My mother who is 82 and in good health,her medications include zestril and zetia. Approximately a month ago her left hand thumb joint and wrist became swollen and starting aching. The pain persisted despite taking tylenol, she saw an orthopedist who diagnosed a flare-up of arthritis,pursuant to x-rays which had then invaded her right thumb as well. She was fitted with forms for the joint, she has also been going for hand therapy and acupuncture to relieve the pain. All of the prophylactic treatments afford temporary pain relief, and the swelling has subsided. She wakes up most mornings in tremendous pain still and her hands feel very stiff. The orthopedist indicated that if the treatment did not alleviate the symptoms that he would give her cortisone injections. Her primary physician and the orthopedist both refused to prescribe either anti-inflamitories or pain killers as they claim that both leave her more vulnerable to having accidental falls and risking more serious injury. I would like to see her get long term relief from the pain, so that she can enjoy all of the many activities that she likes to do, such as tai-chi, yoga, line-dancing and aerobics. She has limited her activiities,because she is afraid that they will exacerbate her pain and she just less enthusiastic because the pain she claims consumes her. She recently had blood work done which was good , her blood pressure is good and she is otherwise good health. About 11 years ago she had a double knee replacement surgery, which has proven very successful and allowed her to lead an active life, pain free with no complications, her surgeon sees her once a year and the knees are still in excellent shape. Should I take her to a rheumatologist for these symptoms, or should she continue the orthopedic route. Please advise.
As someone who suffers from 2 types of arthritis and wakes up every single morning with swollen, stiff and painful hands and fingers I would highly recommend a rheumatologist. When I first got sick I went to an orthopaedic who sent me directly to a rhuemy. Just my opinion! Cortisone is a lot stronger drug than an anti-inflammatory, can't hurt to get a second opinion. Best of luck to you and your Mom, I am 50 and she is a lot more active than me right now, God Bless her!
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