Physical Therapy for Patients with Lupus

Help for Lupus Patients

Physical therapy is an important part of treating the symptoms of lupus. It offers an effective way of dealing with the disease that has multiple benefits that include:

Help for Lupus Patients

  • Pain relief
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improved mobility
  • Restores physical functionality
  • Strengthens bones, tendons and ligaments
  • Maintains cardiac function
  • Prevents weight gain
  • Improves sleep
  • Limits or prevents permanent disability

The physical therapist will test and measure a variety of functions before developing a customized treatment plan. He/she will examine motor function and range of motion, strength and muscle performance, respiration and posture, along with balance, coordination and endurance.

Physical Therapy for Patients with Lupus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease marked by inflammation in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue, along with bacteria and viruses. It affects all parts of the body, including skin, joints and organs. People with lupus go through cycles of remission and flare-ups in which symptoms worsen.

The disease is most often seen in women, but men and children can also have the condition. It's not contagious, but it does make individuals more susceptible to illnesses and infections. People can have lupus for a significant length of time without knowing and diagnosing the disease is difficult as it mimics other conditions.

Lupus affects all areas of the body, but takes a particular toll on the brain and central nervous system, blood vessels and blood, lungs, heart and kidneys. One early symptom for some patients is a "butterfly" rash that appears across the cheeks. No two cases act the same, but all patients report joint stiffness, swelling and pain.

Skin lesions may appear, along with headaches, confusion and memory loss. Chest pain, dry eyes and shortness of breath, along with fever and fatigue are common. Lupus patients experience whitening or bluing of the fingers and toes when they're exposed to cold temperatures and during stressful periods in their life.

There's no cure for lupus and some people seem to have a predisposition for developing the disease. The onset of the disease and symptoms thereafter can be triggered by a diverse range of factors ranging from medication to sunlight.

A Holistic Approach To Lupus

Help for Lupus Patients

Your physical therapy will have a holistic approach to mitigate the symptoms of your disease and work toward the prevention of disability. A specialized exercise program will be developed that speaks to your level of function, mobility, pain and fitness level.

Multiple methods are available that may include clinical Pilates, yoga and manual manipulation if you have difficulty participating in exercise on your own. Ultrasound and electrical stimulation may be employed to reduce swelling and relieve pain.

Aqua therapy is particularly beneficial and soothing for lupus. Water buoys the body, allowing you to move easier and with less resistance from gravity and weight. You'll feel approximately one-third lighter than your actual weight when supported by water, which can act as a form of mild resistance and endurance training for sore, painful and inflamed joints.

Therapeutic massage has a range of benefits for your lupus symptoms. It improves circulation, helps detoxify the body, and relieves pain. It's effective for relieving the stress of living with a chronic disease, while enhancing flexibility, range of motion and mobility.

The exercise program will help you feel less fatigued and improve the functioning of blood vessels. If your lupus symptoms are severe, your physical therapist can help with assistive aids for mobility ranging from canes and crutches to walkers, wheelchairs and motorized conveyances.

Your physical therapist has a wide array of therapies and treatments to ease your pain and address the many symptoms of lupus. Physical therapy provides a path to less pain, better mobility, and improved quality of life.

Getting Physical With Tech

The popular names of the injuries may change, but the established treatments of physical therapy can treat, correct and heal all the injuries that technology engenders. Physical therapy treatments are effective for:

  • Relieving pain
  • Aligning the spine and neck
  • Improving posture
  • Relaxing tensed muscles
  • Relieving pressure on the neurological system
  • Addressing migraines and TMJ pain
  • Avoiding surgery

The flashing lights and movements of video games can also produce seizures in those who are susceptible. It's known as photosensitive epilepsy and can occur when people are exposed to the flickering, bright lights and movement patterns of video games. Strobe lights at clubs and the lights of emergency vehicles can also trigger an episode.

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is occurring in people who use computers more than two hours per day, resulting in headaches, dry eyes and blurred vision. People who play video games designed to encourage people to exercise and dance are experiencing strains and sprains from the unaccustomed movements.

Physical Therapy and Technology Related Injury

Technology Related Injury | Neck Pain
Technology has provided new medical treatments, ways to communicate, and entertainment options, but it's also taking a toll on the bodies of those who use it. Squinting at small screens, selfie-induced tennis elbow, and sitting hunched over computer keyboards, tablets, and video game systems are just some of the ways in which people are causing injury to themselves.

An increasing number of people are seeking physical therapy to relieve pain, tension and injuries involving the neck, shoulder and back, along with stress-related conditions that include migraines and TMJ pain.

Problems with the spine, wrists and palms of the hand are common among those who spend an excessive amount of time playing video games, using computers and talking on cell phones. "Trigger thumb" is the result of tightly gripping video game controllers and smartphones.

Carpal tunnel and repetitive motion injuries are occurring in individuals who text (texting thumb), use keyboards, play video games and take a lot of selfies (selfie elbow). It causes injury to muscles, nerves and tendons that produce pain, tingling and numbness.

Individuals who spend a lot of time on their cellphones or who are sensitive to electromagnetic fields are experiencing tinnitus, a persistent ringing in the ear. On the opposite end of the spectrum are people who wear headphones to block out noise pollution, only to suffer injuries from walking into traffic.

Physical Therapy To The Rescue

Physical Therapy to the Rescue
One of the best ways you can pamper yourself is with a neck and spinal alignment. Your physical therapist will make adjustments that place the spine in the correct position to relieve pressure on soft tissues and the neurological system.

Exercise may seem counter-productive for a body that's already in pain, but your physical therapist can create a custom program of exercises that will help reduce the risk of injuries. If an injury has already occurred, your physical therapist can provide treatment to relieve pain and help you heal.

Heat, cryotherapies, electro-stimulation, and therapeutic massage are effective for reducing swelling, inflammation and pain from a wide range of tech-related injuries. Acupuncture and dry needling may also be employed and the therapies have the advantage of being equally applicable for multiple areas of the body.

If you find yourself tensing up while talking on the phone, playing video games, or using your computer or phone, you may be among the thousands of people that suffer from migraines and TMJ pain. Clenching the teeth places pressure on the jaw joint that can lead to pain and nerve impairment, conditions that can be remedied with physical therapy.

Your physical therapist can provide suggestions and recommendations on adaptive aids and ergonomic accommodations at home and work to mitigate the risk of injury and pain. If you're suffering with carpal tunnel syndrome, your therapist can relieve the pain or numbness and restore normal use of your hand, wrist and arm without the need for surgery.

Physical therapy is beneficial for helping reduce the risk of sustaining an injury from a tech-related source and healing any existing injury you may already have incurred. Technology is a fact of life, but there's no reason to live with the pain of using it when relief is so easily available.