Pain Management and Scleroderma

Author: Janey Willis. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer.
Video Introduction
Pain and Relationships
Pain and Scleroderma
Exercise and Arthritis
Managing Pain
Pain Treatments
Pet Therapy
Research on Pain
Personal Stories

Video Introduction

Pain Management in Scleroderma Video
Video: Pain Management in Scleroderma

Presented by Amanda Thorpe
*More Sclero Videos*

Many people with scleroderma suffer from chronic pain. In order to maintain an acceptable quality of life it is important to learn how to manage the pain.

You need to acknowledge to yourself and to others that you are in pain and that you need help managing it. There's no shame in this and admitting it doesn't mean you're weak or a complainer. It means you've taken the first step towards finding ways to manage it.

Pain relievers and prescription drugs are a common treatment for pain and in some cases necessary in order to get some level of relief but managing pain long term requires lifestyle changes such as reducing stress, improving your sleep patterns and working with physical therapists.

If you suffer from chronic pain, please see your doctor and/or a pain management specialist. They will work with you to find the source of your pain and ways to manage it. It may take a while, but when you suffer from chronic pain, you already know there's no quick, easy remedy and that any relief is welcome relief.


Pain can be an acute pain that comes on suddenly and goes away quickly. Pain can also be a chronic pain that comes on slowly and persists for months and even years. Many people with scleroderma suffer from chronic pain; therefore, in order to maintain an acceptable quality of life it is important to learn how to manage the pain.

Pain relievers and prescription drugs are a common treatment for pain, and, in some cases, necessary in order to get some level of relief. However, managing pain goes beyond medication. Managing pain requires lifestyle changes such as reducing stress, learning how to relax, improving your sleep patterns, eating better, working with physical therapists, and getting more exercise.

If you suffer from chronic pain, please see your primary care physician and a pain management specialist. They will work with you to find the source of your pain and ways to manage it. It may take a while, but when you suffer from chronic pain, you already know that any relief is welcome relief.

Pain and Relationships

How Chronic Pain and Illness Can Impact Your Relationship (Includes Video). Millions are forced to deal with illness and chronic pain — and the huge impact it has on their relationships. Here are five ways to safeguard your bond. Everyday Health. 05/18/12. (Also see Marriage/Health)

Pain and Scleroderma

Sleep disturbances in systemic sclerosis (SSc): evidence for the role of gastrointestinal symptoms, pain and pruritus. Gastrointestinal symptoms, pain and pruritus were associated with sleep disturbance in SSc. Additional research is needed on sleep in SSc so that well-informed sleep interventions can be developed and tested. PubMed, Rheumatology, 2013 Jun 25. (Also see Sleep Disorders and Scleroderma, Gastrointestinal Involvement, and Scleroderma Skin Involvement: Itching)

Pain Perspective in Scleroderma. The role of the nurse practitioner/physician assistant is integral in assessing the various components of disability and pain experienced by the scleroderma patient. Susan L. Williams Judge, MN, ARNP. The Rheumatologist, July 2011. (Also see Physician/Patient Relations)

Exercise and Arthritis

Half of adults do NO exercise AT ALL. Being fit and healthy is not ‘an integral part of people's lives’ and almost half of adults admit to doing ‘no exercise whatsoever’, a new study has revealed. Mail Online, 08/14/2015.

A Better Treatment for Alzheimer’s: Exercise. Exercise can prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and now research shows it works as a great therapy, as well. NBC News, 07/23/2015.

Get Up! Sitting Less Can Add Years to Your Life. Sitting for more than three hours a day can cut two years off a person's life expectancy, even if he or she exercises regularly. Watching TV for more than two hours a day can shorten life expectancy even further, by another 1.4 years. Time Healthland. 07/10/12.

Video: Yoga for Scleroderma. Scleroderma is a disease that affects the cardiovascular and the pulmonary systems. Learn about yoga for scleroderma with help from a certified Ashtanga Yoga instructor in this free video clip. eHow.

Managing Pain

Prescription Painkiller Addiction: 7 Myths. Where is the line between appropriate use and addiction to prescription pain medicines? And how can patients stay on the right side of that line, without suffering needlessly? WebMD.

A feasibility study of transdermal buprenorphine(TDB) versus transdermal fentanyl (TDF) in the long-term management of persistent non-cancer pain. Twenty percent more patients in the TDB group benefited significantly in symptoms of depression from TDB compared with the TDF group. PubMed, Pain Med, 2013 Jan;14(1):75-83.

Opioid pharmacotherapy for chronic noncancer pain: the american experience. Currently the United States must confront the dual problems of widespread undertreated chronic noncancer pain and a prescription opioid abuse crisis. Korean J Pain, 2013 Jan;26(1):3-13.

Informed consent in opioid therapy: a potential obligation and opportunity. This article examines the principles, process, and content of informed consent for opioid therapy of pain in the context of opiod therapy agreements (OTAs). J Pain Symptom Manage, 2012 Jul;44(1):105-16.

