Lupus is a complex autoimmune disorder that can affect a number of different body parts, including the joints, skin and blood vessels. The condition involves the body’s own immune system attacking itself, which oftentimes leads to tissue damage and an inflammatory response. This chronic inflammation can lead to joint pain and arthritis in different parts of the body, which can make the condition hard to treat.
There is no known cure for the condition, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if you’re diagnosed with lupus. Physical therapy can work wonders for helping you reduce symptoms and control flare ups. In today’s blog, we explore how physical therapy can be beneficial for patients with lupus.
Physical Therapy For Lupus
For people with lupus, there are good days and there are bad days, but if you’re not actively working to have more good days than bad, odds are your condition is only going to get worse. Mild pain and discomfort can become major pain, dysfunction and range of motion limitations, so it’s important to fight back against lupus with a physical therapy program.
The overall goal of a physical therapy program will be to maintain and restore your musculoskeletal health. A PT program can help you do this by:
- Reducing pain
- Reducing inflammation
- Decrease stiffness
- Increase range of motion
- Improve flexibility
Your exact course of treatment will vary based on the location of your pain and how a physical therapist believes they can best target these areas. They’ll figure this out during your first appointment, which starts with a conversation about your health and your symptoms. From there, functional testing and range of motion exercises can help your physical therapist establish a baseline and determine the best course of treatment.
Aerobic Conditioning & Aqua Therapy
Aside from standard physical therapy exercises in the clinic and at home, two additional types of physical therapy that are often helpful for patients with lupus are aqua therapy and aerobic conditioning. Aqua therapy is beneficial because the water really helps to ease inflamed joints, and water’s natural resistance makes it easy for patients with soreness and range of motion limitations to develop muscles and joints with simple movements. Aerobic exercises are also recommended for patients with lupus because it has been shown to help improve lung capacity, combat feelings of fatigue and improve blood vessel function.
Finally, it’s also important to connect with a physical therapist if your condition is causing skin breakdown. Your physical therapist can help educate you on the best way to care for your skin lesions based on their location so that you don’t experience additional damage, as this can make life even more uncomfortable.
Lupus is a complex health condition that affects each patient differently, so you need to connect with a specialist who will give you the individualized time and attention to help treat your pain. We’ve done it for countless patients in the past, and we’d love to help you find a solution to your lupus. For more information, or to talk to a member of our physical therapy team, reach out to OrthoRehab Specialists today.