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Benefits of Physical Therapy for Lupus Patients

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) is a chronic, autoimmune inflammatory disease that can affect almost any organ system in the body. It most often develops in women during their childbearing years. Currently, there is no cure for lupus, but treatment can reduce symptoms. These frequently occur in a cycle of flare-ups and remissions. Because sunlight can cause symptoms to flare, limiting sun exposure by wearing sunscreen or exercising indoors is essential. Lupus symptoms of joint pain, joint stiffness and fatigue often cause people to reduce their daily activities or stop exercising altogether, which can make symptoms worse.

A supervised exercise program of gentle flexibility, strength and endurance training benefits many people with lupus, especially when combined with heat modalities.

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Appropriate exercises can:

  • - improve range of motion and reduce joint stiffness
  • - strengthen tendons, ligaments and muscles to stabilize joints
  • - help maintain strong bones and avoid the osteoporosis often caused by drugs commonly prescribed to treat inflammation caused by lupus
  • - improve or maintain cardiac health because heart disease is the leading cause of death in people with lupus
  • - reduce the tendency to gain weight because extra pounds put more stress on inflamed joints
  • - improve sleep patterns, mood and general outlook on life by releasing endorphins and decreasing stress

Because lupus must be approached on an individual basis and exercising with lupus is not without risk, we can design a program of exercises appropriate to your level of fitness and pain after consulting with your physician. When symptoms flare, physical therapists can help you engage in the correct amount of exercise and suggest alternatives to endurance and strengthening exercises that can aggravate swollen joints. T

he good news is that, despite the many ups and downs of lupus, early intervention can keep it at bay and make the condition more manageable.

Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus, NJ provides orthopedic and sports physical therapy services for the greater Paramus, Ridgewood, and Bergen County region.  This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. The views expressed here are the author’s views and should be taken as suggestions. Always consult your physician before engaging in a physical therapy or rehabilitative regimen.

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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