Controlling pain and reducing misuse of opioids: ethical considerations. The obligation to provide pain relief needs to be balanced with an equally important responsibility not to expose patients to risk of addiction and not to create opportunities for drug diversion. Can Fam Physician, 2012 Apr;58(4):381-5.

Concurrent use of alcohol and sedatives among persons prescribed chronic opioid therapy: prevalence and risk factors. Chronic opioid therapy (COT) requires close monitoring, regardless of substance use disorder history. J Pain, 2012 Mar;13(3):266-75.

In pain? Try meditation You don't have to be a Buddhist monk to experience the health benefits of meditation. According to a new study, even a brief crash course in meditative techniques can sharply reduce a person's sensitivity to pain. Ann Harding, CNN Health, April 5, 2011.

Pain Management Guide. Day-to-day life can be a battle when you've got chronic pain. With these tips, the good days will outnumber the bad days—and quality of life will win. WebMD.

Pain Management: Living with Chronic Pain. The ideal treatment for chronic pain is a comprehensive approach that addresses a person's physical, emotional, and cognitive needs. Successful treatment requires choosing a life-long plan of wellness that may include physician services, physical therapy, psychological counseling and occupational theraphy. WebMD.

Pain Treatments

Fighting Chronic Pain. New treatments are in the pipeline, but what works best now? AARP.

Potential applications of marijuana and cannabinoids in medicine. Substances affecting cannabinoid receptors may show beneficial effects, but they may also cause the risk of side effects related mainly to the inhibition of central nervous system. PubMed, Pol Merkur Lekarski, 2014 Oct;37(220):248-52.

Pain in rheumatoid arthritis: a critical review. The management of pain requires various approaches that include pharmacological analgesia and biological and non-biological treatments and although joint replacement surgery can significantly improve RA-related pain, it may only be available to patients with the most severe advanced disease. PubMed, Reumatismo, 2014 Jun 6;66(1):18-27. (Also see Rheumatoid Arthritis)

Pet Therapy

Pet Therapy: Huggable Healthcare Workers. The dog can be a distraction to the pain that a patient feels, and also to the rigor or the monotony of the therapy. It provides comfort for those who respond to animals. It also is a method to improve movement, to improve speech, and cognitive functioning. Discovery Health. (Also see Coping Strategies)

Pet Therapy. Studies have shown that physical contact with a pet can lower high blood pressure, and improve survival rates for heart attack victims. There is also evidence that petting an animal can cause endorphins to be released. Endorphins are chemicals in the body that suppress the pain response. HealthLine. (Also see Coping Strategies)

14 diseases you can get from your pets. Although the numerous health benefits of pets far outweigh the risks, it can’t hurt to know what diseases to watch out for. Mother Nature Network, 10/01/2015. (Also see Coping Strategies)

What infections can animals pass to people? Animals can pass many infections to people, although this route of infection is rare. The medical name for these infections is zoonoses. NHS Choices, 04/20/2015. (Also see Coping Strategies)

Research on Pain

What injured squid can teach us about irritability and pain. A new study involving injured squid and hungry sea bass may help explain why we are so grumpy and irritable when we are in pain. Los Angeles Times, 05/08/2014.

Personal Stories

Betty M: CREST Syndrome I was in so much pain for so long that I tried to take my own life. This only ended me up in a mental institution where I was given shock treatments that wiped out my whole memory...

Carol C: CREST Syndrome Scleroderma and Raynaud's have not robbed me of a fulfilling career...

Denise: Systemic Sclerosis and CREST. It all started when I was sixteen years old. I was having awful pains in my hands and feet...

Kelli: Morphea Scleroderma I am a twenty-six-year-old, married, mother of two girls in Texas. I was diagnosed with Morphea in the first grade...

Nettie: Systemic Scleroderma with CREST. Up until now I have done very well at pretending not to be ill...

Terry: CREST I was told that I have CREST by a doctor who saw me in a Workman's Compensation case...

Go to Quality of Life with Scleroderma

SCLERO.ORG is the world leader for trustworthy research, support, education and awareness for scleroderma and related illnesses, such as pulmonary hypertension. We are a service of the nonprofit International Scleroderma Network (ISN), which is a 501(c)(3) U.S.-based public charitable foundation, established in 2002. Meet Our Team, Volunteer, or Donate.

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
7455 France Ave So #266
Edina, MN 55435-4702 USA

Email [email protected] to request our Welcome email, or to report or update any page content or links.

Toll Free US/Canada Scleroderma Hotline: 800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is!
Copyright 1998-2015, International Scleroderma Network. AKA Scleroderma from A to Z and SCLERO.ORG. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright 1998-2015, International Scleroderma Network. AKA Scleroderma from A to Z and SCLERO.ORG. All Rights Reserved.