Joint pain is one of the most common symptoms of lupus. It can move between different joints or remain isolated to one or many joints at a time.
For me, the pain began in my right wrist. It would resolve and move to another joint a day later. As things quickly worsened, the pain remained and began affecting my wrists, finger and toe joints, and both knees.
This made it difficult to walk, carry anything, or use my hands at all.
My joints would get swollen, red, and hot to touch. The worst was after meals. They were so achy that even the slightest movement in bed would send me into tears.
I’m sure you can relate.
Today, I no longer experience lupus joint pain.
As many of you may know, my biggest saving grace was becoming gluten-free. Though this may sound difficult and unnecessary, it was hands down the best decision I’ve made. I am still gluten-free today and I am never going back.
Here are five tips you can try today to help alleviate your daily lupus joint pain:
1. Eliminate gluten: Try this for two to three weeks. Remove all gluten, breads, pastas, crackers and white and wheat flours from your diet and eat whole foods. You still can eat pasta, just buy a gluten-free brand. Trust me – you won’t be disappointed! You may see results in as soon as a week. If you are very motivated, cut out dairy as well. Switch to almond or hemp milk.
2. Take Omega 3 fatty acids: Fish oils are amazing for combating inflammation. Taking 2,000 – 3,000 mg per day with food is essential. Fish oils also will help with elevated cholesterol levels. I like Nordic Naturals and Barlean’s, which come in different tasty flavors. If you are vegan, you can use hemp oil in capsule form. You also can find a nice dose of Omega 3’s in walnuts, avocados, and coconut oil.
3. Bath salts: I cannot speak enough about self-care! Draw a nice warm bath, then add bath salts and maybe some lavender or rose oil. Bath salts are known to decrease inflammation, sooth pain, and relieve body aches.
Bath salts also help to not only draw toxins out of the body, but also replenish magnesium. They can help reduce your levels of adrenaline, which improves sleep and concentration.
4. Vitamin D3: I talk about this power-packed vitamin all the time because it is one of THE most critical vitamins for so many reasons! Most importantly for us, it modulates an over-active immune system. In other words, it quiets down your immunity, especially in autoimmune disorders, meaning less joint pain and inflammation.
Vitamin D3 also helps build bones. For those of us who have taken prednisone, we know that it robs the calcium right out of your bones and can lead to osteoporosis. Vitamin D3 can help prevent this. Most people are deficient in vitamin D3, especially in the winter. So bring on the 2,000-5,000 IU per day, depending on your blood levels, which need to be between 60-80 ng/ml.
5. Probiotics: These should be a staple in everyone’s diet. Not only do they help regulate digestion, but they also are great to take during any antibiotic therapy. With most autoimmune disorders, I look at the digestion very carefully. If someone is suffering from any gas, bloating, constipation, IBS, or diarrhea, they need probiotics.
Being on lots of powerful medications can create dysbiosis as well. Dysbiosis occurs with imbalances of the good versus bad bacteria in the gut. Having an imbalance leads to intestinal permeability, which can lead to joint pain. This permeability allows food particles and toxins through the tight junctions of the gut, creating an autoimmune response in the body.