Hep C Aches and Pains - Some Tips to Reduce the Ache
Joint pain and muscle aches may be an autoimmune response from the body due to the hepatitis C virus.
What causes muscle aches and joint pain?
When this occurs, it indicates that the virus is having an effect on multiple areas of the body, not just the liver, as is typically assumed. This often means that the pain will subside or disappear when the virus is removed from the body after treatment; however, some people still experience aches and pains after being cured (especially those who treated with older treatment regimens).
How can I prevent them?
Sometimes, muscle aches can be caused by poor posture. For people with hepatitis C, there may be side effects of medication that result in feelings of exhaustion, lethargy, or even depression. These can cause a person to feel low energy and that can result in a lot of time being spent on the couch or lying in bed. In these cases, it is always wise to let a doctor know about these feelings so that medication can be adjusted as needed. However, during the time of experiencing these side effects, the body may want to spend much more time in reclined positions than is standard in one’s average day. It is important to be aware of these changes and to account for them.
Joint pain often occurs because parts of the body may be swelling due to edema, which can accompany chronic cases of hepatitis C. This can occur because the liver is struggling to process all of the fluids that enter the body through food and beverage consumption. When this occurs, joints can become bothered or inflamed by the extra fluid in the body. In addition, if a person is putting on weight, either due to depression, changes in appetite, or because edema is causing bloating, the body will then be putting additional pressures on each joint in order to support a heavier body mass. In order to combat this, let the doctor know if you are experiencing any swelling or weight gain so that changes can be made to your medication quickly. In addition, it is important to try to continue exercising within your regular daily schedule and to eat foods that are healthy and full of nutrients. This can help the body to maintain high energy levels even when the medication may be slowing you down. Nutrient-rich foods and lots of water can also make things easier on the liver, which may be struggling to process higher fat contents within dietary choices. Lastly, it can help to keep weight gain under control during the medication treatment process, which will help to minimize joint pressure and thus lower the likelihood of joint pain.
How can I reduce the ache
If you are struggling with muscle aches, it is important to try to focus in on which muscles are aching. It may be your shoulders or just one shoulder. It may be your arms or legs or perhaps the limbs on only one side of the body. By narrowing this down, it is easier to provide your doctor with information when you report this experience in the future. In addition, it can help you to figure out if you might be contributing to the pain. For example, if you are spending more time on the couch due to fatigue than you usually would, you may find that the muscles on one side of your body hurts and that those muscles correspond to the side you lie on. In this case, you may decide to reposition your furniture to be able to switch sides while lying down or you may decide to sit up instead.
Those experiencing joint pain should also try to narrow down the site of the pain on the body. This may help to figure out how to remove or limit the pain. If the pain is in the knees, for example, it may be wise to find an exercise method that is low-impact, like swimming or bike riding, rather than running. If the pain is in the fingers, it may be helpful to take regular typing breaks if you use the computer for work or send a lot of text messages on your phone.
In cases where your entire body is aching, check with your doctor to find out whether there a prescription or over the counter remedy that is recommended. You may also consider acupuncture or massage therapy as remedy options. Your insurance company may cover some of these choices, you can call the number on the back of your card to ask or visit their website to find out.1-4
What dietary changes have you made to better manage hep C symptoms? (Select all that apply)