A 42 year old woman presented to the clinic with ongoing severe headaches. The client was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 15 years prior and has been managing the condition through medication and occasional remedial massage. A recent increase in severity and duration of symptoms such as fatigue, musculoskeletal pain and extreme headaches had resulted in the search for an alternative to her regular routine.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, SLE or Lupus is an autoimmune disease, where the body attempts to destroy its own immune cells. The disease causes the body to attack its own tissues, organs, skin and healthy cells resulting in illness, pain and inflammation.

Symptoms and severity differ from person to person, but commonly are represented by swelling and stiffness in joints, generalised muscle pain, chronic fatigue, fever, or a butterfly skin rash often occurring over the face and bridge of the nose.
Presentation is also dependant on which part of the body is mainly affected, these can include;

  • The Digestive tract- nausea and vomiting
  • Heart- arrhythmias
  • Lung- difficulty breathing/coughing up blood
  • Skin- rashes
  • Brain and nervous symptoms- headaches, seizures, anxiety
  • Kidney- swelling in legs and weight gain

Many studies support that Myotherapy can help many aspects associated with chronic fatigue disorders, by reducing connective tissue and muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances. Massage techniques used by Myotherapists can help with stress related anxiety associated with chronic illness like SLE, increase circulation and helps with relaxing the parasympathetic nervous system.

Changes to health and lifestyle are the key to reducing flare ups and symptoms, good nutrition, exercise and management of stress have been found to help support the immune system. Alternative therapies such as traditional Chinese medicine and Myotherapy have been found to help manage symptoms and reduce joint pain and fatigue associated with the disease. Increasing circulation can help with fatigue and exercise prescription can help support structures and strengthen the body to prevent injury.

It is common for patients with SLE to experience more sensitivity to muscle soreness during and after treatment, so a conservative approach was necessary for the first initial treatments. During our treatments we focused on myofascial release, superficial dry needle and gentle joint mobilisations to help reduce the tension around her neck. We designed a cervical strengthening program to increase stability and to reduce tension in larger neck muscles thought to be causing the headaches.
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The client is now coming to Elite Myotherapy on a regular basis to help manage the associated musculoskeletal symptoms of Lupus, her headaches are being managed through soft tissue therapy and exercise prescription and have reduce in severity and occurrence.
If you would like to know more please contact one of our Myotherapists for further information on how we can help reduce and help manage Chronic conditions such as Lupus.

Leah Rampling- Elite Myotherapist