Lupus Pain: The Signs And Symptoms Of Lupus

Dr. Tarrin P. Lupo, D.C.

lupus painPeople with lupus pain often have a characteristic malar ("butterfly") rash

One of the worst kinds of pain is lupus pain. My patients with lupus really suffer. A lot of people suffering with lupus band together online to form support groups because it helps them cope with all of the issues they live with.

Of course I usually get them at the end of the line after they tried everything else and are now chronically miserable.

Often patients come see me when they have tried the conventional methods of treatment, and are now so desperate that they begin digging deeper for answers.

The good news is I have been witness to patients who have driven their signs and symptoms of lupus into remission.

What Is The Disease Lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. It is sometimes called the "great pretender" because it is mixed up with so many other diseases it shares symptoms with. The disease is mainly diagnosed by its symptoms and a positive AntiNuclear Antibody (ANA test.) Specifically the Anti-dsDNA ANA test is the most accurate for diagnosing Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

Autoimmune means the body recognizes its own cells as the enemy and starts to attack its own tissues. The disease can attack just about any issue, including joints, skin, hair, and even organs. There are different kinds of lupus and they are named by what they affect. 

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)  This type attacks the body all over and is the worst variety to have. It can attack the kidney, skin, joints, brain, and blood. This is also the most common type of lupus and is known for its flare ups and lupus pain. One of the more deadly types attacks the kidneys. The kind that attacks the joints seems to cause some of the more extreme lupus pain. SLE is very reactive to food sensitivity and patients are recommend to follow a strict diet for lupus.
  • Drug induced Lupus (DIL)  Conventional medicine is still pretty stumped about why it starts, but most thinking is that there might be a genetic component. Usually all it takes is some sort of stress to the body to activate the gene and create antibodies. Common stressors are chronic ingestion of foods you are sensitive to, reactions to medications or vaccines, illness, or high-stress lifestyle. DIL is a good example of this concept. Patients will actually show up positive with an AntiNuclear Antibody (ANA test) after following a round of drugs and vaccines. Many folks also get some pretty rough oral health issues with DIL.
  • Neonatal Lupus  Mothers with lupus can have babies with lupus. Usually the symptoms go away after a few months, but the baby will have the ANA antibody in their blood. These children can trigger the antibody to become active by eating foods they are sensitive to, eating a refined high carbohydrate diet, high amounts of stress, medications, and vaccines.
  • Discoid (Cutaneous) Lupus  This form of lupus only affects the skin and is famous for the butterfly rash, called a malar rash. It's also called a wolf's mask in some circles as a nod to the Latin word for wolf (lupus.) Early doctors used to think the rash looked like a wolf's bite to the face and also believed a wolf bite could cause it. This is how the disease developed its name. This is the mildest type of lupus, but one in ten of these cases will develop into the more serious form of SLE. This rash can be found just about anywhere on the skin but favors the neck, scalp, and face. 

Video: Dr. Lupo Talks About Lupus Pain

The Signs And Symptoms Of Lupus

lupus painPeople with lupus often suffer from mouth ulcers and other oral problems
  • Lupus skin rash or "butterfly"/malar rash on the face
  • Mild to crippling joint pain symptoms
  • Raynaud's disease: red, white, and blue fingers & toes. They are hot sometimes and rapidly turn to ice cold
  • Hair loss from head
  • An excessively dry and itchy lupus skin rash 
  • Entire body feels inflamed and swollen 
  • Mouth ulcers and other oral problems
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Swelling around eyes and/or in legs
  • Random fevers that seems to come on and disappear quickly
  • Chest pain when inhaling hard
  • Swollen glands in the mouth, neck, armpits, and groin
  • Intolerance to bright lights and sunlight

Symptoms Of Lupus In Women

symptoms of lupus in womenThe symptoms of lupus in women present more drastically than their male counterparts

Although lupus pain affects both sexes, in my experience women seem to feel it more. I am not sure why this is and I am only speaking anecdotally, but it seems that the symptoms of lupus in women present more drastically than their male counterparts.

Of course, lupus presents more in women anyway. It usually becomes active in women within the age range of 15 to 44. These women are of childbearing age and the stress of pregnancy on the body can turn the antibody on. African American women are as much as three times more likely to have lupus.

It's estimated that 1 million people are affected by lupus in the USA; most of those are women.

Natural Remedies For Lupus Pain

First off, make sure you really have lupus and are not just Internet diagnosing yourself. Lupus can be confused with many other diseases.

Play it safe and get checked out by a professional who understands autoimmune diseases well. A conventional rheumatologist will probably give anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and pain killers. Unfortunately the side effects from long term use of these drugs can be pretty disastrous.

If you would like a natural way to manage your lupus pain, you will want to get checked by a holistic doctor who understands functional medicine.

The most important thing is to control your inflammation

anti-inflammatory dietYour first line of defense is to eat anti-inflammatory foods

Unchecked chronic inflammation is very damaging and deadly. A natural doctor will more than likely put you on a plant-based anti-inflammation diet for lupus.

Your first line of defense is to stop eating inflammatory foods (meat, dairy, animal-based oils, wheat) and your doctor might want to run a complete food sensitivity panel. A strict lupus diet will then be given for you to follow to prevent future flare-ups.

In my experience just a diet for lupus won't be enough. You can never get rid of the antibodies that cause lupus, but you can turn down their volume. The goal is to take away the inflammatory triggers so the antibodies will return to a dormant state and stop attacking your tissues.

A lupus diet really needs to include high quality anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals to work quickly. Usually supplements bought from the Internet or stores are not powerful enough to handle the extreme inflammation people with lupus pain have.

Find a functional medicine doctor in your area to help get you started on the road to healing and better health.

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