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05-11-2006, 04:00 PM
Hi. My name is Tree and my younger sister (34) was diagnosed with Lupus about 1 yr ago. Our entire family is learning about this disease and we've been confronted with her severe joint pain. Her dr has prescribed Prenonsin (sp?) but it doesn't seem to be helping. Last night she couldn't sleep at all because of it. We tried soaking her hand in warm, then cold water, heat wraps but nothing helps. She cries out in pain and whimpers in pain. Are there any suggestions of things that could help her? Thank you so much.

05-12-2006, 08:41 AM
Hi Tree :lol:

Welcome to our family.
Prednisone is a corticosteroid and is given primarily for inflammation. Inflamation in lupus can cause swelling, warmth, tenderness and pain
in the muscles and the joints. Corticosteroid treatment usually relieves most symptoms promptly. However, sometimes for a faster effect, they are prescribed with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for musculoskeletal pain conditions such as arthritis and tendinitis, which also afflict people with lupus. Traditional NSAIDs are ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Naprosyn, Alleve), and piroxicam (Feldene).
There are side effects for both Prednisone and NSAIDs that you and your sister should learn about. I would suggest that she ask her doctor about treatments for pain relief. I have listed options below.

Here are some options for short-term pain relief:
Medications: People with Lupus who have pain caused by inflammation can often benefit from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as I mentioned before (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.

Heat and cold: The use of either heat or cold depends on the type of inflammation. Moist heat, such as a warm bath or shower, or dry heat, such as a heating pad, placed on the painful area of the joint for about 15 minutes may relieve the pain. An ice pack (or a bag of frozen vegetables) wrapped in a towel and placed on the sore area for about 15 minutes may help to reduce the swelling and pain. If you have poor circulation, do not use cold packs.

Joint Protection: Using a splint or a brace to allow joints to rest and protect them from injury can be helpful.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): A small device directs mild electric pulses to nerve endings that lie beneath the skin in the painful area. TENS seems to work by blocking pain messages to the brain and modifying pain perception.

Acupuncture: Thin needles are inserted at specific points on the body. Scientists believe that this stimulates the nervous system to release endogenous, pain-relieving chemicals. This procedure should only be preformed by a licensed acupuncturist.

Massage: A massage therapist will lightly stroke and/or knead the painful muscles. This may increase blood flow and bring warmth to a stressed area. Arthritic joints in Lupus are very sensitive, so the therapist should be familiar with this disease.

Lupus is a chronic disease that may last a lifetime. Learning how to manage pain over the long term is an important factor in controlling the disease and maintaining a good quality of life.

Here are the options for Long-Term Pain Relief:

Medications: NSAIDs are used to reduce pain and inflammation and may be used for both short-term and long-term relief. Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) are used to treat people who have not responded to NSAIDs. Some of these are methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine. These drugs are thought to influence and correct abnormalities of the immune system responsible for a disease like Lupus and RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis). Treatment with these medications requires careful monitoring by the physician to avoid side effects.

Corticosteroids are hormones that decrease inflammation and suppress the immune system. They may be given orally, topically, or injected. Prednisone is the most common oral corticosteroid. In both Lupus and RA, corticosteroids may be injected into the affected joint to stop pain. Because frequent injections may cause damage to the cartilage, they should only be done once or twice a year.

Exercise: Studies have shown that exercise helps people with Lupus in many ways. Exercise reduces joint pain and stiffness and increases flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance. It also helps with weight reduction, stress reduction, and contributes to an improved sense of well-being. Swimming or other water exercises, walking, low-impact aerobic exercises, range-of-motion exercises, and stretching are helpful. It is important to strike a balance between activity and making sure that she gets recuperative rest.

Nutrition: Eating a well balanced, low fat diet, in addition to appropriate exercises, is one way to reach or maintain a desired body weight. The benefits dont stop there. A nutritious diet helps to keep the immune system functioning properly and contributes to overall health. Additionally, some people appear to be sensitive to certain foods or diets; however, there is no single diet that will help large groups of people. Be cautious with any diet that recommends the elimination of large groups of foods or that relies on only a few select foods.

Surgery: In select patients, surgery may be necessary. The surgeon may perform an operation to remove the synovium (synovectomy), realign the joint (osteotomy), or replace the damaged joint with an artificial one. Total joint replacement has provided dramatic pain relief and improvement in motion for many people with arthritis.

I hope that this has been helpful to you.

Peace and Blessings

05-19-2006, 03:19 PM
Hi Tree,
I used to have pain as bad as what your sister is experiencing. It can get better. What has worked for me is MSM, which helps build cartilage. There is also a supplement called H.A. Joint Formula put out by a company called Purity Products that has worked for me. I started out taking 4 of each a day, and now take 1 of each a day, or two of each if I'm experiencing any joint pain. I checked with my doctor and she agreed that both products could be helpful for me. The H.A. stands for Hyaluronic Acid. It took a couple of months of continuous use before the results were apparent, but I wouldn't give either product up now!