Is It Important To Keep Joints And Muscles Healthy
Resting and protecting joints are very important, but exercise keeps the muscles, bones, and tendons that make up the joint as healthy and strong as possible. So avoid weight-bearing exercises if you have joint pain, but also look for ways to stay active, such as gentle yoga or walking 30 minutes daily. Keeping active helps to control weight, boost energy, and put you in a better mood. Do what you can during a flare, and try to exercise more as you start to feel better.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lupus
There are a wide variety of symptoms you might experience if you have lupus. Not everyone with lupus will have the same set of symptoms. Also, many of these symptoms overlap with what you could experience with other medical conditions. This is one of the difficulties in diagnosing someone with lupus.
The symptoms of lupus can be slow to develop. You may notice new symptoms over time. The severity of your symptoms can also change over time. Sometimes symptoms may barely be present , while other times they could flare up. A flare-up is when a symptom is suddenly more severe than before.
Symptoms of lupus can include:
Impacts Of Lupus Arthritis
The joint pain can come with swelling and heat. In fact, painful swollen joints are some of the first signs of lupus. Although temporary, when a person is in an increased disease state, the swollen and warm joints can significantly impact daily activity.
When experiencing joint pain from lupus, the main goal is to keep pain at an endurable and bearable level. Trying not to perform strenuous activityin some cases, no activity at allcan speed recovery time and just help with maintaining an overall sense of well-being.
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The Role Of Blood Tests
The results of a complete blood count can also be revealing, he adds: Its more common for lupus patients to have a low white blood cell count, low platelet count, and certain forms of anemia.
Rheumatologists also check for the presence of certain autoantibodies in the blood to help make their diagnosis. The most basic test is the antinuclear antibodies test. People with lupus are almost always positive for ANA however, people with RA sometimes test positive as well, as do some healthy people.
If you get a positive ANA result for lupus, your rheumatologist will then order additional autoantibody tests including anti-double stranded DNA, anti-Smith, and antiphospholipid tests that help confirm a diagnosis of lupus.
If RA is suspected, your doctor will order tests that are more relevant for RA. These include rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies, as well as tests that measure inflammation in the body, such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein .
Looking After Your Mental Health
Because of the pain, fatigue and disruption to life, lupus can cause anxiety and depression.
Its important to talk to someone you trust if youre feeling down or worried. This could be a friend, relative or a healthcare professional. Versus Arthritis has a helpline if youd like to speak to one of our trained advisors. Our helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm. Call free from the UK on 0800 5200 520.
Even if it doesnt affect the course of the condition, emotional stress can sometimes make lupus seem worse. Its not always easy, but there are things we can all do to help manage stresses in our life. For example you might want to try relaxation techniques such as meditation or mindfulness.
Your doctor may be able to refer you to a psychologist who can help with coping strategies.
Therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy may help. This is a talking therapy that can help you manage problems by changing the way you think and behave. Its most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.
Regular exercise can improve feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
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How Lupus Affects The Muscles Tendons And Joints
A healthy immune system helps your body fight off infection from viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means it causes the immune system to attack your own body tissue, such as your muscles, joints, and connective tissue. The damage from lupus can trigger pain and inflammation of these body tissues.
Pain and inflammation are common in people with lupus. More than 90 percent of people with the condition will feel joint pain at some point in their illness joint pain is the reason many go to the doctor in the first place. In fact, more than half of all people with lupus say that joint pain was their first symptom, according to the National Resource Center on Lupus.
About half of all people with lupus experience muscle pain and weakness, especially during flare-ups that make symptoms worse. Muscle pain and muscle inflammation of muscle groups can cause weakness and loss of muscle strength. These symptoms may be the result of inflammation , muscle atrophy ,
Treatment for these symptoms will vary according to their location and the underlying cause. To provide the best treatment possible, doctors will often refer patients with lupus to rheumatologists, who are physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the joints, muscles, tendons, bones, and other connective tissues. Rheumatologists can also determine the underlying causes of lupus symptoms.
What Are The Different Types Of Lupus
There are several different types of lupus. Systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common. Other types of lupus include:
- Cutaneous lupus erythematosus: This type of lupus affects the skin cutaneous is a term meaning skin. Individuals with cutaneous lupus erythematosus may experience skin issues like a sensitivity to the sun and rashes. Hair loss can also be a symptom of this condition.
- Drug-induced lupus: These cases of lupus are caused by certain medications. People with drug-induced lupus may have many of the same symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus, but its usually temporary. Often, this type of lupus goes away once you stop the medication thats causing it.
- Neonatal lupus: A rare type of lupus, neonatal lupus is a condition found in infants at birth. Children born with neonatal lupus have antibodies that were passed to them from their mother who either had lupus at the time of the pregnancy or may have the condition later in life. Not every baby born to a mother with lupus will have the disease.
