Living well with lupus

What are some non-medication ways to relieve pain?

Dealing with pain is probably the most common challenge for people with lupus. And, despite the fact that many pain relief medications exist, it can be very useful to know non-pharmacologic approaches to pain relief.

  • heat and/or cold applications
  • acupuncture
  • acupressure
  • biofeedback
  • chiropractic adjustments
  • progressive relaxation
  • meditation
  • self-hypnosis
  • guided imagery
  • focused breathing
  • low-impact yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • regular exercise
  • staying busy with work or volunteer activities
  • including play time in your day

Before you begin complementary or alternative treatments for pain or other symptoms, we recommend that you first discuss the treatments with your doctor. This is especially important if you plan on adding any herbal or nutrition supplements to your diet, as these could interact with your prescribed medications.

It also is possible that persistent pain has other causes. Chronic and often severe muscle pain is the main symptom of fibromyalgia (FM), a condition that affects about 30 percent of people with lupus. Although fibromyalgia is still not well understood, its diagnosis is based on widespread and often extreme pain and sensitivity at 18 “tender points.” These points occur on both sides of the body at the same time, in the areas of the neck, shoulders, chest, hips, knees, and elbows. If you believe that your pain is occurring particularly in these areas, talk to your doctor about FM.

Medically reviewed on July 20, 2013