Most experts agree the best way to handle Raynaud’s is to avoid cold temperatures and stress. Such avoidance measures, obviously, are not always practical.
To date, there is no medication that eliminates Raynaud’s attacks, but there are some medications that decrease their severity or frequency. The standard medication offered severe Raynaud’s sufferers is in the family of calcium channel blockers. These drugs work to open or dilate the blood vessels so the blood circulates more freely. They are the same medications given to people with high blood pressure. Topical antibiotics or nitroglycerin paste or patches may be prescribed to protect against infected skin ulcers. If your blood pressure is already low, you may not be a candidate for some of these treatments. These medications can cause side effects such as ankle swelling, light-headedness and headaches. As different brands and generic forms of these drugs are available, work closely with your doctor to determine what works best for your body. Should you choose to go on medication, be aware it does take time to see results.
Self-help, relaxation techniques, such as biofeedback and tai chi, work for some people to minimize the severity of Raynaud’s attacks. These methods require a great deal of practice and commitment to achieve real results. They won’t be effective for everyone, particularly for more severe secondary Raynaud’s sufferers.
Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that generates a strong flow of internal energy (chi) throughout the body. Being aware of this internal energy allows one to direct more heat to the body extremities. The practice of tai chi can help to calm the mind, relax the body and improve your health.
A regular exercise regimen helps to increase blood supply to body tissues. Some people claim to have success with natural and holistic remedies, but these have not been verified as effective for everyone. Be sure to make your doctor aware if you are taking, or plan to use, any such supplements, as they may interact with other medications or have negative side effects.
The importance of receiving medical help when ulcers are present cannot be overemphasized. Untreated ulcers could become infected or cause permanent blood vessel damage. In the most severe instances, surgery or amputation of fingertips or toes may be necessary.