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Non Drug Pain Management Ideas: Coping with Lupus at night

By now, you have probably heard the expression,"Cold hands...warm heart." And for those of you with Lupus, it might just be more than that!  Raynaud's phenomenon, a painful vascular problem, is not unusual in people with Lupus disease.  If affected, the hands and other areas of the body (earlobes, for instance) experience circulatory changes due to stress or cold exposure.  Some ideas to combat the discomforts of Raynaud's include using insulated glasses when drinking cold drinks, or wearing gloves during colder weather to protect your hands from the elements. Gloves are also useful when you need to put food into/remove food from the freezer!

Diet is an important element of managing lupus, whether it is time for a snack or a meal. Eat plenty of
whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Lean meats are a good choice, but make an effort to include fish in your diet.  The omega-3 oils in some fish, such as salmon, help reduce inflammation and may be cardio-protective in people with Lupus for reasons not completely understood.  

After a day of work, the fatigue that is common with Lupus might interfere with social plans.  Going out after work, especially on Friday nights, might not be the best idea. This can be remedied by opting for going out on Saturday nights, after you've had a chance to rest a bit. Going out for Sunday brunch is another terrific option! Alcohol might also be an issue; it might be possible to have an occasional drink but it's always good to check with your doctor or pharmacist about how this may impact your particular situation.  Some drugs may be less effective in the presence of alcohol; serious drug interactions are also possible.

When it's time for bed,  a whole new set of challenges that may arise.  For one thing, intimacy may be an issue due to stress or anxiety, or lubrication problems. Regular exercise such as tai chi or yoga may help with this problem; personal lubricants are also an option, if needed.  The main thing here is to be open with your partner, and to find new ways to enjoy intimacy. A nice jacuzzi may be worth its weight in gold!

For sleep improvement, try to remove all sources of artificial light away from your bedroom. Cell phones, LED clocks, televisions and such can mess with your body clock, and thus affect your sleep cycle. Try to stay regular with your medications and dosing times; if you think a medication is causing problems falling asleep, talk to a health care professional about it. Sleep improvements could be a simple matter of changing the dosing time! If you have heartburn or GERD, which is common in Lupus, avoid drugs such as NSAID (ibuprofen, for example) which can irritate the stomach. Avoid foods that seem to aggravate this issue.  Elevate the head of your bed about 6 inches using blocks so that your head is higher than your feet while you're asleep; this helps keep stomach acid from travelling up the esophagus.

Sources: WebMD;Flickr;;Wikimedia


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