How to Treat a Lupus Headache

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Many lupus patients suffer from headaches on a daily basis. These headaches are thought to be caused by abnormalities in the blood vessels that prevent the brain from receiving a continuous flow of blood. The symptoms and severity of a lupus headache can vary from patient to patient, but many people experience pulsing pain that increases with movement, severe pain that can linger for several days, and for some patients nausea and vomiting are a common complaint. Diagnosing and treating a lupus headache requires a visit to the patients doctor or rheumatologist so a plan can be discussed and implemented based on the severity of the patient's disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Over-the counter anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Antimalarial medications
  • Corticosteroid hormones
  • Regular dental and eye examinations
  • Exercise
  • Diet supplements
  • Mediation
  • Special diet
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Ask your doctor about taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Many of these drugs, such as Ibuprofen are available over the counter. Although these drugs are readily available without a prescription, lupus patients should only take NSAIDs while under a doctor's care.

  • Talk to your physician about antimalarial medications like Plaquenil. Originally used to treat malaria, these drugs have been found effective in the treatment of lupus headaches, as well as other lupus symptoms.

  • Treat your lupus headache by taking corticosteroid hormones like prednisone. These drugs work quickly to suppress inflammation in the body, which is a leading cause of headaches in lupus patients. Corticosteroids are normally taken by mouth, but can also be prescribed as creams that you apply to the skin, or in some cases, by injection.

  • Practice preventive health care. Lupus patients need to be diligent when it comes to dental care and eye exams. Many patients with lupus are prone to developing mouth infections and ulcers in the mouth, nose and throat which can lead to a lupus headache. Antimalarial and corticosteroids can cause eye problems in lupus patients that if left untreated can lead to headaches.

  • Try alternatives to staying healthy. Keeping the mind and spirit healthy is as important as keeping the body healthy. Many people with lupus find that alternative therapies such as exercise, diet supplements, meditation, special diets and maintaining a strong support system help to alleviate lupus headaches.

  • Conserve energy by setting limits on how you spend your time. Fatigue is a common complaint for the majority of lupus patients. Listening to your body's signals by resting or taking short naps during the day can help reduce the occurrence of lupus headaches.

Tips & Warnings

  • Talk to your physician before beginning any treatment.
  • Participate in lupus support groups.
  • Many antimalarial drugs can cause stomach problems and fluid retention.
  • Corticosteroids may cause increased appetite and weight gain.

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