Basics for Better Living
When You Hurt, Apply Heat
- Moist heat soothes painful joints much better than dry heat.
- Soaking in a hot tub, sauna, jacuzzi or taking a hot shower is useful.
- Ice or cold applications, are advisable only for acute strains or injuries during the first 36 hours after injury.
General Conditioning Exercises
You can help prevent muscle atrophy, or wasting, and lower your risk for developing thin bones (osteoporosis) with these types of activities:
- low impact aerobics
However, if your joints are swollen or you have fibromyalgia, be careful before doing a lot of weight lifting, rowing, high impact aerobics, or engaging in tennis, bowling or golf.
If exercise tires you easily, pace yourself with frequent rest periods.
Consult A Rehabilitation Specialist
Physical therapists assist patients with:
- muscle strengthening programs
- gait training.
Occupational therapists help to:
- lower stresses to painful areas
- evaluate workstations (especially those with a computer) to ensure proper body mechanics
- recommend a variety of assistive devices.
Vocational rehabilitation counselors may train you for a job that:
- involves less sun exposure
- puts less emphasis on repetitive motions involving an inflamed hand or other parts of the body.
- Tobacco smoke contains an aromatic amine, hydrazine, which can cause flares of cutaneous lupus.
- Smoking worsens the symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon (fingers and/or toes turn blue or white when cold)
- Smoking impairs circulation to a greater extent in people with lupus than in otherwise healthy people.
Develop Preventive Coping Strategies
Don't Let The Weather "Psych You Out"
People with lupus are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure. If the weather goes from hot to cold or wet to dry, you might be a bit achier. This will pass. The best climate for lupus patients is one with the fewest changes in the barometer.