Is this arthritis?!

Options
Saabina
Saabina Member Posts: 17
edited 16. Jul 2015, 07:37 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi everyone

A few weeks ago I got the results of my MRI scan which I have a copy of here and have read a few times..

.. been to Drs who has said it's arthritis .. the way she said it was as an aside.. not important ..

.. anyways.. few weeks ago now, I've noticed I can't grip things. I cant undo lids.. I can't pull the freezer open without difficulty, picking up coins is awkward.. my palms are BURNING. Both of them. My fine motor skills have gone.. my two little fingers have moved away from the other fingers... I have throbbing pains in the joints... my right hand seems worse (but this is my dominant hand so more noticeable)

My wrists are weak and both hurt.
My two big toe joints are sore and look red around the knuckle at times and my feet swell but only mildly .. quite painful.
Both ankles seem tender.
Both knees.

I'm exhausted.

All of this began a few weeks ago and has actually eased off now! Am not in so much pain!

My morning stiffness lasts a few hours, my gait is bad, I have aching calves and muscle twitches.

I also have spondylolisthesis in lower spine and cervical spine problems also.

Why would it come on suddenly then ease off?! It's not gone completely, I still can't grip (but on a bad day I couldn't hold my toothbrush properly).. it hurts my fingers holding a cup of tea..

Thanks for reading, if you're still awake at this point.. well done :lol:

Comments

  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hello, it's nice to meet you but I am sorry you have had to find us. We may be practising arthritics but we are not practising doctors so cannot diagnose what may or may not be going on. Why were you sent for an MRI? I am nineteen years in and have both an auto-immune form plus osteo; my rheumatologist deals with the former and my GP the latter. OA is the most common form of arthritis which can lead to it being dismissed in rather a casual manner - which doesn't help us. I can empathise with the swelling and lack of grip, many of us struggle on here with that. Your spine is obviously in trouble and this could be causing these knock-on effects but, as I am not a doc, I cannot comment. Who are you seeing next? DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,732
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hello saabina and welcome to the forum from me too
    .
    I'm a bit puzzled by your post's title as you have your doc's word plus an MRI result both saying you do have arthritis. I wonder why you think that they might be incorrect. It certainly sounds like arthritis to me, the only question being which type. (There are many.)
    Have you had blood tests? Seen a rheumatologist? What meds are you on and what has your GP suggested as the next step, if any?

    Sorry for all the questions. I'm just trying to get a clearer picture.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • theresak
    theresak Member Posts: 1,998
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hello and welcome, though sorry you've had to find us.


    There certainly seems to be something 'arthritic' going on, but what type you have will determine your treatment.

    I think a further visit to the GP for more info/clarification is in order.
  • Saabina
    Saabina Member Posts: 17
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hi

    Thank you for your replies. I am just a bit confused. The way arthritis was said at each appointment, was very blase and not really explained to me.

    I have a print out of the MRI scan. This has not been explained to me at all. (The GP scan read it and said arthritis and let us wait and see what Neuro says). I just have it to read. Though of course, I am not a Dr. I have heard the word arthritis and been told at each subsequent appointment that I will have to wait and see what the neuro says. So everything has hinged on the neuro...

    I went to visit the neurologist who listened to my symptoms and said that none of the symptoms sound like they could be a result of anything he could see on my MRI scan ??!?! I Was then referred for a nerve conduction test, which I had today.

    I said to the Neurologist 'so it's not arthritis then?' - he kind of laughed and said, 'you're a bit young for arthritis aren't you'?!

    Nobody once has even mentioned the spondylolisthesis which is actually a condition all on its own!

    I keep going to the GP's and they keep saying wait for Neuro. Neuro put me at ease as much as a priest reading my last rites would...

    .. basically got to wait for my nerve conduction test results now. Oh and I've just moved house so I have received a letter saying in 30 days I will be kicked off the patient list at this surgery and need to find another one!

    That might not be a bad thing!

    I haven't had a blood test done yet no, I need to ring up and pick a date (takes a few weeks to get one!)

    This is my Cervical MRI result:

    All of the cervical discs are dehydrated. Minor disc bulges seen at C3/4, C4/5, C5/6 and C6/7. The C5/6 and C6/7 discs also narrowed and there are associated marginal osteophytes. At C5/6, in addition the generalized bulge, there is a small central disc prolapse. This is not causing any neural compression, however. At C6/7 there is a central and right paracentral disc prolapse, in contact with the anterior aspect of the spinal cord. There is no cord compression, however. There is slight narrowing of the left C7 nerve root exit foramen.

