joint pain without "real arthritis

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
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   Posted 3/13/2008 8:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Me again... when it rains it pours.  I have been having TERRIBLE pain in my hands. My knuckes hurt and it is hard to bend  them. I had a bone scan today ( for the  breast cancer) and I thought they would light up..  but no. Can you have joint pain with no "real" arthritis showing???
BTW... scan showed a lesion on my lesion... off to  ANOTHER MRI next week!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 900
   Posted 3/14/2008 2:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Good Luck, I hope you are feeling pain free very , very soon. I don't know if you can have joint pain without arthitis.....seems you have enough to handle all ready
Love and prayers,
50 yr.old retired RN,Crohn's D for last35 yrs..severe esophagitis, migraines,strictures,urethral stricture,depression,probable MS.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 219
   Posted 3/14/2008 2:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Are you taking a chemo called vincristine??? I know that gave my daughter horrible neuropathy in her hands in feet. Not sure what you are on but see if any of the drugs have neuropathy as a side effect. On the other hand, when she was off all her chemo she had bad pain as the nerve endings, which die off during chemo, started coming back. She just recently has been able to do more sports.

Good luck with everything!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 1010
   Posted 3/14/2008 5:14 AM (GMT -7)   

Yes you can have joint pain without damage to the bone (the kind that would show up on a bone scan. Some inflammation doesn't lead to deterioration of the joint, some does. I began having joint pain in 1993 after my first resection. When I finally had x-rays I expected there would be damage but there wasn't, so now i just put up with it. It usually is part of a flare up and settles along with my tummy.

30+ years living with Crohn's.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
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   Posted 3/14/2008 6:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the info

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2003
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   Posted 3/15/2008 7:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Prof, Sponyloarthropathy or Spomdylitis, is an inflammatory arthritis which is fairly comon in people with IBD. This usually begins with soft tissue inflammation in and around the joints which can cause considerable pain.

They began Dxing me with tendonitis and such when I was only 13. At 19, a biopsy of my knee turned up chronic synovitis. It took until I was 38 for anyone to call my joint problems SpA and that was only after I was finally Dx with Crohn's! I had my first bone scan shortly after that along with a ton of x-rays. My x-rays all revealed what appeared to be normal joints, but my mouth and ALL of my large joints lit up brightly for the bone scan.

So, yes, you can have joint pain without visible signs of damage. I'd recommend that you add a Rheumatologist to your list of specialists and a Pain Mgmt Doc if you don't already have one. As mentioned above, you should discuss the possibility of med side effects with your Oncologist too.

I hope you find relief soon.
Keah a.k.a. Wormy
 God helps those who help themselves.
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1195
   Posted 3/15/2008 8:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Just had a bone scan for the tests I needed for the breast cancer.. my joints in my fingers DO NOT light up... I am figuring if it doesn;t show on a test.. not there. Going to forget about it.. too much on my plate right now.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 92
   Posted 3/16/2008 12:47 AM (GMT -7)   
I had joint pain many years before any of my intestinal symptoms showed up. I've had my RF factor checked and it's come back fine.
Just before I had my scope and got my diagnosis I was going to go to the Dr to pursue treatment for my hip (my main problem) but once I found out I had Crohn's (along with the negative RF) I've decided that the Crohn's is likely why I'm having the pain. I'm waiting to see if my pain clears up with my flare. So far the hip pain has gotten better but I'm having problems with other joints now (go figure).
Dx: Crohn’s Ileitis as of 22/02/08
Rx: 4g Pentasa (2 pills 4 times per day)
9mg Budesonide (one capsule 3 times per day for the next 6 weeks)

Pre 22/02/08: 2.4g Asacol (discontinued due to Crohn's Diagnosis)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 3/16/2008 4:41 PM (GMT -7)   
The joint pain and stiffness can also be do to edima-generalized inflamation outside the joint-I have had this before as a side effect of medication I was on. Hope you feel better soon.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 3932
   Posted 3/16/2008 7:12 PM (GMT -7)   
CD arthritis often doesn't show on tests. Remember, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence! Medical test interpetation is much more subjective than one would want or believe.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
Total Posts : 598
   Posted 3/17/2008 3:16 PM (GMT -7)   

This all sounds so familiar, pain, no explanation, on and on.  I will be seeing the rheumatologist I saw several years ago about the foot pain I am having.  Right now they are reviewing my notes I guess to assess if I need this appt sooner or later.  They will be mailing me the appt date.  I'm curious to know if its going to be any different now that I have a probable diagnosis of crohn's. In 2003 the rheumatologist was sure I had IBD and kept questioning me about gi problems but I had none, just pain.


Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

10 years, many tests, 3 gi doctors, Pentasa 1000mg 3x day
diovan, simvastatin, sertraline, lyrica  

Elite Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 3/17/2008 4:08 PM (GMT -7)   
What's this bone scan you're all talking about? Is that an MRI? The bone density scan? Something else?
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1195
   Posted 3/17/2008 8:25 PM (GMT -7)   
I had to have a bone scan due do a new dx. of breast cancer..

Spoke to my GI tiday.. not doing grear so he upped my entoocrt to get my bowels in good shape for what ever surgery I may need. He is SOOOOOOO great! I wish you all had a Gi as compassionate as mine!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 7314
   Posted 3/18/2008 10:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Ivy, a bone scan is much different than a Bone Densitrometry. For this test, you get an injection of radioactive material which then attaches itself to your blood cells. These then make their way to areas where there is increased bone activitiy from repair, Thise is used to determine if fractures, tumors or arthritic damage is present. It can also show if there is inflammation in the bone.

I am still in the early stages of Spondylitis and dont' have any real damage to my bones yet. However, the constant inflammation in my joints has irreparrably damaged my tendons, ligaments and synovium. I'm awaiting approvals for MRIs on my ankles to determine how much soft tissue damage there is and if I have AVN (avascular necrosis) in my ankles. When we are done sorting those out, we'll be looking at my sore knees.

I've heard many, including Doctors, refer to the joint aches we suffer as "Crohn's Arthritis". Technically, there is no such thing. The closest you can get is Enteropathic Spondyloarthropathy and most of us would fallinto the criteria of one form of Spondyloarthropathy (SpA) or another, whether that be outright Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Enteropathic Spondylitis, Psoriatic Arthitis (Spondyloarthropathy), etc. In fact, most with any form of SpA will eventually develop AS.

Anyoen interested in reading more about these types of auto-immune, inflammatory arthritis can find some great info at SPONDYLITIS.ORG.
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