Arthritis / Rheumatoid Arthritis Expert Forum
Negative, negative, negative...? Starting to feel hopeless.
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Negative, negative, negative...? Starting to feel hopeless.

I'll cut to the point. I've been in and out of doctors offices for the past five years trying to deal with a moderate to severe back and chest pain problem.

I'm a 22 year old female with a past history of stomach ulcers, and no other major health problems other than the one I am describing. I eat well, weigh around 120 pounds, keep reasonably active (no high impact activities) and would consider myself healthy.

My lower back pain is deep in the tissue, not restricted to joints, but not restricted outside of joints either. I can't sit in one position for more than 20 minutes without the pain becoming unbearable, and most nights I am unable to sleep without medication. Though the pain is mostly confined to my lower back and sacral area, when I am having a bad pain day, I can feel shooting pains going down towards my feet when walking. I have also had weeks at a time where the pain has progressed up into my chest, making it difficult to breath, as if I had broken a rib. Most days it is manageable with ibuprofen, but occasionally it is so bad I need my boyfriend to help me walk to the bathroom.

Ok, thats the physical, now to the medical:

I have had tests for rheumatoid factor, they came back negative
I am negative for the HLA B27 gene that is implicated in most spondyloarthopathies
I have had X-rays and bone scans (to check for signs of ankylosing spondylitis) that show nothing more than diffuse inflammation

I have tried amytryptyline, to little effect, diclofenac to little effect, physiotherapy to no perceived benefit, and am currently taking celecoxib, which is helping a little, but no more than ibuprofen would.

I have an appointment with a rheumatologist, but I live in Canada, so this isn't until December!

In the meantime, can anyone help me? I have kept my chin up about this for a long time, but it is starting to get to me.

Thanks very much for your time and any help you can give!

Melissa
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1083596_tn?1313398276
Dear Friend,
Many thanks for posting the question via my forum.
If the bone scan is showing diffuse inflammation, then you are having the pain of "Inflammatory Arthritis".
However since your HLA and RA factor has come negative, it can point toward sero-negative inflammatory arthritis, as 30% of the population has the same.
                               I would recommend you to get ASO titre as well as ESR as these 2 values are high, especially the latter one, in sero-negative state also.
Also to rule out RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis), Serum CCP test is the most vital one.

As far a the chest pain is concerned, i would suggest you to just eat the medicines as soon as the pain starts. This would prevent the pain from going up the body to the chest.
Generally if the cause of Sero-negative inflamatory arthritis is due to some auto-immune disease then proper medicines has to be started, to prevent the flaring up of the disease.
Also till that time, would suggest you to meet a good physiotherapist, in order to do some active physio, for preventing the joint stiffness as well as muscle atrophy.

Feel free to discuss more, in case of further queries.
Regards..

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