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Joint pain in hands, wrists ankles, feet: nausea: rash on arms/legs, fatigue

I have had severe pain in my hand/feet joints, knees, base of neck.  Swelling in my hands/feet, a rash on my calves and forearms (like dermatitis, yet no change in soap/detergents, etc.), temperature ranging from 97.6-100.9 daily for many months now, daily nausea and diarreah, increased migraine activity and mental fogginess and eye problems (loss of focus/dry)as well as unprovoked anxiety.  Have had blood tests and all come back within normal parameters.  Symptoms are getting worse over time.  I am miserable and can't live life like this.  I am a teacher and highly depended upon.  Stress is a major factor in my life.  Job quality is being lost due to these problems.  What tests should I be asking for?  What diseases can I suggest?  I used to live up north (Cape Cod, MA) and now live in South (FL).  I have been told I have FM, but these latest symptoms (pain especially) are totally different and excrutiating.  Can anyone help me?
26 Responses
Avatar universal

Hi mrsdennen,

To my understanding, fibromyalgia does not affect the joints. Also, the swelling and fever you have, I don't believe could be related to the fibro. It sounds like you could have lupus or now have CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), along with fibro. Rashes can appear with fibro, but not CFS. Also, dermatitis is common in patients who have lupus. Sometimes people diagnosed with fibro will get CFS and CFS patients' get fibro sympdromes. I do know that 65% of people diagnosed with CFS have joint pain and 85% of people with CFS have a fever or sensation of a fever.

I would schedule an appointment with your physician ASAP and ask him to rule out lupus and other autoimmune conditions. He should order a bunch of labwork, including an ANA test. It sounds like they probably did this in the first place, but now you have more symptoms).

To check a list of symptoms for CFS, go to google.com and type in "CFS symptoms" + "Dr. David Bell". For a list of lupus symptoms, visit the Lupus Foundation of America website.

Please let your physician know how these symptoms are affecting your daily life and especially with work. If worse comes to worse, they can put you on short term disability or the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act).

Good luck !

Avatar universal
fibro sympdromes.

oops - I meant fibro "symptoms".
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P.S. -- Make your physician also checks you for lyme disease. Also, if your test is negative, often physicians' will repeat the test if they have yet to diagnose you.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for the input... It helps to have some suggestions.  I did go to the Doctor, and he just looked at me.  I could see an appologetic look in his eye, like, "Gee, I really would like to help you, but I haven't got a clue".  I asked for any test for anything he thinks it might be, and mentioned Lyme disease as well.  I had a rheumatoid factor, lyme titre, ESR, and a comprehensive pannel drawn.  I don't care how painful the test, I just want someone to say: "It's this"... and help me ease the symptoms. I am slowly loosing my life to this "whatever it is".  I appreciate your thoughts and quick response!
Avatar universal

Hi again..

I can relate to how you believe because I have CFS and have so many symptoms. Your story sounds all too familiar. I'm currently on the Marshall Protocol as a treatment and possible cure for my condition. It is fairly new and still listed as a research protocol, but has helped numerous people with CFS, lyme disease and other inflammatory diseases.

I don't know how long ago your physician did labwork on you, but if it was before the joint pain, he/she should run another lupus panel on you, as well as other labs to rule out Sjogrens & another RF. Also, many times a test for lyme disease will be a false negative, so many physicians have to repeat the test again if their patient still has symptoms. That is very important.

Here are the usual labs to R/O lupus:

Anti-nuclear antibody test (ANA) to determine if autoantibodies to cell nuclei are present in the blood
Anti-DNA antibody test to determine if there are antibodies to the genetic material in the cell
Anti-Sm antibody test to determine if there are antibodies to Sm, which is a ribonucleoprotein found in the cell nucleus
Serum (blood) complement test to examine the total level of a group of proteins which can be consumed in immune reactions
Complement proteins C3 and C4 test to examine specific levels

There is a new lab test to diagnose CFS, but it hasn't been approved yet by the FDA. The website address is http://www.redlabsusa.com  

Keep me posted!

