Chronic Pain in Autoimmune Diseases

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What in an Autoimmune Disease?

An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the body's own healthy tissue. This can happen in various parts of the body, leading to different symptoms depending on the specific disease. The exact cause of autoimmune diseases is not fully understood, but a combination of genetic and environmental factors is thought to play a role. Some common autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes. These diseases are characterized by chronic inflammation, which can cause pain, fatigue, and other symptoms.

Which Autoimmune Diseases Cause Chronic Pain?

Autoimmune diseases that can cause pain can include (but aren't limited to): 

  • Lyme disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Hashimotos thyroiditis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
  • Psoriasis
  • Vasculitis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Celiac disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Sjogren's syndrome
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Crohn's disease
  • Myasthenia gravis

What Does Pain in an Autoimmune Disease Look Like?

In an autoimmune disease, pain can manifest in various forms and can be classified as both acute and chronic. Acute pain can be caused by inflammation in a specific area, such as joint pain in rheumatoid arthritis or muscle pain in lupus. Chronic pain can be caused by ongoing inflammation and damage to the affected tissue. This can cause persistent discomfort, fatigue, and a decreased ability to perform daily activities. It can also be associated with other symptoms such as stiffness and difficulty moving the affected joints in rheumatoid arthritis or fatigue and headaches in multiple sclerosis.

In some autoimmune diseases, pain can also be neuropathic, which means it is caused by damage or dysfunction in the nervous system. This type of pain is often described as burning, tingling, or numbness and can be difficult to treat.

In summary, pain in autoimmune diseases can be caused by inflammation, damage to the affected tissue, or dysfunction in the nervous system. It can manifest as acute or chronic pain, and can be associated with other symptoms, depending on the specific autoimmune disease.

How Is Chronic Pain Managed with Autoimmune Disease Treated?

Chronic pain management in autoimmune diseases is a complex process that requires a multifaceted approach. Treatment plans are often tailored to the individual and their specific needs, as different people may respond differently to various therapies.

  • Analgesics, such as over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications, can help to reduce pain symptoms.
  • Counseling and therapy can help individuals cope with the emotional and psychological impact of living with chronic pain.
  • Relaxation and meditation techniques, such as yoga or mindfulness, can also be beneficial in managing pain.
  • Exercise and physical therapy can help to improve mobility, strength, and function in the affected joints or muscles.
  • Acupuncture and massage therapy can also be used to help relieve pain and improve overall well-being.

At Ananta Health, BioScan SRT testing is used to determine the root cause of the pain, which can help to create a personalized treatment plan that includes methods of traditional Chinese medicine, supplements and herbs, and lifestyle and dietary adjustments.

It is important to work closely with a healthcare professional to find the most effective treatment plan for managing chronic pain in autoimmune diseases. It is important to keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for another and that a combination of different treatments may be necessary to achieve the best possible outcome.

How Can Acupuncture Help Autoimmune Disease Pain?

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body called acupoints. It is believed that acupuncture works by stimulating the body's natural healing abilities and restoring balance to the body's energy or Qi.

In autoimmune diseases, acupuncture can help to reduce pain and inflammation by stimulating the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals in the body. It can also help to improve circulation, which can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing in the affected areas.

Acupuncture can also help to improve the function of the immune system, which is often compromised in autoimmune diseases. By regulating the immune system, acupuncture can help to reduce the severity and frequency of flare-ups and improve overall well-being.

It can also help to reduce fatigue, which is a common symptom of autoimmune diseases. Acupuncture can also help to reduce anxiety and depression, which can be associated with living with a chronic illness.

1 © 2022 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Autoimmune Disease Defined. Retrieved on September 22nd, 2022 from,-Asthma-Immunology-Glossary/Autoimmune-Disease-Defined.