Consider these 6 steps to reduce scleroderma symptoms:
1. Physical TherapyScleroderma causes, or can cause, stiff and painful joints. Physical therapy can help prevent the loss of joint motion, which can occur when your skin becomes taut. For example, exercises to increase range of motion include stretching fingers, hands, wrists and shoulders. Furthermore, squeezing putty can help improve grip strength. (2) Additionally, PT will help a patient with scleroderma to perform daily activities in such a way that it won’t put stress on their joints. And splints are used, as well, to prevent the loss of range of motion and contractures. This is when the muscles, tendons or tissues harden and result in deformed or rigid joints. (3)
2. Reduce Pain with ExerciseScleroderma causes, quit often, pain that interferes with socializing, though the amount of pain can vary from patient to patient. While an exercise program won’t work the same for everyone, it may be a beneficial scleroderma treatment method. Researchers shows that personalized exercise programs are most likely to support and encourage physical activity in patients with scleroderma. (4) Speak to your doctor before starting a new exercise regime.
3. Moisturize the SkinAs those who suffer from scleroderma symptoms often deal with dry skin, moisturizing can also be an effective scleroderma treatment. To cool inflamed skin, reduce itchiness and relieve pain all while adding much needed moisture to your skin, try a mixture of peppermint oil and coconut oil. Combine 1 to 2 drops of peppermint oil with half a teaspoon of coconut oil. Rub the mixture topically on the area in question. However, be sure to first test a small area to see how your skin will react to it. Furthermore, you can protect your skin by avoiding harsh household products. Examples of this include laundry detergent and cleaners. You should also avoid extremely hot showers and being in the sun for too long. In extreme cold temps, a humidifier can help.
4. Remove Triggers and Eat Foods That HealScleroderma causes, in some cases, malnutrition. In fact, malnutrition is common in about 30 percent of patients with scleroderma. Furthermore, in 5 to 10 patients, gastrointestinal disorders are the leading cause of death. Therefore, nutritional changes are needed as part of a scleroderma treatment plan. (5) As scleroderma is an autoimmune disease, you should avoid food triggers that cause an immune response and inflammation. Examples of this include refined carbohydrates, artificial ingredients, spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine. You may consider an elimination diet to see which foods in particular are a problem for you. While cutting out triggering foods, be sure to add healing foods to your diet.
Include such foods as:
- fresh vegetables, for example: asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, celery, cucumbers, leafy greens, mushrooms and squash berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, goji berries, raspberries and strawberries
- healthy fats, like avocados, coconut oil, coconut milk, grass-fed butter, olive oil and almond oil
- nuts and seeds, like almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, nut butter and seed butter
- spices and herbs, such as basil, cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, garlic, ginger, oregano, rosemary and turmeric