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Raynauds part of Arthiritis & if not-how to manage
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by roachjeantte, May 09, 2011
Raynauds is not mentioned in any subject titles so I went under Arthritis. I have recently been diagnosed with Raynauds-Also Carpel tunnel. There seems to be some confusion among Drs as to what is going on. I had blood tests that came back negative for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. An Ortho Dr said there could be Sero-negative results. implying it could be hereditary. I have no family history of Raynauds and no one in immediate family has lupus or arthritis. I read that Raynauds can also be caused by constant repetitive motions such as being a cashier etc which is what I am. My primary Dr told me it was work related. With Raynauds, my fingers have gotten calloused from the constant hammering on keys and handing of cold products which have caused then to heal slowly like 3 months. I am now on temporary disability. Which is the correct Dr/specialist to see for this? Will I ever be able to return to the checkstand to be a cashier or look for other work? The callouses, hematoma (as my dr put it), under my nails, and numbness, pain tingling is sometimes pretty bad. If there are no underlying causes what do I do to help control this and is there a cure? Could it possibly be just a pinched nerve in my neck or back? Thank you kindly.  
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by carolaniveyBlank, May 10, 2011
Many autoimmune disorders seem to occur together, for example RA and fibromyalgia, RA and Sjogrens syndrome, Lupus and RA. It wouldn't surprise me if Raynaud's was occurring along with sero-neg RA.

It isn't at all uncommon to test negative and still have all the symptoms. A good rheumatologist will treat you based on your symptoms and not rely solely on blood test results. I have a strong family history of RA and was dx'ed at age 5. My grandmother had RA, and two uncles - one dx'ed as a child and the other after he retired. It can occur at any age.

RA can and does affect the spine (don't let any doctor tell you it doesn't), so there is a possibility that some of your symptoms could be due to a pinched nerve.

If you haven't seen a rheumatologist, ask for a referral. Good luck, hope you feel better soon!
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by carolaniveyBlank, May 10, 2011
I should have added that there is no known cure for RA and related auto immune disorders, but there are a number of medications and therapies that can help you manage the pain. Physical and occupational therapists can help you extend your working life as long as possible. Medical social workers can hook you up with services and job retraining, if necessary.
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by roachjeantte, May 19, 2011
Thank you for your insights.
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by mollyadelaide, May 21, 2011
Just thought I'd add that I have raynauds (and some other autoimmune disorder(s).) Raynauds alone does change your life/the way you do things... Or should at least. It is chronic. It doesn't go away. It can lead to ulcers or even worse. (I took care of a patient when I worked as a nurse who had developed gangrene in several fingertips from raynauds.)
I've found I cannot for instance wash my veggies in cold water. I absolutely must wear gloves (or mittens even better) in cold weather. Drops in temperature even subtle make me vulnerable so I dress in layers usually b/c keeping your core warm seems to help some imo. I sleep with socks on most of the time. I have found the least painful and most effective way to warm my hands or feet or even nose is skin to skin contact. Meaning I will put my hands (though so unpleasantly freezing) on my bare stomach or another warm area of my skin. In very bad episodes, I used to run my hands under warm water. Ugh so extremely painful, not the way to go. If I'm doing something and my fingers start to get cold (raynauds cold) I stop and I get them warm. That may sound obvious but just in case, please do take care. I get ulcers when I'm not super careful and once you have them they're harder to heal than to prevent. I took procardia (a calcium-channel blocker) for awhile which worked really well. But that was years ago. I think they still prescribe them for raynauds. I hope so b/c once I'm done having and nursing babies I may very well go back on it!
I hope you find healing! God bless.
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by roachjeantte, May 21, 2011
Thank you for your kind words and insight. I a, doing the same thing. Warming my hands on my bare skin. wearing gloves, and socks for my feet pretty much all the time and I live in San Diego, Ca. So far, haven't found any underlying disease  so I am just doing the best I can with the symptoms and triggers of Raynauds. I do have carpel tunnel. Dr is thinking of letting me go back to wkr, which means I will be on light duty with restrictions not using my hands so I will basically stand there greeting customers. With Gloves on!!! Sadly workers comp keeps disregarding the constant repetitive motions which can trigger Raynauds or in some cases cause it  with Carpel tunnel. They keep treating me only for Carpel tunnel. Here's hoping something gets done. God Bless you as well and thank you kindly for your response!
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by carolaniveyBlank, May 21, 2011
Interesting - I've been doing the same thing with my hands and feet that you describe! Somewhat less since I hit menopause and am hot most of the time, but definitely in the past, and mainly during the winter. There were some nights my feet would get cold and nothing would warm them up, even a heating pad. I figured it was part of my RA and never really considered Raynaud's!
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by mollyadelaide, May 21, 2011
Sounds suspicious! The thing is if you're doing all the preventative things you won't necessarily see the three color changes they talk about in order to diagnose. Mine have only gone through the white-blue-red when I was young and didn't pay attention and let it get bad.
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by roachjeantte, May 31, 2011
Molly,
What happened when it got bad?
Mine still do the white thing when I touch something cold. But mostly now they turn blue when exposed to cold like air conditioning.I work in a grocery store and will have to wear gloves even being just a greeter at the door. when it is warm outdoors.
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by mollyadelaide, May 31, 2011
I have the most problems in the fall or winter. (I have lived thusfar in the midwest. Moving to CA soon though!)
Yes one or more of my fingers or toes will turn white randomly when it's chilly. But the more severe times they turn blue straightaway and I lose feeling in them and I can't really move them. Then as they are warmed they become very bright red and very painful with a throbbing sensation. I think I'm decently good at handling pain, but when these episodes have happened they are so intense tears just stream down my face.
For the last several years even if I don't have a more intense episode like that I still seem to get the beginnings of ulcers or an actual ulcer if my hands or feet get cold very often. I have found it seems like if I'm very careful to always be aware of keeping them warm I don't have problems with the ulcers.
I hope returning to work goes well for you! If you feel silly ever or get a funny look just remind yourself you're saving your fingers and toes! :)