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Who Is Affected By Lupus
Anyone can have lupus. It can happen to women, men, children and even newborns. Its much more commonly seen in women than men, with about 90% of diagnosed cases being women of reproductive age. Experts have a difficult time estimating how many people in the United States have lupus because it is difficult to diagnose. Lupus has a wide variety of symptoms that can also be signs of other medical conditions. Because of this, there may be people with lupus who go undiagnosed throughout their lives.
Lupus is also more prominent in certain ethnicities. African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American women are all more likely to develop the condition than Caucasian women.
Your risk of having lupus is also increased if you have a family member with lupus or another autoimmune disease.
Can I Get Pregnant If I Have Lupus
Women with lupus can get pregnant. However, there is a risk of poor pregnancy outcomes in people with lupus. If youre considering a future pregnancy, start talking to your healthcare provider several months in advance during a preconception appointment. Your provider may need to adjust your lupus medications to ensure that theyre safe for pregnancy.
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How Are Muscle Pain Tendon Pain And Muscle Weakness Treated
The treatments for muscle pain and weakness may vary depending on how what is causing your pain and how severe it is. Some of the first options your doctor may suggest for muscle weakness are:
- Physical therapy to regain muscle strength and function.
- Exercise to maintain muscle strength.
- Stopping or adjusting drugs that cause muscle pain or weakness.
Over-the-counter pain medicines such as NSAIDs are often used to relieve pain and inflammation but may have side effects, especially if taken in large doses. That is why it is a good idea to find other methods to control your pain. A variety of non-drug treatments may help relieve pain, including:2
- Moist heat for sore joints, such as a hot tub, sauna, moist heated towel, or a hot shower.
- Resting the muscle or tendon if the pain is caused by overuse.
- Meditation, self-hypnosis, low-impact yoga, or Tai Chi can help direct your attention away from the pain.
- Acupuncture or acupressure.
What Causes Muscle And Tendon Pain In People With Lupus
Inflammation is the most common reason for muscle aches and pains in people with lupus.
Sometimes the drugs used to treat lupus create the side effect of muscle weakness. Medicines that may cause this symptom to include steroids, statins, and the antimalarial hydroxychloroquine. You may need to stop or adjust the amount you take if your muscle weakness is drug-induced.
Tendonitis and bursitis may also occur in people with lupus. Tendonitis is an irritation of the fibers that attach muscles to bone. Bursitis is irritation of the bursa, the sac that holds fluid near the joint so that muscles, bones, and tendons move smoothly. People with lupus arthritis may experience both tendonitis and bursitis.
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Does Lupus Cause Back Pain
In medicine, itis not uncommon for two events to both be true, yet not related. This means thateach has a defined cause and that they are occurring together. However, they arein fact independent conditions. Here is an excellent example from a questionthat I was asked the other day by a viewer that involves illness in a patientwith lupus .
Here is my response: Lupus isan immune disease that can attack many internal organs and tissues. The classicparts of the skeleton that can be affected by the inflammation of lupus are theperipheral joints – the joints away from the spine, such as the small joints ofthe hands and feet, the wrists, knees, elbows, ankles, and shoulders. Lupus commonly causes arthritis in these joints. The spine is generallyspared from the inflammation of lupus.
How Is Lupus Arthritis Diagnosed
An x-ray of the painful joints will tell your doctor whether lupus inflammation has damaged your joints. Ultrasound and magnetic resonance are used less often to diagnose lupus arthritis. However, these tests seem to be more accurate in diagnosing people in the early stages of arthritis.4
Sometimes, your doctor may drain fluid from a swollen joint and have that fluid tested for signs of infection or antibodies.3
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Joint And Muscle Pain Treatments
The main treatment for both muscle and joint pain from lupus is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs â aka NSAIDs â such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.
Joint rest and physical therapy can ease pain caused by tendinitis and myalgia. If they donât work well, your doctor might prescribe a low dose of prednisone, a type of steroid. Myositis usually is treated with higher doses of steroids, and sometimes with medications called DMARDs .
Steroids can tame swelling and pain. They can have long-term side effects, though, so your doctor will balance out the need and dosage accordingly. They also should be used only to calm active flare-ups.
You might want to look into alternative treatments, too. For example, acupuncture, where tiny needles are placed just under the skin, can ease muscle pain. Check with your doctor first, though, to make sure a treatment would be a good fit for your body and any meds youâre taking. This includes if you want to try any herbal treatments or nutrition supplements such as fish oil.
Managing Joint And Muscle Pain On Your Own
Along with your doctorâs treatment recommendations, there are many ways to soothe lupus pain at home.
- Sleep. When you get tired and donât get enough rest, your pain can get worse. Set a regular schedule to make sure youâre getting your sleep.
