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Using Heat and Massage To Treat Chronic Pain

Do you suffer from pain or chronic pain associated with Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, an Autoimmune Diseases?  Thousands of people do.  In this post I am going to share with you how I use heat and massage to help manage some of my symptoms.

I struggle with several medical conditions (including Lupus and Arthritis) and the following are remedies that I use myself and have found to bring me relief.  It is my hope that you will discover something in this post that you have not tried, and that you will experience relief from your painful symptoms.  And the best case scenario would be for you to feel that your overall quality of life is improved by implementing some or all of these remedies.

I believe wholeheartedly that God has allowed me to suffer in order to bring me closer to Him, to share what I'm learning, as well as to encourage others who may be walking a similar road to know that there is hope.
This post may also be of use to those of you who are trying to care for and/or support a loved one that is living with chronic pain.

No matter how or why you are suffering from chronic pain, the reality is that we have to find ways to cope with it.  Sometimes medicine is not the answer (e.g., it does not work, the side effects are not worth the benefits, you are allergic, or you just want to take a more natural approach to pain management). 

The following are two options that I have found to significantly help me with my chronic joint, muscle, and connective tissue pain that for me is caused by Lupus and Arthritis.

There are a few different ways that I use heat. The top three are listed below:

1.) Heating Pad - Sometimes I use a heating pad (I have the kind that has a thin foam insert that can be wet, rung out, and placed under the heating pad cover to provide a moist heat).  This is best for targeted heat therapy for one or more parts of the body.

2.) Heated Mattress Pad - I also have a heated mattress pad that goes over my mattress and under the bottom sheet.  I like this better than the standard heated blanket.  Two of my most difficult times in regard to my body/joint pain is at the end of the day when I'm first going to bed and laying flat and then again in the early mornings right after I wake up.  I often say that I feel like the Tin man (needing some oil in my joints so they start to work).  This heat helps to relax me and reducing body well as just keeping my warm.  I am very sensitive to cold temperatures and being cold increases my pain.  A nice feature that many of these heated mattress pads have is dual controls, one for each side of the bed. 

3.) Hot Bath/Hot Tub - A good soak in some hot water can go a long way in relieving my sore joints and connective tissue.  This also helps to relieve stress, which is proven to cause and/or exacerbate painful symptoms and flare ups.  If you can combine your soaking time with aroma therapy (using essential oils in the bath water), some candles (adding to the peaceful ambiance), and some soothing music...even better!  Of course if you are a Mom, the first thing you'll want to take care of is getting someone to watch the kids so that your bath time can be uninterrupted.  (I know, I know....but it's worth a try!)

Everyone is different regarding what they are comfortable with when it comes to massage.  For me I would never go to a massage therapist because my skin is so extremely sensitive that I fear the session would leave me in too much pain. 

On the other hand, I know many of you will be comfortable using a professional massage therapist,  which is great!  I would just suggest asking for someone who has experience with Lupus or Fibromyalgia clients. 

If you are like me, I've found that with some careful instruction you can work with a person that you know and trust (a friend, spouse, family member).  Just be sure to talk before you begin and have an agreement that if something starts to hurt that you will have a way of letting them know.  (You can talk about possible responses to that scenario before the massage begins so that you are prepared should that occur)  You can learn together what works and what doesn't.  For me, a certain area that is sore can be massaged and feel great and in an instant the feeling can change from good to painful.  I now know that for me, if this happens, I want to move to another area of my body.  I may or may not ask to return to that area before the massage is over, it really just depends on how long the pain remains.  It is sort of a trial and error process that gets better over time. 

Although this process can be a little tricky and take some practice and patience, I believe it is very much worth it.  Regular massage can greatly increase the quality of your life and minimize your painful symptoms.

I hope this information is helpful to those of you who know what it is like to live with an Autoimmune Disease, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, or Chronic Pain.

Sharing what works is a way we can help each other to succeed in living with chronic pain.  Do you have something that works for you?  I'd love to hear about it!

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