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1693900 tn?1306296819

RA? Fibro? Injury? Feeling helpless now... HELP

I am going to lose my mind without help anymore. Here is my synopsis (shortened version) and any help is appreciated. 3mo ago I started having shoulder pain (as if slept on it wrong), I ignored it, but it didn't go away. I then started waking with stiff fingers that would not move with joints swollen. Then slowly wrist and forearm weakness. Every morning I wake with fingers aching. I went to Rheumatologist-xrays ok, blood tests ok-except one non-descript auto immune came back elevated. Then tests again and nothing. Sends me to ortho hand dr., he finds nothing, sends me to ortho shoulder-nothing, EMG nothing, MRI of neck only-nothing. Rheumatologist throws Cymbalta at me and now on that. Meloxicam didn't help, Tramadol doesn't help. One day I take Tramadol with .5 Ativan and my pain was relieved. I sleep on my sides, it feels like a tight wide rubber band holding my fingers and hand/joint pain during day like I punched someone and it's the next day. Wrists when squeezed shift/crack. Tonight pointer finger numb and shoulder burning again. HELP.
Could this be Rheumatoid? Shoulder injury pressing on nerve? EMG said no nerve compression. I don't think Fibro is generalized-we don't have pain one day for nothing! My body is telling me something. More stress aggrevates-but I type a lot at work and they said no carpal. I'm so lost. Any orthopedic doc that would actually feel my shoulder and press and move it and feel around? Isn't that normal?? Woke up this morning and pointer left finger is swollen and wont bend. Quickly took Meloxicam and Advil...
13 Responses
Avatar universal
Hello there...sorry to hear your frustrations...sounds like we are in the same boat :(
I am NOT a medical professional...but am very familiar with your aches and pains.
Are you taking Ativan or Advil ? Both will help, depending on you.
Do you drink plenty of water?
I couldn't tell if you already have been DX with Fibro?
When you had your blood work done...you stated an elevated auto immune signal.  Did they say it was your S.E.D. Rate?  When thats elevated...it means you are having inflammation in your body (pretty broad indication).
The auto immune signal could be the RA Factor (rheumatoid positivity). Ask the RA doc if thats the case. Will you be going back soon?
I have RA, Osteo, Fibro, Sjogrens...too many to elaborate...LOL  I am familiar with it all...YUK
What I have to assume you are experiencing Fibromyalgia.  There is pain for absolutely no reason. Some areas are far more sensitive than others, but it could be your jaws one day and your shins the next. Fibro is a nerve issue. Do you feel like a walking bruise? Are you "exhausted" all the time? Sleep patterns poor?
Ativan will help fibro, because its an opiate. Opiates work with the central nervous system, where anti inflammatories or muscle relaxers don't. Tramodol will help the pain associated with the inflammation (probably rheumatoid arthritis) in your body, i.e. wrist fingers and shoulders.  My RA doc will put me on steroids for a 10 or 15 day cycle, which also will help with inflammation.
Not knowing your age...its hard to guess if you have osteoarthritis too (the "older folk" crud)
I can't tell you what to do, but typing will affect shoulders, upper arms and neck, tremendously. I take my time when I type...not that often...
The fingers sound like rheumatoid...do your feet ever feel like you have pebbles in them as you walked?  If you have not already, make a return appt. with the rheumatologist.
Try soaking hands in really warm, soapy water, gently massage each finger and your hands.  A form of Acu Pressure I suppose.   Be sitting down while doing this, so your body can relax. Let your hands just float in the water too. If possible...include your wrists in the soak. If you feel like your hands got puffier in the warm water, rinse in cool water afterwards. Can do the same with your feet too.
Your shoulders sound like mine!  A warm, moist compress and RELAXING some where quiet.  Streching and rolling shoulders front and back will loosen them up a little.
You type all day, you deserve to get a massage...a GENTLE one. Ask your boss to promote a 10 minute per typist massage day!  
I will let you ponder this info...try a couple suggestions...let me know if it made a difference for you. I'd love to hear I helped someone  :)
Demand answers from your "health care providers"!!  YOU ARE your ONLY RESOURCE!!
much luck! :)  Weffette
1632539 tn?1456280218
i would go to Duke University and get a second opinion. I hope all works out for you.
1193998 tn?1265121197
Definitely find a different rheumatologist. It isn't at all unusual to be 'sero negative' (blood tests normal) and have RA symptoms. A good rheumie will not rely only on blood work but look at the whole patient. It is definitely possible to test positive, then negative, then positive again...I guess it depend on the phase of the moon! (tongue in cheek). To my knowledge, fibromyalgia patients don't typically have joint swelling; along the same lines, RA patients can have no swelling yet have active, progressing disease.

Good luck finding a new rheumie - I'm going to be moving to a new town that has only three, and none of them have terribly good online reviews. :/
Avatar universal
Hi Gabby,
I was tested for the RA factor and it came up positive, but the next time it was negative. carol is right...false positives and false negatives. A rheumy SHOULD listen to all your complaints. Cymbalta is good for Fibro and pain and depression that chronic pain can cause...or the depression causing the chronic pain.
Respond and let us know how you are doing.
Take Care   W
1693900 tn?1306296819
Thank you for the kind words... and advice. I AM going to get a second opinion. I have had some relief week 3-4 on Cymbalta-but all of a sudden I get flare ups in the mornings with my hands being so tight and swollen. I'm always tired it seems... a friend of mine said RA can come up negative especially in Stage 1 or 2. I am trying to lower my stress too-that seems to help-but I'm trying new natural ways. I'm sick of needing Ativan or anti-anxiety meds AND pain meds to function throughout the day.

I'll keep all posted with 2nd opinion! thanks again... :-)
1193998 tn?1265121197
Stress DEFINITELY has an affect on our RA symptoms! It's right up there with the change of seasons as my major triggers. Might I suggest things like gentle yoga and/or meditation, which focuses on not only stretching but breathing properly. Energy/lightworking therapies such as reiki can also be a tremendous help in stress reduction. Depending on where you live you might find a practitioner quite easily through online listings, referral through a massage therapist, spa or natural foods store, or even in the phone book. :)
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