Tips for Dealing With Pain When You Have LEMS

Tips for Dealing With Pain When You Have LEMS
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Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) is a rare autoimmune disorder that affects the nerve cells controlling muscle movement. In addition to muscle weakness, fatigue, and eye problems, pain is a common symptom of LEMS. Here are some ways to help you cope.

What causes pain in LEMS?

In LEMS, the immune system mistakenly attacks nerve cell endings where they meet muscle cells. This impedes the transmission of electrical impulses from the nerve cells to the muscle cells. Over time, they waste away due to inactivity, causing pain.

Where does it hurt?

Arm and leg movements are affected in LEMS. People with the disorder may find it difficult to walk, get up from a chair, climb steps, or exit a car.

Although the levels of severity vary, LEMS patients commonly experience pain in their lower limbs, including the thighs, and in the lower back. Your muscles may ache and become tender. In some cases, simple exertion can cause this.

Pain treatments

Doctors usually address pain and improper gait — a person’s manner of walking — in LEMS after disease treatment starts. Therapies such as intravenous immunoglobulin can help block the immune system from attacking the nerve cells, which may help relieve pain.

Cannabidiol or CBD, which is derived directly from the hemp plant and can be used in many forms, also is thought to help with LEMS symptoms, including pain and fatigue. In addition to reducing inflammation, CBD may promote better sleep quality. This may be helpful for some patients, as people with chronic pain often experience sleep disruption. Speak with your physician about whether the treatment is right for you.

While more research is needed, physiotherapy may help strengthen muscles and improve patients’ range of motion. That, in turn, could help reduce pain. Discuss your exercise goals with a physiotherapist who can help you design a safe exercise routine.

In addition, over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help, sometimes in conjunction with prescribed treatments. NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium, which is known by the brand name Aleve. Discuss these options with your physician.

Meditation also has been shown to reduce the intensity of pain. One thought is that the practice decreases stress, which in turn may lessen pain.

Support

An effective support network can help you as you deal with pain. Not only can members encourage and motivate each other, but they also can share ideas about what worked, and what didn’t, for them.

 

Last updated: June 8, 2020

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Lambert-Eaton News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.
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Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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