Do you have rheumatoid arthritis?

(24 Posts)
Acheypain Fri 26-Jun-20 07:33:19

Hi, I’m just after some reassurance. This last few weeks I have had a really sore elbow, wrist and knee. My feet sometimes hurt until I get them going some mornings.
I called the gp, not because I’m in agony (I’m not) but because I would always hate for them to say “if only you’d come earlier” kind of thing.
Anyway, the doctor rang yesterday to talk about my achey joints and said she’d like to see me and would look at my joints and perhaps test me for rheumatoid arthritis.
I am now in a massive panic that that’s what I might have.
If you have it how did yours start?
How bad is it?
How awful do the meds make you feel?
Not got an appointment til Thursday.

OP’s posts: |
Azerothi Fri 26-Jun-20 08:15:11

I have seropositive rheumatoid arthritis. It started in my wrists. RA usually starts on both sides of the corresponding joint. It was agony in the beginning.

The meds made me feel foul for several weeks and then it eased a bit. I have regular consultant checks every 4 months and blood tests, for the meds, every month. The tiredness is the worst part by a long way. Mine has since spread but it isn't as bad as that first stage.

Azerothi Fri 26-Jun-20 08:18:09

Sorry that's not very clear. RA usually affects both joints symmetrically. So both big toes for example.

Acheypain Fri 26-Jun-20 08:22:58

@Azerothi thanks for replying. Other than my feet, which don’t hurt every day, I don’t have matching pains on each side. It’s my right knee, right wrist and left elbow.
I feel like a right creepy old woman!

OP’s posts: |
Azerothi Fri 26-Jun-20 08:35:21

It's good you're going and seeing what it is rather than leaving it. Early treatment is key if you do have it.

Let me know how you get on. And I hope it goes well whatever the outcome smile

Acheypain Fri 26-Jun-20 11:34:38

Thanks, am now beginning to wonder if my right elbow is hurting. Hoping I’m imagining it!

OP’s posts: |
somewheresorted Fri 26-Jun-20 22:31:49

I have Polyarthritis caused by an autoimmune condition which means that I have pain in several joints and not symmetrical, but fortunately unlike Rheumatoid Arthritis, the type that I have doesn’t tend to cause deformity in the joints.

It’s good that you’re getting this checked out early!


IWishTheBishopWell Sun 28-Jun-20 14:22:52

It's good the GP will see you, mine won't with similar issues.

Mine started with one joint before lockdown which a GP saw in Feb and March, an ultrasound was cancelled due to lockdown, and more joints became involved over lockdown (left elbow, then right elbow and then left ankle). I have awful pain in right hip, but no swelling there that I can see.

Mine looks more like psoriatic arthritis than rheumatoid as my nails are coming off and I have pain in my achilles and heels. However, my maternal grandmother has rheumatoid, and my paternal uncle has rheumatoid too, plus ankylosing spondylitis.

I've been told I can have a blood test tomorrow and that's it apart from over the phone physio. Been told it will be many more months before they will be allowed to refer me to rheumatology sad

IWishTheBishopWell Fri 03-Jul-20 11:54:51

How did you get on with the GP @Acheypain?

Acheypain Fri 03-Jul-20 12:07:45

She said she doesn’t think it’s rheumatoid arthritis and suspects it’s wear and tear. Although why my left elbow, right wrist, right knee, both feet and one finger would suddenly start to hurt I don’t know. She’s sent my blood to be tested for everything and is going to refer me to physio.
Bloods back next week. Am really hoping she’s right.
It is more pain than stiffness and none of my family have had arthritis so fingers crossed it’s nothing xx
Thanks for asking. Did you get your blood results back?

OP’s posts: |
IWishTheBishopWell Fri 03-Jul-20 14:28:25

That's good, fingers crossed the GP is right. When things are back to normal/they're allowed to refer again you can always ask to see rheumatology. I went to Rheumatology 10 years ago and got diagnosed with fibromyalgia and ehlers danlos and they were able to refer me for hydrotherapy and hand therapy as well as physio. Hydro made the biggest difference of all, I highly recommend- but you need a referral from hospital, not your GP.

Inflammatory arthritis doesn't always show up in blood tests - my grandmother has RA but is seronegative i.e. her bloods are never positive for rheumatoid factor. She has had osteoarthritis for years so her joints were already sore, but then she lost 2.5 stone in 6 weeks and that rang the 'something's wrong' bell and she was diagnosed with RA based on symptoms and scans.

I do worry about wear and tear myself - my Mum was 28 when diagnosed with osteo and my Dad was in his 30s. Most adults in my family have arthritis of some sort.

I should have my blood results next week - they weren't able to see me on Tuesday when DH collected my form, so my socially distanced drive thru blood test is this afternoon. Hoping they'll take blood from my hand - I have tricky deep veins and my inner elbows are so swollen I can't see them being able to find a vein at all!

