I'm John, I'm new to the forum and like everyone, i have joint pain; only i have yet to be diagnosed with anything. I've avoided going to a doctor for years, but i've finally booked an appointment with my GP to discuss. I'm an idiot and my story goes like this...
About 8 years ago i started to experience joint pain (22yrs old) and it seemed any joint in my body was fair game for a bit of inflammation, soreness and stiffness. I didn't know what to think at the time, but made do by popping some Ibuprofen and getting on with things.
It seemed that every time a joint was affected, it would follow a life cycle of about 4 days.
Day1 = "hmm, that joint is a little tender/stiff"
Day2 = "oh hells bells that's sore, where's the ibuprofen?"
Day3 = "phew, that's starting to feel a little better"
Day4 = "what joint pain"
With such a short cycle, the problem was very easy to ignore. I mean, you don't go rushing to the doctor the first time you get a stomach ache or headache - you see how it goes. And if it goes...well you carry on and forget about it.
Finger and knuckles were a constant issue. If i didn't get in early with the Ibuprofen, they'd get quite red and swollen looking, and as a result very stiff to move. I added some Ibuprofen Gel to my treatment kit and got on with it.
It's when the problem started to hit...more prominent joints, that it really affected me. Ankles, Hip and shoulder attacks meant that the leg or arm attached would be effectively out of action. movement was near impossible and so in those cases i was either limping or struggling to raise my arm. Particularly with my shoulder - putting on shirts etc. was a nightmare (Applying shampoo too was really tiresome
But yet, because i knew that in just a couple of days i'd be fine again - i let it go. I don't know why i didn't go to a doc sooner. No doubt i get this attitude from my rural irish upbringing
Anyway, one fine day i woke up with a spectacular pain in my chest. If i didn't know better, it felt like someone whacked me with crowbar to the sternum. I could hardly get out of bed, every move of upper torso was painful. My girlfriend rang a doctor and of course once you utter the word 'chest pain' they get serious and i was called into the clinic immediately.
At this point i didn't suspect the pain was joint related - But actually it was the GP who after examining me said - "have you ever had any joint pain", and i told her about my steady diet of nurofen to treat such an issue. She said, "hmm" and then said "well, the pain seems centered around the Sternoclavicular joint, but we have to be sure so go to ER".
Fast forward to ER, an ECG and many hours being probed and i found myself talking to a doc who said everything checks out and they're a little bemused as to what was causing the pain. I was turning strange colours at this stage as breathing was a real burden ( i was trying to breathe really shallow and staying still to lessen the pain). Anyway, i mentioned what the GP had said and so they gave me a huge anti-inflammatory pill. And yup, an hour or so later the pain started to subside and i was sent home.
I'm an idiot for not following up at this stage, but i didn't and i returned to a life of nurofen and ignorance. I developed really bad acid reflux which i know NSAIDs can cause, but i don't know if this is coincidence. Nurofen, Nurofen Gel, Gaviscon and Zantac became the medical bread and butter of my days.
Once at work i couldn't raise my arm and my wrist was also out of action on the other hand, so i had to see the staff nurse to be excused. (I work with computers - if you can't type, you can't work). She examined me, and though i protested, she sent me to a GP that day who took blood samples. GP never called me back, so i dunno what the outcome was. I know, i'm an idiot. Ignorance is bliss eh.
So, here i am today, and what has been bothering me is that instead of a 4 day cycle, i can be sore for 10 days or more in a joint now. In fact my index finger knuckles have been sore for weeks. My knuckles in general feel like glass, even when not swollen or affected. I'll sometimes bang them very slightly against a surface and the pain is pretty severe. they just seem very sensitive now.
So, i'm off to the GP in a week to finally talk about what can be done. I'm on this forum because it's the first time i've looked into the issue and i wonder if anyone can identify with my story and perhaps offer some pointers on what to ask GP or alternative treatments. Will the doc be able to say whether i have RA, Gout, osteo etc after the examination - or will i get referred? Have i left it too long and is the damage irreversible if there is any?
I've lots of questions as you can imagine.
That's me anyway. Hello again and sorry if the post is too long.