Newbie with stiff fingers - any advice.

HannahT
HannahT Member Posts: 38
edited 14. Apr 2014, 15:11 in Say Hello Archive
Hi all, I am new to this forum. For the last few months I have been waking each morning with stiff fingers. Painful fingers and not being able to bend them for at least an hour or so. This has really taken a toll on my family as I am not really able to do anything in the morning and my husband has to do all the morning chores and get our toddler ready for nursery.

I have a doctor's appointment next week to see what's going on. I was hoping someone here might already know what this could be and what they do to help sooth the pain.

Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,697
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello HannahT. I guess you've come here because you suspect it might be arthritis. You could be right. It does sound possible but we aren't doctors and can't diagnose. I hope your GP will be able to tell you a bit more. He might order a blood test. If there is any kind of arthritis in the family you should tell him.

    Meanwhile you have my sympathy. My hands were very bad when both my sons were little and I had to become very inventive in finding ways of dealing with them :) Do you use any pain relief?
  • HannahT
    HannahT Member Posts: 38
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi stickywicket,

    Thanks for replying! Really appreciate it. I figured I had arthritis awhile back. I guess I just didn't want an actual diagnosis from my GP, then it just makes it real. Silly - I know :)

    I didn't know a blood sample could be taken. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Come to think of it, my mum used to complain of sore hands and knees too. But she never did anything about it. So, I don't know if she has arthritis or it's just age. But will make sure I mention this at my appointment.

    I use Deep Heat on my hands as the warming sensations does relieve the pain, albeit temporarily. I am not a fan of pills, but may have to start taking them, if I can't find an alternative pain relief solution.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, it's nice to meet you and I hope I can provide some useful information. There are two versions of arthritis, the most common is osteo-arthritis (OA) which affects around eight million people in the UK. The other kinds are caused by an over-active immune system causing the body to attack itself - these are the ones that blood tests may determine. I have a creaky foot in both camps, beginning with an auto-immune and that led in turn to OA. Of the two I prefer the OA as that is far more honest in how it presents itself. You may well find that pain relief will have to be the way to go but, as well as the Deep Heat, it may be worth soaking your hands in a solution of Epsom salts - apparently that can be helpful as can hot wax treatments. I wish you well. DD
  • HannahT
    HannahT Member Posts: 38
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi dreamdaisy,

    Thanks for all the info! Much appreciated.

    Great, thanks for the the Epsom salts tip. Gonna try that tomorrow morning!

    The hot wax treatment sounds interesting but I can imagine it could be very soothing! Do you know if that is something I could do at home. Would I be able to buy the treatment/wax/kit at Boots or does it have to be a pharmacy. I am now intrigued. Maybe I should just Google it. Sorry for all the questions.

    H
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,254
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello HannahT
    Its good to meet you , and pleased you have come to us for some info..much better than googling... :) we all do it
    I see the others have given you some advice, please let us know how you get on..just a point I have OA ..but am due to see another rheumy the last one 3 years ago...and my GP was very interested that my hands were stiff for more that a couple of hours...so suppose you should time it..good luck with everything...
  • HannahT
    HannahT Member Posts: 38
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Barbara,

    Thank you for your reply!

    I am so glad I joined this forum. Just hearing from and reading about everyone's experience with arthritis has been invaluable to me. Knowing that all of you really do understand my suffering has had a really positive impact on me :)

    I have to admit I am a Google addict! And, WOW, some of the information I have come across can make my condition seem really scary!!!

    What a great suggestion. Luckily my appointment is in the morning when I am certain to have stiff hands and hope the GP will see for himself.
  • Sarah01
    Sarah01 Member Posts: 192
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Hannah,

    Welcome to the forum :)

    I have OA in both hips, well only 1 now as i had a hip replacement 9 weeks ago at the ripe old age of 42 :wink:

    I joined the forum last year when I was diagnosed. They are a great bunch on here, full of support when you need it and advice, whether it's to do with OA or RA or you just need a good old moan :)

    I was also a Google addict when I was diagnosed, I wanted to find out everything and anything. Good luck when you see the GP, keep us posted.

