Did you know that autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, among others, carry with them the risk for neurological symptoms or comorbidities? It’s true. Sometimes these types of chronic illnesses can LITERALLY be in your head … and the rest of the body, too.
Both Lupus and Rheumatoid (Autoimmune) Arthritis can have Neurological manifestations such as headaches, nerve pain, and more. One characteristic of Lupus that is not often discussed is a migraine-like syndrome simply called, Lupus Headaches. Some people with Lupus are even prone to Seizures. With RA, some folks get headaches from medication side effects and from the radiation of joint pain up through the neck. Both of these conditions — and many others — also cause inflammation that can cause muscles and tissues to press on nerves, causing neuropathy and other problems. Inflammation is a common cause for headaches and neurological problems — and is a common symptom of RA and SLE.
Some autoimmune conditions such as RA, SLE, Lyme, Sjogrens, Scleroderma, Myositis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, and others can affect the circulation and more, even at the cellular level, causing a wide array of symptoms and presentations that could vary from patient to patient, even if they are battling the same disease. (The same goes for Fibromyalgia which often has a neurological component.)
So, tell us: do you have any neurological involvement with your RA or Lupus? Headaches, seizures, nerve pain (also known as neuropathy) or overlapping neurological conditions? Please leave us a comment and share your story.
In the meantime, here is some further reading:
- Neurological Manifestations of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Children and Adults
- Lupus and the Nervous System
- Inflammatory Central Nervous System Involvement in Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Headaches
- The Fibro – Migraine Comorbidity
- Peripheral Neuropathy in Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Central Nervous System (CNS) Lupus & Seizures
- Association of Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
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