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Lupus can be very painful, though pain varies among individual patients. More than 90 percent of people with lupus will experience joint and/or muscle pain at some time during the course of their illness. For many people, joint pain and stiffness are the first symptoms of lupus, and they may also be a sign that a flare is coming on. The most common sources of pain are headaches, joint pain and stiffness, and muscle pain, most commonly between the elbow and neck, or between the knee and the hip, though the muscles do not actually weaken. Joints in the hands, wrists and feet may get so stiff and painful that it becomes difficult to rise from a chair or tie shoe laces. The joint pain and stiffness is not the same as in arthritis, however, as lupus does not typically cause the joints to become damaged.
People with lupus may also suffer from fibromyalgia, which causes severe, chronic muscle pain and tenderness across several different “tender points” on the body. People with lupus can also have Inflammation of the pulmonary system, which causes the lungs to become inflamed with swelling that can also extend to lung blood vessels, and even the diaphragm. These can all lead to chest pain when you breathe in.