Correct diagnosis - Osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid

twinkerton01 Member Posts: 4

I have on going issues with back and joint pain since I was a teenager. I am now in my early 30's.

About 7 years ago I had a bad fall and when I was xrayed and then MRI scanned it became apparent that as well as having damage from my fall, I also had degenerative disc disease. I was in my early twenties when this was diagnosed. I had some physio and hydro therapy and then was discharged.

Since then I have had re occurrence of back pain, and mainly managed it through having therapies such as shiatsu and acupuncture and using pain killers prescribed by my GP.

Two years ago I had a flare up in my back pain and also had issues with my hands and my feet, i was experiencing aching, tingling and numbness I was checked for MS, and then they checked me for Rheumatoid arthritis.

I had blood tests done, but the rheumatoid consultant said that I didn't have a positive rheumatoid factor. i was seen by a pain consultant who said I had chronic pain and prescribed me gabapentin and amertriptolyne, both of which I've not had much joy with as on going pain killers.

Since my visit to the Pain Consultant I've had re-occurring flare ups of back pain, which usually also coincides with pain in my fingers, and feet. I also get knee ache but only in one knee.

When I have a flare up the pain is achey, I feel nauseous with the pain and I feel exhausted by it. When it happens it wipes me out, its usually alot worse in the evenings.

I find that hot baths, and hot waterbottles and heat bean bags help to alleviate the aching. Also Naproxen and Tremadol help the pain levels.

I would say that I have back ache pain every day, but during a flare up the pain is alot worse and I am effected in other area's of my body such as my hands, and for instance I am very pain sensitive, I could not have a massage as it would be to painful, I also find hugs or back rubbing painful.

I'm not sure if my symptoms are just those of Osteoathritus or if there is something more going on, should I ask to be seen again by a consultant?

It took me 12 months the last time I went through the system to be seen by neurology and then rhuematology and then the pain clinic, and finally I was just told that it was just osteoarthritis and all i could do was take pain killers and do mindful meditation.

I don't know if I should be asked to be seen again or if I'll just be told there's nothing else they can do.

I would really appreciate any thoughts or advice.



  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 3,426
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Dear T,

    Thanks for your post to Helplines. I'm sorry to hear that you are having these concerns about your joint pain and arthritis. I can appreciate that you've seen many different specialists and that you are wondering whether there is further value in seeing more specialists given that things seem so difficult and unresolved currently.

    This seems such a difficult situation - can so much pain and difficulty really be osteoarthritis? As that's what you seem to have been told so far.

    I'm not sure that anyone can give you a satisfactory answer, and here at Helplines we are not medically qualified. We'd be happy to spend some time talking things through if you'd like to ring us for a chat.

    With arthritis there can be frustrating periods where all the answers may be vague, or that things are unsatisfactory or uncertain. I wonder how you mange with things day to day?

    Self managing arthritis often involves having to deal with tricky times, and we'd be happy to offer you some support if you'd like to talk. Here's a link to more of our information about self managing arthritis too. I hope that some other forum members may share some ideas also.

    I hope that's helpful

  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, I'm not a Helpline member, just an ordinary forum user. I have a creaky foot in both arthritis camps, one is an auto-immune kind and that has led to OA. Please post again on the Living with Arthritis forum and I am sure people will reply: there are close on 200 kinds of auto-immune arthritis and diagnosis can take some time. One can have a sero-negative kind, mine is one of those. It's a complicated business. :wink: DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben