Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Ouchies

For the past couple of weeks, I've had a bit of pain. The medications I take just aren't controlling it completely. It's not severe - just enough to be annoying.

So, when the drugs don't work, what can control the pain of lupus?

The first point of control is rest. Fatigue makes everything hurt more - everything hurting more makes it harder to sleep - not sleeping makes the pain worse.  It's important to catch this before the cycle starts. Any time there's any sign of either fatigue or pain starting, the most important thing to do is rest.  Exercise is great when things aren't hurting - it helps strengthen muscles to support the sore joints, and to keep the joints flexible. When everything hurts - exercise just makes it seem worse.

My rheumatologist gave me another very effective form of relief.  At the time I was in too much pain to sleep. He asked if I had a heated pool or spa. (This made me reflect, not for the first time, that specialists tend not to be in the same socio-economic group as their patients.) I told him I had a bathtub. He said that would do - have a long soak in a warm bath before bed.  I've upgraded since then - I've got one of those spa mats that you put in the bath - you know, the ones that air pumps through, making bubbles, the cheap imitation spa. A half hour in my "spa" with some mild bath oil to soothe itchy, dry skin and some epsom salts for aching joints, makes everything feel better for a while.

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