Help with muscle pain/weakness due to autoimmune disease, Dermatomyositis

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 24, 2012 at 12:14 AM

Three years ago I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease known as Dermatmyositis. More than 6 months ago I began a Paleo lifestyle thanks to Robb Wolf and company. I am happy to report that my body has healed remarkably; my digestion, weight, sleep and mental capacity are all better then they were before I was diagnosed and I can't imagine going back. All this being said, one of the things Dermatomyositis does is cause severe inflamation and atrophy of my muscles, which in turn causes pain and weekness. I'm currently doing physical therapy, but results are slow comiing. Does anyone have any Paleo advice for muscle pain or how to get my strength back for good? I'm hesitant of trying cross fit. Currently, I can only walk 0.5 miles, lift lbs and climb a few stairs with out muscle fatigue.

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on February 24, 2012
at 12:36 AM

Dermatomyositis is an autoimmune reaction to proteins in immature myoblasts. In other words, your muscles atrophy because (like most of your body) they're in a constant state of aging, breaking down, and regeneration...and some amount of the regenerated muscle is attacked by your immune system.

Therefore, you need to be cautious about engaging in intense muscle-building activity. I would continue to slowly push your limits, concentrating more on high-rep and endurance activities vs. low-rep strength training. (Something as intense as Crossfit is FAR AWAY in your future.)

Then, once you're at a level of strength more analogous to your average couch potato, e.g. you can walk a few miles and get up and down several stories' worth of stairs, you can start looking at heavier weight work.

In other words, keep doing your PT and keep pushing forward. Don't let yourself or your therapist stagnate -- but I'd be cautious about pushing yourself too hard too quickly, for fear of kicking the disease into gear again.


(Caveat as always: your body is your responsibility, and your decision to take my advice (or not) is your responsibility.)

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