    Lumbar MRI

    Minor generalized disc bulges are seen at all lumbar disc levels and there is also some mild facet hypertrophy. At L5/S1 there is grade 1 spondylolisthesis of L5 on S1 with bilateral pars interarticularis bulge present. There is an annular tear posteriorly, a mixture of fatty and inflammatory endplate change is seen in the adjacent verterbral bodies. There is some narrowing of the L5 nerve root exit foramina bilaterally. On the right there is no nerve root compression. On the left, however, there is some compression of the L5 nerve root within its exit foramen.

    CONCLUSION: Grade 1 spondylolisthesis at L5/S1, with degenerative disc and an annular tear. There is compression of the left L5 nerve root within its exit foramen. Degenerative change in the cervical spine, particularly at C5/6 and C6/7.


    I am so confused and feel like I am getting nowhere... and then all these things started happening to my joints.

    I take hours to recover from sleep and the joints are all symmetrical so having googled it (obviously not always a good thing) it does seem to be similar to RA.

    Medication I am on is Co Dydramol 4 x a day - 10mg Dihydracodeine and 500mg paracetamol.

    They've given my Gabapenting (I refused to take). They gave me Amitryptaline (knocked me out at night). I stopped taking. Then gave me Lyrica (Pregabalin) - read and heard horror stories..

    .. so until I know exactly what I have got, I am suffering a great deal of pain because I don't want to take very strong medications!

    Hope this helps :)
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 3,635
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hi Saabina,

    Welcome from the Moderation team. You are in a pickle, I'm hoping writing this all down along with your thoughts and with the help of forum members you might be able to work out what you want to ask your health team - and how to phrase it :P

    It is very hard at the beginning of any kind of arthritis, I was stunned when I was told by my rheumy not to worry about a diagnosis, my treatment would be the same! I found it helpful to keep a graph of pain/activity and a diary of my feelings.

    Whilst all the moderators have or care for someone with arthritis I don't have issues with my spine so can't offer more practical advice - others will no doubt be along soon. Any forum problems just send us a pm (private message) - look towards the top of the page, writing in blue 'messages'

    Take care
    Mod Yx
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,732
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Right, saabina. This is what I understand from what you've written.

    You've been told you have arthritis but not which kind – not surprising as it seems you've not yet had any blood tests or seen a rheumatologist. You do appear to have some spinal problems but they could be due to OA, an auto-immune form of arthritis or possibly something else.

    I can tell you I would personally not trust any doc who told anyone they were 'too young for arthritis'. I had RA at 15 and, if you look at the 'My Child...' forum, others get it aged 2. OK, these are usually auto-immune forms but young people can get OA too and also neglected auto-immune forms lead to OA as many of us can testify.

    I've never heard anyone on here refer to spondylolisthesis but this is what NHS Choices says about it. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/spondylolisthesis/Pages/Introduction.aspx I think you're right in that, if you've been told you need a blood test, you should have it done. That might reveal an auto-immune form of arthritis. Or not. Some of them give sneaky negative results. Nothing is certain and often a firm diagnosis can take years (Though the meds are more or less the same) but that is surely your next step to getting to the root of matters and should be arranged as soon as you can.

    As for the meds – are you sure you've been prescribed both co-dydramol and paracetamol? As both contain it, that sounds like too much paracetamol to me. Please check with either your GP or pharmacist. My understanding is that you should only take 8 in 24 hours whether you take all 8 of one type or mix them.

    We have no medical training on here so we can neither read scans, nor interpret scan reports. In your situation I'd be ignoring that and concentrating on the blood tests to try to find out if I had an auto-immune arthritis. Do any family members have auto-immune diseases? There is often, though not always, a genetic predisposition.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Saabina
    Saabina Member Posts: 17
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hi

    Thanks again for your replies. The blood tests I was referred for were not to do with arthritis, I think they were just full blood count and she added thyroid and bone profile just so I had extra tests. She actually sat there and used the dropped down menu to search for tests that might be relevant. I could be wrong though! Maybe these are to search for arthritis?

    Sorry if I wasn't clear. I am on co-dydramol and that is it, 4 times a day. So that's 1000mg of paracetamol, 4 times a day. They don't touch the pain.

