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Rheumatism / joint pain - alternatives to painkillers (dd faking pain for meds?)

(7 Posts)
hodgehegs Wed 14-Nov-12 22:04:04

Hi, my 9 year old dd gets joint pain (mostly in knees and feet) - doctors have been aware for years, but last time we spoke, we decided not to go to hospital for testing as my GP told me the probable outcome would be that she would possibly get a diagnosis of juvenile arthitis and they would just recommend that she keep having painkillers as and when needed, which we already do.

The condition runs in my family. I had tests done at Gt Ormond St when I was 3 (inconclusive) and my mother has only recently managed to get an actual diagnosis of seronegative arthritis now that hers is significantly advanced.

I accept it's just one of those things we have to live with.... BUT sometimes I get the feeling my dd is asking for painkillers when she doesn't need them and faking the pain. She currently has a dose every couple of days, but in bad weather sometimes every day.

I know how much it hurts and would hate to doubt her and leave her in pain, but also I don't want taking painkillers to become a habit for her. She takes a very long time to get to sleep at night (I put her to bed at 8 and she is still awake now at 10pm and has just told me she needs painkillers) and often asks for them around now, so I'm wondering if she wants them to help her fall asleep.

Other common times are about 5 am and again I wonder if she has woken up and wants them to help get her off to sleep again, although I often wake up with pains of my own around this time, and am in no state to hang around and keep checking in on her at that time of day.

I was just wondering if anyone knows of a good natural balm or cream that is useful for rheumatic pain that I could use instead, so that if she's not really in serious pain I don't have to worry about painkiller addiction or the effects of taking calpol/nurofen frequently.

She does love the taste of the syrupy calpol/nurofen so I switched to the melt in the mouth tablets which are grainy and not tasty to try and put her off asking unless really needed.

If I'm unsure I generally tell her to wait a while, or for 15 mins. Sometimes she calls me back in later and still says she is in pain. I don't want to have to leave her til she is crying with pain before I believe it is genuine, but the thought she could be faking for meds is worrying.

Any suggestions?

Wandastartup Wed 14-Nov-12 22:17:35

I think this advice is mad. JIA is eminently treatable these days and if she goes to see a rheumatologist she can be treated to prevent damage to her joints.

cestlavielife Wed 14-Nov-12 23:34:50

Get referral to specialist and get a proper diagnosis and advice

Go back to gp and insist on referral it is not for gp to anticipate what a specialist might say.

hodgehegs Wed 14-Nov-12 23:54:48

Thank you for your comments. Drs have always just said to keep taking the painkillers whenever I bring it up and I didn't want to put her through more tests pointlessly (she has recently had blood tests taken at hospital to check for underlying factors with her low weight - all showed nothing), but I will talk to them again.

They did test her for alpha 1 enzyme deficiency / anti-trypsin when she was 4 as my mother has it and we thought the joint pains were due to that, but her tests came back negative.

Also tried going wheat free under hospital supervision for 3 months but it had no effect on her pains and nothing else was suggested.

Wandastartup Thu 15-Nov-12 09:53:23

Either she has arthritis which needs specific treatment or she doesn't. The best person to make a diagnosis is a rheumatologist. Without a proper diagnosis it's difficult to make suggestions about pain killers/alternatives. Even if the consultant rules out JIa that would be helpful as you would then know that she may not need as many painkillers. Up to you though.

hodgehegs Thu 15-Nov-12 16:10:42

Thanks. I went back to the dr today to discuss a variety of things about dd. She said that in the number of blood tests she had done recently, one was for rheumatoid factor, which came back negative. BUT if she has seronegative (like my mum), it is a form of arthritis that does not have the rheumatoid factor, so testing for that won't find it.

Anyhow, we are being referred to a paediatrician now so I can go through it all with them and see what they suggest to do next.

Wandastartup Thu 15-Nov-12 17:24:30

That's good.

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