Is it RA or OA

Undergroundbarbie Member Posts: 3
edited 13. Jan 2020, 10:41 in News
My GP says it’s OA but my symptoms suggest RA, it cam on suddenly about 4 months ago, woke one morning and my hands were in excruciating pain, to the point where it made me cry, I couldn’t bend my fingers or grip anything, it’s been like that most mornings since and lasts throughout the day, although it does hurt less as day goes on. I don’t appear to have any major swelling, although there are days when I can’t get my rings off, but to press my knuckles is tender. I had bloods done and X-ray, nothing showed in blood work and X-ray showed arthritis. Generally I feel fatigued, appetite comes and goes and sleep pattern is non existent . I do yoga most days, the latest thing I’ve noticed is that even the soles of my feet hurt when I get up, ankles and wrists also seem to be feeling some discomfort now. Should I go back to GP, is she going to tell me anything different. Paracetamol doesn’t seem to do much. Any ideas.


  • moderator
    moderator Moderator Posts: 4,085
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00

    Welcome to the Versus Arthritis forum. Here you will find the members are friendly, offer advice and tips they have found useful, they support each other and emphasis with,you.
    I am one of the moderation team, we all have one or more of the Arthritis 'hanger ons' or look after family with the same.

    A visit to your GP could probably help you to understand these new symptoms, and also explain why he diagnosed osteoarthritis.
    You have had your blood tests and X-rays, osteoarthritis doesn't show up on the blood test but rheumatoid arthritis usually does.
    There are several members on this forum who have both conditions and will be able to explain to you about both.

    At the top of the page you will see several buttons which when pressed will open up lists of the many subjects Versus Arthritis covers. Also if you feel that you would like to talk to someone "one to one" there is the very helpful freephone you can ring. The number is 0800 520 0520. There is just one thing to remember - there is no one on here or on the phone that is medically trained, so if you need medical information you should seek the help and advise of one of your medical team.

    I look forward to reading future posts from you and to seeing how you are getting on.

    Best wishes
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,253
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello and welcome from me too. I am one of the forum members who has both RA and OA though Mod ChrisK might be being both kind and optimistic in suggesting I could explain the conditions :wink: Here goes, anyway.

    OA can arise for several reasons and there is still much research to be done on it. It can certainly start at the site of a former trauma or due to repeated overuse of a joint but sometimes just out of the blue. RA is an auto-immune (aka inflammatory) form of arthritis. It often has a genetic component ie if there are other family members with any autoimmune disease you are more likely to get an autoimmune disease. But not always. And it, too, can arise out of the blue.

    My OA started due to years of damage by the RA. My RA, way back, made me ill when flaring. It was like flu and I was exhausted. Only allowed into school when I had an exam. My joints were hot and swollen. Now that I'm finally on disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) life is much easier. The OA is a simpler beast. It hurts when I've overdone things. End of. A spot of rest usually allows it to settle down.

    RA and OA show different changes on x-rays. GPs don't always get it right but they do usually. Also, the blood tests that GPs do aren't conclusive insofar as some autoimmune forms of arthritis are sero-negative so a negative result doesn't necessarily mean it's OA. But it usually does.

    Many things can cause fatigue including all forms of arthritis especially if you're not sleeping well. (Is that due to pain? Anxiety?) and a lack of Vitamin D )

    I think most of us on here, whatever our form of arthritis, find that paracetamol alone doesn't do much though I did find recently that, in combination with other meds, it can work really well.

    I find, when in doubt, GPs are really good at explaining things. If it's OA then there's not a lot they can do other than prescribe meds and physio. The rest is mostly up to us. I use distraction a lot. I do exercises every other day, varying them according to how things are. Learning to live with it is, to a large extent, learning to ignore it but finding gadgets to make life easier.

    By the way, for years I have worn my wedding ring round my neck ever since hearty handshakes became excruciatingly painful :o:lol:
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Undergroundbarbie
    Undergroundbarbie Member Posts: 3
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you both for your responses, I guess my GP is probably correct in her diagnosis after reading what you have to say, I guess I just panicked thinking if she was wrong I wouldn’t get the treatment I’d need. This morning my hands are throbbing like mad but I will do my yoga and move on with it. Thank you.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,253
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Whatever type of arthritis we have we tread a fine line between overdoing things and 'underdoing' them. If your hands are hurting maybe you've done to much with them. Try to ease up on them for a while. Does the yoga put a strain on them? Sometimes it's the things we love most that are to blame. If you continue to have doubts or worries do ask your GP to explain things a bit and maybe prescribe some pain relief or anti-inflammatories.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in my fingers and elbows, osteoarthritis in my wrists and one shoulder. Pain? Constant. Does anything ease it? Often but not by very much. My hands and elbows sometimes need ice when the PsA is playing up, the OA prefers heat. So far I have not had to do both at the same time but I daresay it will.

    You may learn more about dealing with OA by reading through posts on the Say Hello or Living With Arthritis boards on here. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Jackie47
    Jackie47 Member Posts: 108
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi. I have RA and OA. My RA is sero positive ( blood test confirmed this) . I have both in my hands and pain is pain whatever it is and I don’t know where one starts and one ends.Not everyone diagnosed with RA has a positive blood test but signs and symptoms usually confirm this. My Dr’s original diagnosis was Gout. Anyway fortunately for me I saw a Rheumatologist. Being in a lot of pain makes you tired and fatigued. Medication is different and painkillers given for both. RA is an auto immune disease whereas OA is wear and tear. There are exercises you can do which your Dr will give you if you ask. Hope you can get on top of this before too long