Arthralgia is joint pain, arthritis is joint inflammation. Joint
pain is the commonest symptom in SLE.
True swelling of the joints (arthritis) is only seen in about 40%
of lupus sufferers, with the commonest joints involved being the
fingers, wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, & shoulders. The spine
& hips aren't usually involved in lupus, if hip pain does occur,
it is more likely to be due to a condition called aseptic necrosis
(death of tissue without infection).
Lupus arthritis doesn't affect the spine or neck. Lupus arthritis
joint pain comes & goes, & there is often pain & stiffness
in the morning. Arthritis in lupus doesn't cause destruction to
the joint, as rheumatoid arthritis does. In people with lupus
arthritis, x-rays are usually normal.
It is normally treated with NSAIDs, & antimalarials (Plaquenil).
It is important to rest joints when inflamed & during flares.