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Awaiting diagnosis

Hi all, I am new here and would love some advice if possible. My GP referred me to rheumatology clinic due to my inflammatory markers coming back slightly but unusually higher than normal. The problem began in my knees roughly 18 months ago, I developed a stiffness when kneeling or crossing my legs and this was really painful. I then became pregnant in December 2018 and the pain didn't progress (I had the usual pregnancy back aches and pains from carrying extra weight). I gave birth to my baby boy in August last year and from around October /November time I have developed severe pain throughout my body, mainly after resting. It started in my fingers and wrists but has progressed to my back and legs. Of a morning I almost feel as though my bones in my back are broken and it takes some time after waking before I can even get out of bed. I have to do it in stages; sit upright first, stretch my legs out, before eventually standing slowly as I regain strength in my legs. 
During the day, if I sit down for more than a 5 minutes, standing again is difficult as my legs and ankles are so sore and weak as I try to stand again.
Can anybody confirm whether these are possible signs of rheumatoid arthritis? I have now had my x rays and bloods re done at Rheumatology clinic and they have said that the x rays are negative for RA and inflammatory markers were fine although ESR slightly raised so they want to see me back at the clinic and I will have to await an appointment as I'm on a waiting list.
I am due back to work from maternity leave next month and I just want to feel normal again as right now, everything is such hard work as I am in constant pain. Even holding my little one as he gets bigger is so difficult. It's really getting me down. Has anybody had the same results as myself? I just don't know what is wrong with me x

Comments

  • Hi kelly2306

    Welcome to the forum,you are going through a lot at the moment what with the pain and having a baby and trying to look after him with all the diagnosis tests you are having done it must be hard for you.Maybe going back to the GP would help to see what else it could be,it certainly sounds like Rhumatoid symptoms, but your GP would know. If you need to speak with someone from Versus Arthritis for advice you can telephone our help line on 0800 5200 520. Alternately there may be someone on the forums that could help as well and give you advice. Just look around the forums and please keep in touch to tell us how you get on.

    All the best Christine

  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,556 ✭✭✭

    Hello, I cannot help because I do not have RA and, through choice, have never had children. What I can say, however, is that GPs are not necessarily aware that there are varieties of auto-immune inflammatory arthritis and it is good that yours has referred you to rheumatology. GPs know a little about a lot, you need someone who knows a lot about a little.

    I was born in 1959 with an auto-immune inflammatory condition, eczema, and developed another, asthma, when I was seven so the arthritis is no surprise: they are all on the same spectrum. Pregnancy is a known trigger for starting an inflammatory arthritis but it can start for any reason and go into a temporary remission whilst the female body is occupied with doing something else. I was eventually diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis which is one of the sero-negative kinds, i.e. rheumatoid factor was not present in my bloods but my inflammatory markers were frequently in the 160s and 170s. The difficulties getting out of bed and stiffening up when sitting has been my norm for over twenty years but it must be harder for you as it is still a relatively new experience. I am sorry you find yourself in this situation, please let me know how you get on. DD

    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Hi @Kelly2306 and welcome to the forum from me as well 😊

    Your various different appointments, possible diagnoses and getting pregnant and having a baby all at the same time sound really exhausting and stressful. You've asked if the symptoms you've described could be Rheumatoid Arthritis as you have had higher inflammatory markers in the past.

    Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can include:

    • swollen and tender joints
    • swelling and stiffness in joints in the morning that lasts for longer than half an hour
    • severe tiredness, also called fatigue
    • a general feeling of being unwell.

    See this page for more information on RA:

    I'd also look at some other types of arthritis, like Fibromyalgia, as a possibility, but definitely talk to your GP and ask for referrals to specialists if the RA diagnosis comes back negative and you still need help. Don't give up and stay assertive that you do need help.

    Calling our helpline as Christine suggested - they are open Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 8:00pm on 0800 5200 520 - would be a way of finding some advice and having someone to talk things through with you.

    There are a number of ways you can cope with pain long term - from distraction techniques, to exercise (like your stretching before you get up) as well as different painkillers. This page may help you with looking at different ways of managing your pain. The nhs also suggests staying as active as you can, with gentle exercises and working if possible.

    I'm glad you came here, there's lots of information on the website which could help and the people of the forum are very friendly and helpful. Have a look around and join in with some of the other discussions, I'm sure you'll find something helpful or interesting.

    It's nice to meet you, Shell xxx

  • Hi Kelly2306,

    Best brace yourself for a plethora of tests, x rays and scans, my R/A outpatients dept were very thorough, but these things take time, bare with them, they will get to the bottom of your problem, hopefully you will test negative.

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