Pain can be one of the most challenging symptoms of scleroderma. Thickening of the skin can prevent patients from straightening their joints, leading to stiffness and pain.
Chronic pain can be difficult to manage, but it can be treated. Early management of symptoms can drastically improve quality of life and reduce your risk of developing depression.
What is it?
Pain assessments aim to evaluate the severity of your pain, to identify its source and identify how best you can manage it.
How is it performed?
Pain is difficult for a clinician to measure objectively, so is typically assessed by questionnaire. Your doctor may ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10 and how much it interferes with your daily activities.
Your answers may be used in conjunction with more quantitative assessments, such as tests of mobility or ultrasound assessments of skin thickening.
What do the results mean?
If your results indicate pain is affecting your daily life or getting worse, your doctor will discuss the options for treatment. There are various medications available, such as anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and analgesics to relieve pain.
Medications can be used in conjunction with other treatments including physical therapy and psychological therapies such as mindfulness.