Muscle aches are known as "myalgia". It is quite common for Lupus patients to suffer from muscle aches. Also, lupus patients suffer from inflammation of the muscles (Myositis). Many doctors attribute out muscle aches to Fibromyalgia (a condition that co-exists with lupus for many of us).
The most common is muscle aches as a result of inflammation (since the biggest culprit in Lupus is inflammation). In any condition where significant inflammation exists (“strep” throat, hepatitis, cancer, systemic inflammatory types of arthritis, acute heart attack, etc.), signs and symptoms consist of fevers, sweats, chills, fatigue, weight loss and all over muscle aches, pains and weakness. Lupus – being an inflammatory disease – may well have any of these problems, and so the "all-over" muscle aches and pains (myalgias) are merely a secondary part of the overall disease.
Secondly, in lupus patients with a significant component of arthritis, muscle atrophy (or wasting away) is often found, especially if the arthritis becomes chronic. It is human nature to protect or guard an area that hurts. When a joint hurts, we tend to favor that area and not use it as much. This may be either on a voluntary or a subconscious level, but the fact remains that it gets less use. This means that the muscle or joint gets smaller and weaker (atrophy) which causes them to ache and pain when they do get used. This is why a well-supervised exercise program is frequently prescribed for those of us with arthritic symptoms; that is, the exercises do not necessarily improve joint function but they certainly may help maintain good muscle tone, strength and function.
Now, chronic muscle inflammation may be present in lupus patients as part of an overlap syndrome with polymyositis all over muscle inflammation). Polymyositis can occur alone or as an overlap disease with Lupus, especially when the lupus presents with chronic inflammation.
Your doctor will need to determine the cause of your muscle complaints (myalgia or myositis) because the treatments may be different and will vary depending upon the severity and type of issue you are presenting. It is a good idea that you discuss your muscle problems with your doctor so that the cause can be determined and treatment can be started.
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