Avatar universal
I agree with the previous post that you should be tested for Lupus, and other autoimmune problems. Fibro does not affect the joints, but I had a Dr. suggest it to me too about 5 years ago. I turned out to have an autoimmune disorder classified as Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. It has characteristics of Lupus ad Scleroderma. Ther are medications that will help you feel better, and slow the disease progression if you do fall into an autoimmune category. Whatever you do, don't let them tell you it's Fibro, because the rash and joint pain just don't fit.
Avatar universal
Had all the blood tests... came back normal.  Pain and fever and rash went away... for a while.  Pain just returned today.  I'm so miserable.  I don't know what to do.  They keep saying I'm normal... this can't be normal!  What should I demand to have tested?  Anything but blood tests that can be done?
Avatar universal
When I read your symtoms, I thought to myself, "I don't remember writing this?  When did I write this?" I actually thought it had been written by ME!  My doctor also shrugs his shoulders and all my tests come back normal.  I have "spells" where I can hardly leave my bed, and then I have great days where nothing at all is wrong, although those seem more infrequent.  I am 50 years old and I don't know what's going on.  I certainly don't remember being bitten by a tick.  Have you gotten any closer to finding answers to your problems?
Avatar universal
i said the same thing as mrswilliams.  i live on the treasure coast of florida and am an elementary school teacher.  we just got through a MRSA scare at our school, where the custodians were supposed to come and clean the classrooms and desks thoroughly, but they didn't.  the risk manager said it's virtually impossible for a teacher to get MRSA from a kid (two of mine were diagnosed iwth it).  Of course, this is the same guy who said there was no mold in my classroom after the hurricanes in 2004, but OMG, after they did the remediation (improperly) they discovered green and black mold everywhere.  but, they said, this is florida.     anyway, i am so sick this week, sicker than usual, and it's the same stuff that everyone else is talking about, except last year a dermatologist i went to see snorted that what i had was nothing more than folliculitis.  but my whole body is covered with cystic pimply things that start out as hard bumps, but end up festering and i feel the illness pervading my body as the bumps on my body change.  i cannot stand it anymore.  all i do is cry and sleep when i am not teaching.  so tomorrow i am going to the urgent care clinic because i can barely hold my head up.
thanks for letting me vent.
Avatar universal
I don't know why doctors treat us all like we are stupid. I also felt like I was reading a message written by me (except for the rash and skin problems). I have been in two separate car accidents in which someone who was not paying attention plowed into the back of my car, ultimately damaging my back. The first one was four years ago, the second was just last year on Dec. 17th. Since then, I have seen more doctors than I care to and been told that I JUST have a herniated disk that is probably pinching a nerve. I deal with excruciating pain every second of my life and sometimes it even wakes me up. Now I battle with depression and anxiety because of this and just recently, new issues have developed. A large knot has appeared on the side of my wrist and the doctor THINKS it may be a cyst, but claims that it is strange because it is on the bone, so I am waiting (two weeks now) for a referral to a bone specialist so that I can have that checked out/removed. Also, now my hands, wrists, and knuckles hurt and burn, along with my knees, and ankles. This, along with my already existing pain in my lower back, hips, upper back, right shoulder, and neck, is driving me crazy. I feel that something else may be going on, but I keep getting "this is all related to your chronic pain problem." I am not a hypochondriac, but sometimes I feel that the doctors look at me like I am. I have much better things I could do with my time and money than spend it on doctors' appointments and medication. I am also a teacher, also in Florida (weird isn't it?), and I have to force myself on everyday, despite the excruciating pain I deal with. I hate that others are feeling the way I do, but I am relieved to hear that I am not crazy and others feel this way too.
Avatar universal
I felt the same way as one of the other readers that I dont remember writing this I suffer the exact EXACT same things INCLUDING the skin I have been seen by doctor after doctor and I too was told  folliculitis and I was told at one point scabies.... none of the meds work.... I could go on and on and on with what I have been thru trying to find an answer .... my temp has been 99.9 for so long now they think that is my normal temp.... but it wasn't until I got sick.... YEARS ago.... like 10 years ago.... now even more strange things are happening like my bones are breaking ...my wrist was just diagnosed with Kienbock.... although I never have injuried it and I dont fit any of the other reasons.... my heel hurts so bad now I can hardly get out of bed... these last things the wrist and heel just started over the last few months.... my blood test are starting to come back strange too high RA factor... but RA test comes back normal.... another test comes back possible Gout but further testing shows nothing.... I am now gaining weight... like 75 pounds in a few months.... crazy... crazy.... I have given up on finding an answer and just try and get through my days.... I don't see any doctors now unless of course as resently I had to go because I can no longer bend my wrist!  Maybe 39 year old people just feel this way.... hum...
Avatar universal
For months I have pain in joints especially wrists, hands and, ankles.  I also feel sick feverish, my hands turn blue and fingernail purple in the cold,and I was dizzy for 4 days.  I have allergic reactions from changing soap.  I just hurt everywhere!  I got a lot of blood tests that all come out negative.  I see a rhuematologist in April.  What could this be?  I also suffer from abdominal and intestinal adhesions, asthma, allergies and intersititial cystitis.  It seems like I always have something wrong with me.
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