Let me say "Welcome" to both you and your Mom. She is very lucky to have you and you are a very special person
Is Judy your Mother's name? If so, what is your name?
There are several medical reasons for joint and muscle pain in Lupus. In fact, the joint and muscle pain of Lupus is experienced by over 90% of us who have Lupus. This type of pain is the major complaint of more than half of all SLE patients. The major cause of joint pain in SLE is inflammation of the joints, which is called arthritis. This inflammation causes pain, swelling, tenderness, and fluid retention. Several joints can be involved at one time and the joints farthest from the trunk of the body are affected most commonly, such as: fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, and toes.
Lupus arthritis is treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as: aspirin, salsalate (saliscylate), naproxen, ibuprofen, and indomethacin. When NSAIDs are not adequate to control the pain from arthritis, antimalarial agents such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) are often added. Corticosteroids (prednisone) are used when the joints remain swollen and painful despite other treatment. Immunosuppressive medications are also used for inflammatory arthritis as well as for other Lupus symptoms. These drugs include: cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, and methotrexate.
Lupus patients can also suffer from joint pain due to some of the other disorders that can co-exist with Lupus or complicate lupus symptoms. Some of those disorders are:
1) Fibromyalgia ( a chronic disorder. Its symptoms are: widespread pain in muscles and joints, fatigue, generalized weakness, and non-restful sleep, headache, changes in mood, difficulty in thinking and concentration, irritable bowel, and urinary urgency). Fibromyalgia is estimated to occur in up to 2 percent of the U.S. population. Fibromyalgia may exist with other conditions, including SLE and rheumatoid arthritis. Fibromyalgia is treated with NSAIDs and other agents to relieve pain.
2) Avascular necrosis of bone (also called aseptic necrosis or osteonecrosis). This is a weakening of the bone which causes tiny breaks, and eventually the bone surface collapses. The hips, shoulders, and knees are most commonly affected. The initial symptom of AVN is pain in these joints, especially upon movement and weight-bearing activities, such as:
walking, running, and lifting objects. This leads to stiffness, muscle spasm, and limited movement of the affected joint. Currently there is no effective medical treatment that can reverse this condition. NSAIDs and other medications are prescribed to relieve pain.
3) bursitis and tendonitis: A tendon is a strong ropelike structure made of tough fibers that attaches the muscle to bone. A bursa is a small sac containing a slippery fluid that is usually found near a joint and allows muscles, bones, and tendons to move easily. Irritation of a tendon (tendonitis) and a bursa (bursitis) are usually due to physical trauma or overuse of a joint. Pain, especially when the affected part is moved, is the major symptom of both conditions. Different areas of the body may be affected, but the most commonly affected areas are: the elbow (tennis elbow), the finger (trigger finger), and the shoulder.
People with Lupus can also develop myositis, this is an inflammation of the skeletal muscle and can cause weakness and loss of strength in the arms and legs. Corticosteroids (prednisone) are the drug of choice in the treatment of lupus myositis. Those few individuals who fail to respond adequately to steroids will be prescribed an immunosuppressive agent such as methotrexate or azathioprine.
You and your Mom will find that there will always be someone here who understands what she is going through, who has probably experienced it themselves or who knows how to find answers to her (and your) questions. Let your Mom know that we are here for her at any time and that we want her to know that she is not alone.
I wish you both the very best and, once again, WELCOME!
Peace and Blessings