View Full Version : How to tell between Lupus and FMS flare

08-27-2007, 07:01 AM
:x I have so much pain again. My left foot feels as if someone stomped on it. Usual muscle weakness and pain. Joints are so stiff and painful, makes me want to scream. Fatigue worse than usual. Chest so tight, even in the pool (usually the pool relieves the pressure on chest and joints) gave no relief to chest and joints. Thats just the most problem-some symptoms.
I try to work or light exercise through them. Sometimes some relief, sometimes not. Normaly the pains pretty much equal on both sides. This time its more intense on the left. What does that mean, or is that normal?
I have a home day care to run, plus hubby, 3 kids, sister and her boyfriend staying here, and 5 pets. Not to whine, but I feel as if I can't take this anymore, or have the time to deal with this now (I know I have no choice). :( . Maybe if I can tell the difference, maybe I can find a way to get a hold on it. I can't get to doc (don't drive anyways), and don't take meds other than my cortrsone shot and naproxen anyways. Any advice, any at all I would appreciate it. Ideas, natural or even meds if necessary, I'll listen too.
Ashamed to admit I'm at my wits end. So many rely on me, mainly others children. Its so hard to keep smiling and acting as if everythings fine. The parents of my day care kids don't know anything of my health, I don't want them to think I can't take care of their kids.
How do you make it ease up? This is one of the longest flares I've had yet. It started a month ago, really heavy pain for a week with no relief or a break at all. Pressure on arms is making this typing so hard. I know from reading other post that this flare is not near as long as others. I'm just not use to this intense pressure and pain constantly. Help please, what to do?? :(

08-27-2007, 11:43 AM
I think we've discussed this before haven't we? It is very hard to distinguish between the pain and muscle sorness caused by Lupus or the pain and muscles soreness caused by Fibromyalgia. There are clinical differences, but those cannot always be discerned by us, physically.
Fibromyalgia, which is twice as common as rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus have one major thing in common. They are both common arthritic conditions. And, although they are viewed as legitimate conditions, there is no cure or known cause for fibromyalgia syndrome or for Lupus. During the onset of lupus, one major complaint of more than half of lupus patients is joint pain. People with fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis also suffer with joint pain. However, more than 90 percent of lupus patients feel joint or muscle also!
The major cause of joint pain in people with lupus is arthritis or inflammation of the joints. Some of the problems associated with arthritis include tenderness, fluid collection, pain in and around the joints and swelling. All of these are also symptoms which may be caused by fibromyalgia!
The best advice that I can give you is that you should make some important lifestyle changes and adopt a healthy diet.
Your diet will help to contribute to a healthy immune system, which is critical for people with fibromyalgia and lupus. Eating a well-balanced diet (some say 5-6 small meals throughout the day, instead of three big meals) may alleviate some of the uncomfortable symptoms.

It has been suggested that we choose a diet that is rich in vitamin C, a strong antioxidant that boosts the immune system to strengthen the body fighting fibromyalgia and lupus. Try eating foods rich in vitamin C such as green vegetables, citrus fruits and cantaloupes.
Also, choose whole grains and vegetable oils that provide the vitamin E. Vitamin E may help to slow down the symptoms of fibromyalgia and lupus, by strengthening body cells that fight infection. People with lupus and fibromyalgia who eat foods rich in vitamin E may have an added weapon against viruses and bacteria. Also, it is suggested that we eat food that include red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables including red and yellow peppers, pumpkins, carrots and tomatoes. Try to maintain a low fat diet, because too much fat may interfere with you body’s ability to ward off bacteria and free radicals. Try to review food labels and select items that have a low percentage of fat. Select lean meats and try to eat plenty of beans and legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables.
I know how difficult it can be to exercise, but please keep at it. While some people with fibromyalgia and Lupus complain that they feel too much pain to exercise, regular exercise has been shown to help with long-term pain relief as well as fatigue, and depression. A good exercise program, consistently followed, can help to relieve pain, strengthen connective tissue and increase your flexibility and the blood flow. Consistent and appropriate exercise also helps to guard against health problems such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Along with a healthy diet changes, a daily, appropriate exercise program is vital to easing some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia and Lupus. Many people here have said that yoga, Pilates and stretching helps them with pain relief.
There is not a single pain medication FDA-approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia and Lupus pain. Frequently Prescribed Medications for Fibromyalgia and Lupus Pain and other Symptoms are:
Tricyclic Anti-Depressants including:
Desyrel - Elavil- Pamelor - Sinequan - Benzodiazepines: anti-depressant and anti-anxiety)- Klonopin - Xanax -

Serotonin-Boosting Medications

Muscle Relaxants

Tylenol with codeine
Please be aware that most medications and pain medications are meant to treat the symptoms (there is no medication to cure these illnesses). Also, no single medication will alleviate all of your fibromyalgia and/or Lupus pain or their accompanying symptoms. All medications commonly prescribed for fibromyalgia and Lupus have some type of side effects.
Perhaps you can discuss some of these medications with you doctor to see which ones might work for you.
there are a number of non-pharmacological approaches to fibromyalgia and Lupus pain relief. Some people have combined several of the approaches for pain relief, such as biofeedback, hypnotherapy and acupuncture. Other options for fibromyalgia and Lupus pain relief ccould be physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, relaxation techniques and stress management. There is also the options of surgical intervention, acupuncture and acupressure, mechanical and electrical stimulation, psychotherapy and myofascial trigger point injections.
For some immediate relief, you can try heat packs to enhance flexibility, promote relaxation and to reduce muscle spasms. Also, cooling has been known to reduce inflammation and muscle spasms. It provides a local pain relief effect. Cold tends to be effective and many have had luck with quick (but temporary) relief.