    Sarah x
  • HannahT
    HannahT Member Posts: 38
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Sarah! My appointment is tomorrow morning. Will be relieved to finally have a true diagnosis to whatever ails me. Will let you all know what the GP says asap.

    H
  • HannahT
    HannahT Member Posts: 38
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have a lot to learn! I expected to get a diagnosis yesterday but it seems I will still have to wait.

    I have now been sent for a referral. I hope this is a positive step in the right direction. I just want to know what's going on with my hands and start taking action now!

    I keep reading early diagnosis can make a real difference in the treatment of arthritis and this will make a real difference in my life!

    frustrating ......

    H
  • HannahT
    HannahT Member Posts: 38
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    The NHS is just so useless.. The referral didn't get me anywhere. The rheumatologist just told me to live with it, manage it and take paracetamol and ibuprofen! He said that if it gets worse he will give me stronger drugs (celecoxib I think..), but he did not explain at all how to cure it?! :shock:

    This isn't at all what I was looking for. And the information on the internet is far more helpful.

    Also I am not keen on having to take drugs for the rest of my life - does anyone know of any good natural ways to cure or at least improve it? I have read that pine bark extract in combination with omega3, glucosamine and chondroitin is meant to be quite good..

    Thanks so much for your help and support everyone. I can't begin to tell you how happy I am that I have found people here who understand me.
  • aralph
    aralph Member Posts: 11
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi,I take marine condroitine every day and it certainly helps me (if its psycological I dont care,I feel better)
    Al
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,697
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    HannahT, I hope you won't take offence but surely the NHS is very far from useless :o It has provided me with 68 years worth of free consultations, 2 THRs, 3 TKRs and saved me from a nasty fate when I had breast cancer. My son in UsA, by contrast, had to pay $100 per stitch when he split the webbing on a finger as his then medical insurance didn't cover sports injuries.

    It sounds as if your rheumatologist has discovered you don't have an auto-immume form of arthritis but osteoarthritis and has suggested the appropriate meds. There is little more that he can do. There is no cure for any form of arthritis but there are plenty of people out there willing to take your money with their so called miracle cures. A sensible diet might help. There is some evidence that cod liver oil can help OA and, as Al has said, some people find glucosamine amd chondroitin helps but there is no conclusive evidence for this and all these 'natural remedies' are unregulated so the quality varies widely. Whatever you do or don't take do remember that herbal meds can be dangerous, especially when taken alongside regular prescriptions.

    I hope you can find something to help your hands. Personally, I'd go for the prescribed meds.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Of course you've found the NHS useless probably because it can't give you what you want (which has probably been your experience of it to-date). Arthritis is not like a virus or bacterial infection, once it's with you it's with you for life. I've been a frequent flyer on the NHS since the age of 18 months and, as far as I am concerned, it is one of the greatest blessings of my life.

    None of us like taking the drugs but, if you want a more comfortable life, then it's in your best interest to do so. I rather like the limited amount of movement that I currently have available to me so I inject and swallow the best the medical profession has to offer so that I can carry on moving. I know that if I don't I will be bedridden and that is not for me, not just yet! :lol: Mind you, I have two kinds of arthritis and around 40 affected joints so my situation is different to yours. I would be far happier if I had OA alone, at least that is honest in how it presents.

    By all means try the natural route but be prepared for not a lot to happen. This forum exists because nothing works as we would like, and that includes the meds. Some people do find relief from cod liver oil, glucosamine, chondroitin, capsaicin creams etc. but, as Sticky has said, there are many people out there willing to fleece you by selling a pipe dream. Make friends with your arthritis because it ain't going away, at the end of this month I start my eighteenth year of living with it. It's not been fun, and of course I wish I didn't have it, but I do. End of. DD

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