There are many autoimmune diseases, in which the body attacks its own healthy tissues. Lupus is one of them. Chiropractic care may provide some relief.
What is Lupus?
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), is an autoimmune disorder that can affect many parts of the body, including the organs, skin, and joints. It is more common in women, aged between 10 and 50, but it can affect anyone, and the cause is unknown.1 Certain drugs, however, can cause lupus. When people have a “hypersensitivity reaction” to medications, it can trigger the body to attack its healthy tissue as well. This lupus is not as severe.2 The most common symptoms of lupus are joint pain, swelling, and arthritis, especially in the wrists, knees, fingers, and hands. Other symptoms of lupus can include hair loss, mouth sores, fatigue and fever, chest pain and malaise, sensitivity to sunlight, and the “butterfly rash over the cheeks and bridge of the nose”. The parts of the body most affected are the skin, lungs, heart, brain, and digestive tract. When “4 out of the 11 typical signs” are present, a doctor will diagnose lupus, and various tests will include listening to the chest, a nervous system exam, kidney biopsy, complete blood panel, urinalysis, and antibody tests, to name a few.3
There is no known cure for lupus. NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory drugs) can help with arthritis and pleurisy, an anti-malaria drug can work with skin issues and arthritis, and steroid creams assist with rashes. These medications carry risks and side effects. Steroids can compromise the immune system, for example. A more severe type of medication, cytotoxic, blocks cell growth, and their side effects are serious. Even with the symptom management, immunizations, and screening oneself from the sun, patients with lupus can still have blood clots, anemia, heart problems, pregnancy issues, and stroke.4 There are also “investigational treatments” for lupus, including the following: “Biologics, Hormones, Immunosuppressives (Immune Modulators), Monoclonal Antibodies, Organ Transplant Anti-Rejection Drugs, Stem Cell Transplantation and Topical Immunomodulators (TIMs) therapies”.5
Many complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) can be used to help people with lupus. Some options are biofeedback, yoga, meditation, and dietary changes. Other patients may use acupuncture, massage, supplements/herbs, and biofeedback.6 Chiropractic can also be beneficial. With chiropractic, patients can receive spinal manipulation, muscle relaxation, and vitamin therapy to reduce their symptoms. Flare-ups can be prevented. Chiropractors can suggest exercise and dietary changes. For those whose nervous system is greatly affected, spinal manipulations can reduce stress and “balance the nerves in the body”.7 There have been case studies demonstrating chiropractic benefits for lupus patients.8 Chiropractors can provide relief from the joint paint and subluxations associated with lupus.9