Any kind of lump should be examined by a doctor.
Do you have a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis or some other autoimmune disorder? If so, it could be related to that, or to the injury when lifting, but in either case, you should have it checked out.
Thank you, I haven't been diagnosed yet, but I will go see my GP asap. I've read some stuff about RA, and truthfully it really scares the hell out of me! (i'm kind of a hypochondriac) Are there any ways to treat this without the use of medications? (lifestyle changes, etc.)
I hear you. You have reason to be concerned, but fear is your enemy. I've had it since age 5 and am now 53. Sure, there are certain things I can't do, but for the most part I've had a normal life - college, marriage, kids, etc.
RA is a real disease that needs real treatment. If you had cancer or diabetes, would you be asking the same question? No, you'd do whatever it took to survive. RA is no different. Left untreated, it can ruin your life. Studies have shown chronic, untreated inflammation can even have fatal consequences.
Not trying to scare you, but IMO, the consequences of going untreated are worse than the side effects of the meds. Of course, no one can force you to take a medication you don't want, not even a doctor. It's always your choice to swallow it, inject it, or not.
That's not to say that lifestyle changes don't help. They DO! Eating a healthy diet, staying as active as you can, maintaining a healthy mental outlook, even complementary therapies like energy healing, meditation, etc. are all vital. Many patients report an improvement in their symptoms by discovering their unique food triggers and staying away from those foods. Specific diets can help some patients, but not all. So it's definitely NOT a waste of time to explore lifestyle options.
However, a certain diet or supplement, while it may make you feel better, isn't going to stop the disease process itself. That's what the medications are designed to do - trick your immune system into laying down its arms and stop attacking healthy tissue.
You may hear horror stories about the meds, and indeed some people have difficulty with side effects. But in reality for every horror story you hear, there are just as many or more patients who have little to no problem with side effects, and are too busy going out and living their lives to share their success stories. :)
The first step to decide what's best for you is to get in to see a rheumatologist. Interview this person as you would an employee, and if at any time you feel the doc isn't treating you as a partner in your own treatment, find another doctor.
Hang in there!