Easing Joint and Muscle Pain With Herbal Heating Pads

For many people, joint pain and stiffness are the first symptoms of lupus, or a sign that a flare is coming on. Joints in the hands, wrists and feet get stiff and painful to move, sometimes so much so that it is hard to get up from a chair or button a shirt. The shoulders, knees and ankles also get stiff sometimes. A doctor called a "rheumatologist" specializes in treating these achy joints ("arthralgias") as well as swollen and painful joints.

Why do people get pain and stiffness in their joints?
When there is inflammation (increased heat, swelling, and pain) throughout the body. Joint pain can be caused by many types of injuries or conditions. It may be linked to arthritis, bursitis, and muscle pain. No matter what causes it, joint pain can be very bothersome.

Is this pain and stiffness the same as arthritis?
No, since the bones and joints do not (usually) get damaged permanently, as they do with arthritis. But the pain and stiffness of lupus can still be very difficult to deal with, and some of the ways of handling arthritis work well for lupus.

Are muscles affected?
Two out of three people with lupus at some point complain of muscle aches. Often these aches are between the elbow and neck, or between the knee and the hip. While the aching can be intense, the muscle does not actually weaken, which is good. The muscle can also get inflamed (reddened, warm, swollen), although this is less common. A separate illness called fibromyalgia, which involves extreme muscle pain and tenderness at particular body points, sometimes happens at the same time as lupus.

How should pain and stiffness be treated?
Some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen, may lessen pain and inflammation. Some people get relief by putting heating pads on painful areas or taking warm showers and baths to lessen stiffness. Others feel better with cold packs. Find what works for you, but also always check with your doctor.

 

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