    Incidentally, I quit drinking alcohol and stopped smoking 7 weeks ago and have never felt so bad. These aching joints and back and neck pain have hit me tenfold. I googled this and found this has happened to a few people! ##I would get back on having half a bottle of wine most nights, but I got stomach ulcers off the naproxen! :lol: I can't drink with ulcers!

    I suppose I had better register with a new Dr and just wait for the results and see if the neuro refers me to a joint specialist.

    Autoimmune disorders I know of are psoriasis. My mum has it bad in her scalp, and so does my younger sister. My dad has a bad knee and bad fingers and I remember looking at his hands thinking they looked fat and red and wondering what was up , but I've lost his number and we aren't close. I suspect he has arthritis himself! He hasn't been able to work because of his knees.. so I do think that may be the reason why!
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,732
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    There is psoriasis in your family. Is your GP aware of this? If not he / she should be told and, in view of the joint problems, you should ask to be referred to a rheumatologist. GPs often give an initial blood test to check for rheumatoid factor but not all auto-immune forms of arthritis provide a positive result. Psoriatic Arthritis is one that doesn't.

    Giving up smoking was a good move. Smokers are more liable to get auto-immune forms of arthritis and more likely to be worse when they have them. Alcohol? Can't advise as I like my glass of wine per night :wink:

    Yes, anti-inflamms, before stomach-protecting meds arrived, gave me stomach ulcers so I, too, can no longer take them. I don't miss them :D I'm still not quite sure how dihydrocodeine, co-dydramol and paracetamol amounts to just co-dydramol but, as long as you're not overdoing the paracetamol that's OK. But, if you genuinely feel the painkillers are doing no good at all, why take them? 'Painkillers' is a bit of a misnomer. They dull it. They don't kill it and the stronger ones remove us fro the pain not vice versa.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • trepolpen
    trepolpen Member Posts: 504
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    hi Saabina ,

    few things you mentioned ,
    1. bit young for arthritis , they saying this refers to OA which is wearing of joints , dont know your age but some arthritis can come on at any time , RA tends to be mid 30s but can be any age

    2 the lower back problems you have can cause arthritis in hips etc , they should be able to help your back with Physo ,

    3 you mentioned , morning stiffness & redness in joints , this tends to go with RA , ask your GP to do some blood test for Rheumatiod factor & inflamation markers

    it may be that your problems is related to your back but can only advise you to go back to your doctors & hope they get to the bottom of what is wrong with your joints
  • Saabina
    Saabina Member Posts: 17
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    sticky - I've not had any discsussion with my doctor or any doctor that I have seen with regards to Arthritis. Except the mention of it. I am going to ask them now for a blood tests and tell them. I will be going this afternoon (when I don't feel so stiff and aching!) with my proof of ID to register at a new Drs close to my house, and when I make the appointment I will tell them all of this.

    I don't miss the ****. Have gained a stone though. Enjoying more food :oops: I also love my Wine but can't go back to it now with having hernia/stomach ulcers! I won't take the Omeprazole as the itching just wasn't worth it!

    I see the confusion with the meds. If you re-read the post I mentioned co-dydramol and then put a '-' in - which was explaining what was in it. 10mg of Dihydrocodeine and 500mg of Paracetamol.

    I take as it seems to take the edge off it. But not really, I noticed when I stopped them altogether I felt worse.

    I don't want stronger meds. I've got 4 children including a toddler at home - until the Doctors can prescribe me something that won't make me pass out on my sofa, then I won't take them.



    Hiya trepolpen

    1. I am 32 next month! So hardly a spring chicken :roll: Bloody neurologist, next time I see him I am going to point out that he's a dementia specialist and maybe I could see someone who specialises in spines and/or rheumatology :mrgreen: I wonder what his reaction would be to that!

    2. Ahh thanks for that. My hips are bad every morning. I have requested physio but told to wait until I speak to the neurologist! Catch 22. They are concentrating on neck right now and missin the lower back issues I've been presenting with several times a year!

    3. Yes mornings are awful, I can barely roll over in bed and struggle picking the baby up. This last several hours. I was awake at 7 and still not feeling great. The redness I get is on top of toe knuckle (is there any such thing?!? Hope you know what I mean).. finger knuckles and what looks like swelling but it isn't. It is just fuller and when you press, it leaves a white mark..

    I go to Thailand in a fortnight and am hoping the hot weather and break from picking up the baby will do me the world of good. If I wasn't so worried about aggravating my stomach ulcer whilst out there (and needing treatment in a foreign hospital), I'd be on the alcohol too!! Straight away!