- Bring the heat. It can be your best friend if you have lupus pain. You can press a warm towel on the painful area or take a long bath or shower.
- Switch up body positions that might trigger pain. Avoid sitting still for too long, like working at your desk or watching TV.
- Keep moving. Even just a few minutes a day can help loosen your joints and stretch your muscles. Be sure to check in with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new plan.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Try low-impact yoga, tai chi, or mindfulness meditation. They can help take your mind off pain and enjoy the present moment.
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Lupus Can Cause Kidney Problems
The presence of kidney-related symptoms can really set lupus from RA because the kidneys usually arent directly affected by RA. Signs of kidney involvement include swollen ankles and excessive bubbles in the urine.
In severe cases of lupus, the brain may also be affected, which can cause mental fogginess, confusion, memory loss, and even stroke.
Lupus Signs Symptoms And Co
Lupus affects everyone differently, but certain signs and symptoms are common. In addition, other conditions, such as fibromyalgia, occur commonly in people with lupus but are not directly due to disease activity. These co-occuring conditions are known to doctors as comorbidities. Several signs, symptoms, and comorbidites of lupus are detailed below.
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Dont Put Off Getting Treated For Any Type Of Hip Pain
Whether your hip pain is directly related to a chronic disease or not, you shouldnt live with discomfort for an extended period, especially when treatment options are available. The Advanced Spine and Pain team approaches hip pain with conservative treatments first, like rest, a course of physical therapy, and safe pain medication options.
Slightly more invasive but easy-to-tolerate are steroid injections that target your hip inflammation.
We also offer two innovative treatments that are quite successful in relieving hip pain by harnessing your bodys own healing abilities. Both are minimally invasive:
- Stem cell therapy uses your stem cells, which can transform themselves into other types of cells, to bolster healing wherever you need it. They can actually replace or repair compromised tissue.
- Platelet-rich plasma treatment involves extracting your own blood, reconstituting it into a concentrated healing serum heavy with platelets, and reinjecting it into your hip area. Platelets have extraordinary healing properties.
Finally, we may recommend hip replacement surgery. If this option will provide the best pain relief, we guide you through how to prepare for your procedure, the surgery itself, and your recovery.
Call the office closest to you to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians to discuss hip pain treatment options, or request one online.
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Living With Neck Pain From Lupus
As you can appreciate, there are valid possibilities for lupus causing neck pain. Neck pain from lupus can result from the inflammation caused by the ailment or due to the side effects of the lupus medicine. So, can lupus cause neck pain? Yes, it can. If you are suffering from lupus and especially experience neck pains alongside other lupus signs and symptoms, you should consult your doctor with the matter. Your Doctor may even recommend the likes of a heating pad, or massage therapy to help aid in the pain relief treatment.
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Research And New Developments
Versus Arthritis supports a wide range of projects that aim to prevent the onset of lupus, transform its treatment and ultimately find a cure.
New therapeutic approaches that target cells and molecules believed to be part of the cause of lupus are being used to help many patients. Further research studies should allow us to find out how these and other drugs can be used to the best effect.
Were currently funding research into many aspects of lupus, for example:
- A study, being carried out at University College London, is looking into the potential link between a lack of iron in the blood and fatigue in lupus patients. This could lead to the development of new treatments to combat fatigue.
- Research is investigating how messaging molecules influence the response produced by the body to rituximab. This could lead to new treatments.
- A pilot study is investigating if a medication called belimumab can be used to prevent relapses after rituximab therapy. This could eventually provide a new treatment option for lupus patients.
- Research is looking at why vascular disease often develops in people who have lupus. This could lead to the development of new drugs that could reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke in lupus patients.
- Research is helping us to understand how changes in a specific gene contribute to the risk of developing adult lupus, and which genetic factors lead to the development of lupus in children. This could help develop new treatments for children and adults.
What Can I Do To Prevent Lupus Flare
While lupus itself cant be prevented, you can make changes to your daily life to help avoid flare-ups of your symptoms. A few things to try can include:
- Avoiding sun exposure: For many with lupus, sun exposure can be an issue. Try avoiding going outside during peak hours when the sun is out, wearing protective clothing and wearing sunscreen.
- Staying in motion: Joint pain can make you want to sit down and rest, but doing low-impact exercises can actually help.
- Maintaining healthy habits: A few habits to keep in mind include making healthy choices when it comes to your food, getting plenty of sleep and cutting back on the stress in your life. There is also a strong link between lupus and heart disease. Make sure you are working with your healthcare team to reduce your risk of heart issues.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you are experiencing the symptoms of lupus, reach out to your healthcare provider. Lupus can take a long time to diagnose because of the wide range of symptoms and the way symptoms slowly build over time. Getting diagnosed is the first step to managing the condition and improving your quality of life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/19/2021.
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