I originally posted this on the RA forum.....but basically all I know that I have , for sure, right now is chronic pain.....Where to start......well...in 2007 I slipped on ice at work, I did not fall but I twisted hard and weird and hurt my lower back. Long story short...I was dealing with workman's comp docs who could really care less and the only real diagnosis I got was a non-specific problem at L5-S1. I basically got released with no follow up after 2 months off work and was told it would get better on it's own. It never did and I was afraid of losing my job, and thinking that maybe it hurt because I had been off work for a while, so I kept it to myself and suffered through with vicodin. Well, the job fired me anyway and now 3 years later I am suffering worse! I have lower back pain all the time, when it is at the best it gets, it is still about a 3. I have pain that comes and goes in my hips, rear, thighs, knees, feet, neck, shoulders and head! I have nerve stuff going on all the time....it feels like I have spiders crawling all over my legs and muscle twitches. I am now on MS-contin and cymbalta. Prior to getting hurt, I worked double shifts as a waitress at a busy restaurant and worked as a finisher for a home builder where I was on my feet on concrete for ten hours a day! Now I can not stand for 1 hour....or sit or lay down without pain! So, this has been my life for 3+ years and then 2 weeks ago.....bam....got hit with something new!! It was a Thursday morning at around 2:30 am...I woke up hurting which is nothing really new but this was different! I also felt like I was running a very high fever. I put sweats on and crawled back under the blankets and I was shivering all over. This is very different for me because I usually get very hot when I sleep and I was freezing! I was able to go back to sleep but figured I was going to wake up very sick. I woke up again at 5:00 am and did not feel sick really, other then every single joint in my body hurt so bad I wanted to cry! I have only had actual "joint" pain on rare occasions. And I had a terrible earache! I figured it was the ear infection that caused the fever at 2:00 am, but I had no fever at that time. I tried putting peroxide in my ear but I got no results....it would not go into my ear. My wrists, hands and fingers hurt really bad and were swollen. My knees were killing me, my feet hurt and my neck and shoulders were so stiff. I also had a headache. The MS-contin was not touching any of this pain!! I finally decided to go to doc on Friday because the earache was unbearable and the joint pain and swelling was not improving either. I also had a weird lump on the top of my arm above my left wrist. When I got there the doc looked in my ear and said, to my surprise, "there is no infection, your ear isn't even slightly red." She discussed the possibility of TMJ and was a little worried about polymyalgia rhuematica. Because I do not have insurance right now, she decided the most cost efficient thing to do was a SED rate. I had not had one since 2006, when my rate was 11. Her concern at the time was the polymyalgia and she said if it was that my SED rate would be sky high. She gave me a steroid shot and some oral steroids and said let see what the SED rate shows. She called to tell me the SED rate was moderate, that it was 53, but she felt better about it not being polymyalgia. So I was told to take the steroids and we would go from there. Well it took about 3 days but I finally felt better.....well better from that and was just back to my "normal" other pain. Now I have tapered off and will take my last steroid today and I am scared to death!!! I am starting to get a little achy, the lump above my wrist is coming back and I just have a general sense of doom! Also, I forgot to say I have been totally exhausted. I don't sleep for long periods at a time because I hurt, but I feel like I could sleep all the time! I am looking for some answers because it seems like my doc was so concerned about the polymyalgia she was not looking for other things. My sister has belonged to this forum for a while....well the fibro and the migraine. I have spent a lot of time here reading, mostly in the chronic pain until this last episode then I came to the RA forum. Can some of you share what your flares are like, or your first flare that brought on your diagnosis. Also what is a "normal" SED rate for RA? I am just looking for some help.....thanks for reading! It is nice to have people who understand to vent to! Bless you all on your personal pain journeys!