Undiagnosed pain

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/26/2009 11:08 AM (GMT -6)   
I am a 62-year-old male. For about 2 years, I have had permanently numb toes on my left foot. The problem has now spread to my right foot. I am unable to get health insurance (uninsurable), but do have VA coverage. The VA has given me a battery of blood tests and sent me to a neurologist for CT scans, MRI, xrays and nerve conduction studies. The neurologist says that I probably have peripheral neuropathy brought on by a herniated disc that I had about 35 years ago. I accepted this until, about 2 months ago, both feet got swollen up to my ankles so that I could not wear shoes. Along with the swollen feet, the joints in my hands became so painful that I could not grip a cup of coffee in the morning. Now I never know where the pain will spread until I wake up each morning. I have had joint pain in both wrists and both shoulders. The VA blood tests show nothing other than borderline low red blood cell count. The swelling in my feet went away in about 2 weeks and has not come back. Occasionally, I wake up still with swelling in my knuckles in addition to the joint pain. The newest symptom (for about a week now) is that I will wake up in the middle of the night or in the morning with numbness in the fingers of both hands. Numbness goes away after sitting on the side of the bed and letting both arms hang down. The VA has me on salsalate and tramadol. I don't think I could get through the day without my tramadol. Does anyone have any ideas?

Forum Moderator

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 6931
   Posted 8/26/2009 11:41 AM (GMT -6)   
You didn't mention what kind of dr you have been seeing. I would recommend that you see a rhuematologist - those are usually the folks who diagnose joint pain and sometimes numbness.

However, you mention sitting up relieves numbness - so that might be something for a GP or cardiologist to look at.

Generally, even if they've run out of places to look months or years ago -- that may have little to do with something that could have developed in the last couple of weeks. Maybe check your blood pressure in a drugstore?

Hope this helps a little,
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator
Life is far too important to be taken seriously. - Oscar Wilde, 1882

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/26/2009 12:35 PM (GMT -6)   
I would very much like to go to a rheumatologist and have tried, but have found that I am pretty much "persona non grata" to most doctors because I have no insurance and have not been able to get any since I was 47 and had a heart attack. I have been on atenalol, lisinopril and simvastatin to control blood pressure and cholestrol. Blood pressure is now normal, and cholestrol at acceptable levels.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 122
   Posted 8/27/2009 10:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey dwc47,
Welcome!!  Just read your post and was wondering if you have every been checked for carpal tunnel syndrome.  I started symptoms in the hands just like that a year ago before the onset of my first real flare up in March.  I went and had a nerve conduction test done and was diagnosed with CTS.  I regularly see an orthopaedist specializing in the hands and he has given me cortisone injections in the hands or fingers to help with the swelling in the joints of the knuckles brought on by the CTS.  He works with my rhuematologist to keep my symptoms under control for my hands while I get the systemic part of my disease under control.  It has been a godsend, let me tell you!! The joint swelling in the knuckles was really starting to get to me.  I'm doing much better and all my blood work-up is coming back with very positive numbers as far as the problems I have with lupus.  My sed rates have dropped big time and I am now back to doing many of the daily activities I did a year ago when I was first diagnosed.  Hope you find an answer soon.
Good Luck,
DX - lupus and carpal tunnel syndrome
RX - prednisone, plaquenil, folic acid, lisiniprol, anti-inflammatories, fish oil, flaxseed oil and daily vitamins

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2386
   Posted 8/29/2009 12:34 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi, And Welcome Sir. It is with great honour to have a military personell here, for defending our freedom. I lost a loved one in Iraq from an IED explosion, both him and his "son" (K-9 partner) passed.
Anyhow, back to your questions. I have a some medical training, and numerous medical problems myself. I not only agree to see a rheumy but also will tell you things that may be unforseen. Not only it could be autoimmune disease (numerous) but also: rheumatory arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromylogia, diabetes complications but much more. Please, start going to the VA and saying you want 2nd opions, as much as it takes to get someone to listen. If that does not work, you can simply write a note saying "Next time you see me it will be on my tombstone and when you do remember I told you so"
Yea I am a smarty hehe

Now get to doctors and I expect HOOOA out of you :p
Smurfy Shadow/Desirèe 
DX: Wegener's Disease, Migraines, Diabetese Type II, PCOS, Lactose Intolerant, Benign Heart Murmer, Depression, Asthma, Asperger's Syndrome, Necrotizing Gramultous Inflamation in eye, A.D.D., Acid Reflux, Tumor Behind the Eye, Carpal Tunnel, Fibromyolgia, Clasterphobic, Arthritis
Medications:  Tri Nessa, Percocet, Metformin, Prilosec, Protonix, Zantac, Advair, Cingulair, Albuterol, Calcium + Vitamin D, Pro-Air, Pepcid, Rolaids, Zofran, Compuzeen, Refresh Plus Eye Drops  PRN: Epi-Pen, Albuterol Nebulizer, Benedryl
Undergoing Radiation Taking Lorazepam (Ativan) on Radiation Days

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