I hope that I've helped you

Peace and Blessings

08-27-2007, 12:29 PM
Thanks for all the info, I'll keep at the exercise. Didn't know if it was helping or hurting. :oops: Come to think of it I think we have had this discussion before. I completely forgot, don't even remember what was said. I feel stupid, this seems to happen to me alot. People tell me I've done or said something before, but I don't remember at all. That is until a certain word can be said, then I'll remember. Sometimes all, sometimes a little. Sorry. Hopefully I won't do that again.

08-28-2007, 10:50 AM
This happens to me a lot too. If I'm going to post now (after several months...) I usually do a search of the board to make sure I haven't done it before. :oops:

I have FMS and Lupus as well. I talked to my rheumatologist and GP about telling the difference and they essentially said, "Does it matter?" The take home message was not to worry so much about which illness to attribute the pain to, but just treat the symptom. My GP actually said, FMS can be another symptom of SLE, so lets just call it Lupus. (He knows that I NEED to know which it is...LOL!) I treat the symptoms with pain medication and rest and exercise...

I know this doesn't help much, but the forgetfulness/brainfog/feeling like I'm losing intelligence daily does subside every once in awhile...so you have that to look forward to :wink:

08-28-2007, 02:48 PM
No worries about repeating questions. I will answer your questions, no matter how often you ask! As you've both pointed out, the "Brain Fog" is quite common to all of us. In a way, Librarian, I have to agree with your doctor. Since the symptoms are so similar, I try not to overthink which illness is causing which pain. I treat the pain as best as I can and do all that I can to take care of myself so as to avoid a flare-up!!

Peace and Blessings

08-29-2007, 08:53 AM
I was wondering because I was told you can work through FMS and get relief, but you can't really work through Lupus without causing more pain. Rest through Lupus, work through FMS. So thats why I was confused and afraid of causing more pain or damage. Thought that if I could tell the difference, I'd know how to handle it.

Thanks for understanding. :)

08-29-2007, 10:14 AM
I have heard the same thing about FM flares. But, I've been told that the relief is only temporary (maybe an hour or so) and then the pain and burning comes back. For me, I have found that to be very true. But, I continue to exercise anyway (with Lupus and FM) because exercise is good for both diseases and is good for us in general. When in a flare, I do very light exercising (like using a paddle board in the pool with swim fins - BTW, the cool water in the pool provides wonderful relief for the burning muscles; albeit temporary!), or walking around my house; from one end to the other ('cuz it is too hot to walk outdoors right now) for 10-20 minutes; or I do beginners Pilates for 30 minutes. I have found that, with regular exercise, I am able to take less medications to relieve my flares and my down times are less (like maybe 2-3 days as opposed to 7-8 days). Anyway, I feel that regular exercise is very important, regardless of which disease is causing you pain!

Best Of Luck
Peace and Blessings

08-29-2007, 10:25 AM
I have a similar regimen to Saysusie's. I exercise regularly with a personal trainer when I can. When I'm down, if I can get in (my husband will drive me), my personal trainer will help me do stretches instead of an actual workout. We take it VERY easy, but getting the blood flow to my joints, even though it can be painful during a stretch does seem to help a lot. She is very gentle and we have gotten to know each other well enough that she can see when to stop before I even get close to a point of saying something. When I'm really down, I rest. That is all I can do. Sometimes just walking to the bathroom or taking a cool bath is about the extent of my mustering :)

I've really found very little difference between the effects of exercise on either illness. I feel generally better when I exercise and if either type of flare is bad enough, I'm bedridden. I have not noticed any extensive increase in pain level from exercising with a full blown lupus flare...

I also highly recommend beginners yoga. I have noticed that the more flexible I can remain, the better I seem to feel and the fewer flares...

Unfortunately, both monsters are so different for each of their hosts that it is virtually impossible to say whether the things that work for me will work for you. Let us know what you try/find out though because I'm always up for information sharing and testing for my own benefit!

08-29-2007, 10:34 AM
So how do the 5-6 small meals per day help lupus?

08-30-2007, 10:41 AM
Thanks for the input, very helpful. I'll just keep at the execise either way and not worry which flare it is. All this time I tried to tell the difference so I could help myself. Glad to know there's no need for that anymore. :)
I do have a pool and a tredmil, so I'll just keep trying to use those every day. I did find out that eating animal fat (especially red meat) can inflame joints causing more pain. Took red meat out, replaced with fish. It did help relieve some of the pain. Just have to wait and wean the meat out of your system. You 2 have been a big help, thank you. :D