Acheypain Fri 03-Jul-20 15:22:06

@IWishTheBishopWell yours sounds much worse than mine. Hope they get you sorted xx

OP’s posts: |
IWishTheBishopWell Sat 04-Jul-20 09:15:40

Thanks Achey, just got to wait for the results now. Hope it all gets sorted for you too xx

Acheypain Mon 06-Jul-20 17:55:04

@IWishTheBishopWell and @Azerothi well the doctor phoned me today. She hasn’t got all the test results back yet but I do have quite low iron levels (8 and supposed to be 30). I also have low vitamin D which she said could be causing the joint pain. I’m to take iron and vitamin D for 3 months and then go back for more blood tests. She’s waiting for some other blood tests but I’m not sure which ones.
It’s nice to have a reason for why I feel so tired and old. Hopefully in 3 months I’ll be a newly energised and less creaky version of myself x

OP’s posts: |
Azerothi Mon 06-Jul-20 18:47:34


It's great that you've had some answers and that something can be done about it. Your iron is quite low so it was good you went to see them. Thanks for letting me know, I hope it goes well and you improve.

IWishTheBishopWell Tue 07-Jul-20 10:16:51

Are they prescribing the vit D @acheypain? I have had prescription vit D for bad deficiencies 3 or 4 times in the last 10 years, and a similar number of incidences where I just needed OTC vit D. It's amazing how bad a vit D deficiency, or even just an insufficiency, can make you feel. My legs always feel wobbly when I'm deficient and I get pain in my shin bones. You'll soon feel better as your levels start building up again.

For the last 3 years I have taken the highest OTC dose of vit D daily on my GP's advice and have been fine ever since.

Boots usually have 3 for 2 on vit D tablets if you're buying OTC ones.

Acheypain Tue 07-Jul-20 21:10:33

@IWishTheBishopWell no prescription the doctor said it’d be cheaper to go for the chemist stuff. It’s weird how much more notice I’ve taken of how tired and stiff I am today now that I know it’s not normal!!
I’m hoping that soon I won’t feel like I’m wading through treacle all the time!!

OP’s posts: |
IWishTheBishopWell Wed 08-Jul-20 08:11:59

Ah yes, I remember the wading through treacle feeling. I've always found that the vitamin D starts to kick in reasonably quickly and I soon start to feel a bit better, so hopefully you won't have to wait too long to start feeling better!

Acheypain Wed 08-Jul-20 20:40:12

@IWishTheBishopWell have you had your results back yet?

OP’s posts: |
IWishTheBishopWell Thu 09-Jul-20 08:13:44

No results yet, the GP who ordered the test works Weds - Sat so I think I will call the surgery today and ask if they're in yet.

No idea if results are taking longer than normal or not due to Covid. The drive-thru blood nurse said they've had a full clinic since lockdown began, so doesn't sound like fewer samples are being processed.

IWishTheBishopWell Thu 09-Jul-20 11:03:22

Reception say the blood tests were normal, no further action required. I said I'd like to speak to the doctor who requested them, so I need to fill out an online form to request a call to discuss.

Not really sure where we go from here as my elbows are still swollen, my achilles tendons are still painful, I'm waking up in the night due to the pain and finding myself too stiff to move and my finger and toe nails are still detaching.

Will have to see what the doctor says.

IWishTheBishopWell Thu 09-Jul-20 17:18:01

Turns out my blood tests weren't entirely normal - my inflammatory markers were slightly raised although they have been slightly raised for a number of years now. In 2014 they were 12 which is higher range of normal, in 2019 they were 16 and they're currently 15. GP suspects this is just how I naturally am.

GP is referring me to Rheumatology but warned there was a long waiting list before Covid, so I may not be seen for 6 months or so. Still, it's progress.

It was a new GP (fourth one I've spoken to about this) and she's offered me stronger painkillers if needed (I'm on co-codamol and amitriptyline for another issue). I'm allergic to ibuprofen and I'm asthmatic so they won't give me anything anti inflammatory. We've agreed I will try painkillers before bed in the hope they will stop me waking up at night, and if that doesn't help we'll consider gabapentin.

Acheypain Thu 09-Jul-20 21:03:37

Gosh @IWishTheBishopWell none of that sounds very good. I had another call from the docs today to say my thyroid results weren’t great. They’re going to ignore that for now and repeat the test in 2 months.
My elbow is still sore and sometimes it feels like there’s a little worm wriggling about in it, a bit like when you’re pregnant and you feel that fluttering. Am hoping I’m not growing a baby in my elbow!
Hope your wait to see the specialist isn’t too long x

OP’s posts: |
IWishTheBishopWell Fri 10-Jul-20 11:38:54

Sorry to hear about your thyroid @Acheypain. Hope it goes well in two months time. Thyroid issues can be hard to diagnose so don't be afraid to push for answers - I know someone with an underactive thyroid and the meds have made a huge difference to her.

Hopefully there's no baby in your elbow! mine's more of a throbbing ache, the physio is helping the pain but it's not bringing down the swelling.

If you're not feeling better in 3 months from the iron and vit D I would ask for a scan and physio. X

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