Worried I might also have RA

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 6/26/2007 2:33 PM (GMT -7)   
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in February 2007.  My rheumatologist told me he ruled out Lupus and related diseases as the x-rays of my hands and feet showed NO degeneration and stood firm on his FM diagnosis. 
I had abnormal levels for my CRP and my ESR which told him there was inflammation somewhere but it didn't change his diagnosis.  My bloodwork also showed that I was anemic. 
A couple of weeks after my last visit, I started having short-lived bouts of inflammation of my right index finger, my left and right thumbs, and my right knee, though not at the same time.  They would swell, become very painful and then go back to normal after a couple of days.  While inflammed flexibility was down to almost none.  If it was my knee, I was unable to walk until the inflammation was gone. 
I started on Celebrex four weeks ago and that has stopped the problems with my right knee.  It still flares, gets sore, but does not swell and go out of commission like before.
However, my fingers are compeltely unaffected by the Celebrex and continue to flare up, swell up, and lock up to where I can neither straighten them or completely close my hand.
The only thing "symetrical" is that both thumbs do this but not at the same time. It's always one item per flare.
I notice only the pain and swelling but no redness or heat at any of these above-mentioned locations during a flare. 
I called my rheumatologist for an appointment, but they want to see me immediately at the on-set of a flare like I mentioned above, which scares me a bit at their urgency.  The nurse started to tell me what it sounded like to her, but then she stopped herself and said she "shouldn't" diagnose over the phone without the doc seeing it.
Now I'm terrified.  Does this sound like RA or something else?  Maybe another weird symptom of the fibromyalgia?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3148
   Posted 6/26/2007 3:45 PM (GMT -7)   
hi & welcome to healingwell!  i am sure you will get a vast amount of info & support here.  and by writing...you're working things out in your head, so this whole process of diagnoses may be easier & make more sense the more you here about others paths.
true, the nurse was wrong to say ANYTHING over the phone to you...either good or bad, it's not her area to even go there.
with fibro...it seems more and more that anything goes.  what you describe may or may not be fibro related.  many people with FMS do have those symptoms...and what seems like it is joint related is actually muscle/tendon/tissue related.
did your doc run any labs for rheumatoid arthritis? like RF levels or anticcp?
in theory, RA is supposedly based on symmetrical jont pain, swelling, etc... BUT then you have to consider "overuse" for instance if you favor your right arm or are a leaner on one leg, etc...with that you're stressing the joints thus if it is RA, those joints would flare worse in comparison.
early in the condition...symptoms can be very scattered!  physicians look for ideal cases of textbook RA when most times it's not the case.
what will probably happen next is a repeat series of tests by the rheumatologist, and some further more in depth assessments.
with medications...the doc may have you go on a round of anti-inflammatories or meds specific for RA and see how you respond.  this also guides them to a proper diagnoses.
so what you basically have stated is that there is pain and swelling in some joints. i could be Fibro, the start of osteo arthritis or it does turn out to be some sort of inflammatory arthitis OR... you're injuring them through work, exercise, sport, misuse etc...
it may take some time for a proper diagnosis to find out what's causing the joint pain and swelling.
hang in there.
Arthritis Forum Moderator & Co-Pilot
Active Severe Rheumatory Arthritis. AS. Crohns Disease. A.Chiari Malformation & right brain venous anomoly. Partial Complex Seizures (under control!). MVP & Tricuspid Valve Prolapse. Rheumatic heart & lung. Kidney Stones (oh joy). Previous Lymes Disease for 10 years.
Meds: Remicade infusions 600mg Q3weeks; Intra-articular knee injections; 6MP 50mgQD plus 75mg weekly; Mesalamine 4GramsQD; Prednisone 20mgQD; Entocort 9mgQD; Meclizine; Augmentin; Tigan 300mg; Reglan; LidoDerm; Diazepam 5mg; Rozerem 8mg; Diclofenac; Celebrex; Percogesic; Dilaudid 4mg. 

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