’ when in actuality, some youths suffer early onset arthritis.

ACHY JOINTS  can also result from osteonecrosis (avascular necrosis, aseptic necrosis) which is what has me in bed today. I havve osteonecrosis in my shoulder and today is a particularly painful day.

ACHY MUSCLES called myalgias often result when the tissue surrounding the joints, the joint capsule, and the muscle fibers become inflamed. As a result of the pain the unused muscles become weak and lose their tone, contributing to more pain.

All these reasons tell you that’s it’s important to find a form of exercise that you can ‘stick with’ and build it into your daily routine. Some good exercises may be swimming, the elliptical trainer for some, walking or using a recumbent bicycle. Use of this equipment increases muscle strength to support joints and improve cardiovascular fitness and is generally low impact to protect joints. If you’re new to exercise, be sure to check with your doctor first. This might be a form of exercise that just keeps the joints ‘lubed’ and moving. I’m sure you can identify the aches that you get after 5 minutes of not-being active and compare them to those when you’ve been inactive for 2 hours (auto travel or watching a movie).

OTHER CAUSES of that annoying, make-you-cry pain, can be anything resulting from inflammation, arthritis, bursitis, osteoporosis, osteonecrosis and other conditions.  The causes of pain can be multi-faceted, it is important for your doctor to determine the cause of your pain before treating it.

Initially, salicylates (aspirin) and acetaminophen are tried for pain. But, most of the pain from lupus is from inflammation.  So, it only stands to reason that pain relief from lupus is aimed at decreasing inflammation with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like Aleve and Ibuprofen; still other people require more aggressive measures. Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs are used in some instances. We’ve mentioned NSAIDs; on occasion steroid dose-packs (short bursts of steroids) or triamcinolone (injection-an IM injection of a steroid).

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6 Replies to “A Bad Day-Lupus and Pain”

    1. I know dog diarrhea can be treated by a small amount of pumpkin-not “Libby’s pumpkin pie filling” but just the pumpkin. I don’t know HOW MUCH. But, this should be tried, I’d think only after a vet has said that there is NO intestinal parasite causing the diarrhea and ruled out other causes.

      I just think I’d be real hesitant to give human meds to my dog. There’s the size thing, but I’d die if I gave Bella something that did harm to her. Just my thoughts. I think I’d clear things with the vet, first.

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