Lupus is a type of autoimmune condition resulting from the body’s immune system attacking healthy cells and tissues, leading to inflammation and damage to the affected tissue. Some of the symptoms of lupus include joint pain, skin rashes, and extreme tiredness. Lupus is often caused by genetics but can also be triggered by environmental factors e.g. smoking, sunlight, or hormonal changes occurring as part of pregnancy or puberty.
Patients suffering from lupus often complain about joint pain, muscle pain, and muscular inflammation. Joint and muscle pain are one of the first signs of lupus in patients. This pain often affects both sides of the body simultaneously, especially in joints located at the hands, fingers, wrists, and knees.The affected areas may look inflamed and feel warm as a result of the on-going inflammation in the region.
Lupus can also result in a condition known as Lupus Arthritis. This lupus arthritis is experienced by up to 95% of people suffering from lupus at some time in the course of the disease.This condition can cause stiffness, swelling, warmth, and tenderness in the affected joints. This condition usually affects joints located in the extremities and affects the two sides of the body at the same time e.g. toes, fingers, wrists, ankles etc. It may cause general stiffness in the early morning which slowly improves as the patient moves around throughout the day. Lupus arthritis is often temporary and eventually goes away without causing any serious permanent damage to the affected joint.
Lupus may also cause myalgia (pain in the muscle) and myositis (inflammation of the muscles). These may cause the patient to experience muscle pain and soreness, especially in theupper arms and legs. Lupus can also result in several other types of joint complications like osteonecrosis which is damage to the hip joint that results in the development of severe arthritis, growth of nodules in joints located in the hands and feet, rupture of tendons attached to joints and bones, and carpal tunnel syndrome.Patients suffering from lupus may develop deformities in their hands, similar to those seen in the hands of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.Lupus may also cause patients to experience pain in their hip region, especially when standing or engaging in physical activity.
Some easy ways to ease joint pain caused by lupus include:
1. Take a bath – Taking a bath in warm or hot water can help loosen your joints and make them easier to move around in.
2. Stay comfortable – If your lupus pain is acting up, take a break from whatever physical activity you are currently undergoing and rest. Avoid putting any weight on the affected body part to lower the pain and help you recover faster.
3. Use medication – If you are presently on any medication for the condition, you should go ahead and use them. This may include painkillers for the pain or medication which helps treat lupus directly. NSAIDs like aspirin are a good choice for lupus joint pain as it targets and prevents inflammation.