Arthritis questions

carla17(Z7 NC)June 14, 2006

I have moderate arthritis in both my hands. Years ago when seeing an ortho doc for something else we briefly discussed one hand. He was telling me about a very involved surgery.

Should I see a Rhumatologist to determine which arthritis I have? I've been seeing those commercials that say Rhumatoid could damage your joints over time. What say you? I can just see the future now, no use of my hands. Why did I inherit these bad joints. I have no desire to take more medicine unless I'm in dire straights. Did I spell Rhumatoid correctly?



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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Carla, you need to see a doctor to keep from worrying about it. Many years ago I had symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It took years to be cleared and for it to be evident that I didn't have it. But one thing is for sure. My doctor said that many many people have it, and never say a word about it. He said that when people know you have it, you often hear endless stories about how awful it is. He said that what I was fearing affected about 5% of the people with it. The other 95% of the people go on about their daily lives, taking meds, and mostly doing what they want.

Your hands could hurt for many reasons - carpal tunnel syndrome for one. You need to know whether to rest or exercise your hands. Possibly there are medications that could help. Aspirin is often prescribed. Also, I take Glucosamine Chondroitin because I often get stiffness and pains in my hands.

Ask your doctor or find one you are comfortable with and ask him/her.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 4:26PM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Sammy, I've had both carpal tunnel surgeries. On the left hand the arthritis is in the main thumb joint. Stays permanently swollen. I used a garden claw today which I know is stupid but it didn't bother too much. I'm going to ask my family doc to get me a referral. Last time at the compounding pharmacy, I bought some Glucosamine plus something for inflammation combined. I'm only worried that more damage is being done but all arthritis worsens until the joint is ultimately destroyed doesn't it? That is what was wrong with my jaw, very little cushioning in joint I think. Did your daughter ever get help with her jaw problem?


    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 4:33PM
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Carla, I would definitely go see a doctor. Rhumatoid arthritis runs quite heavy in my family. My Grandmother was an invalid from it. She must have had every joint in her body replaced by the time she passed away. I would go and see what could be done before anymore damage is done. Don't want to scare you sweetie, but this is really nothing to play around with. Mama has arthritis now in both her hands, she can't quilt much anymore. And quilting was her life. I have had carpul tunnel surgery on both my hands too, I had it when I was 39-40 years old.

I am terrified of psoriasis can be a b*$&h I have been told.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 4:54PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Carla, thanks for asking about my daughter. She has had an amazing amount of help. She had a team of doctors working with her, and even though the neurologist was in control, the physical therapist did the most work with my daughter. Her jaw was out of the joint. The physical therapist moved it back. She couldn't chew for a year, and it is much better now.

Her headaches begin in her back, move up, and hit the muscle at the side of the neck. It begins to quivver and vibrate, and starts the headache. The spasms hit the ear, and jaw, and by the time they reach the top of her head, she is in terrible pain. She has learned many techniques for handling this. I am so proud of her.

Good luck to you.

I hope you get help. Once you know what it is, there are many books and specialists you can find to help you.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 6:30PM
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widgets2000(z6 PA)

Carla, my mother has RA. It started coming on in the late 1970s. She's been in a wheelchair for 7 years and a nurse has to visit her twice a day. Before the disease took her joints there was no treatment and the damage is irreversible. Now they have good medications for it. Please make sure you rule this out at least.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 7:05PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I was screened for it in the 70's, and that is when they watched me. It was about 5 years ending in about 1977. The one thing that the Rheumatologist kept saying was to refuse steroids. At that time they had begun to realize that the steroids that they had been giving for the arthritis were very damaging.

Rob, I am very sorry to hear about your Mom. Do you happen to know if your Mom is incapacitated from arthritis or osteoporosis? Or do they eventually just run together.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 8:51PM
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So sorry to read about your arthritis. My great grandfather had it so bad that is basically crippled him. Good news was that it didn't affect him until late in life and you have options that our dearly departed didn't have. My advice is to go see your doctor and find out for sure what kind of arthritis you have before making any decisions.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 9:45PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Yes, definitely go to get advice about what does what!

That's one silver lining about my back... nothing is degenerating or changing when it hurts, just nerves that are whacky! I do have to watch injuring it further, and that's what I see you asking??

Yep, pain meds and more injury is not a good long-term plan... find out whether that happens and what to do about it!

Steroid shots are a great example... they helped a bit with mine but really don't seem worth it long-term, so I don't get them. I will for a special trip, etc. but not as a usual therapy for something chronic.

I think it's very good to think about the later effects of these things rather than brushing it off or just taking OTC meds, etc.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 4:21AM
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barb422(z6 UT)

Yes definitely see a Rheumatologist. You want to find out which kind it is. Osteoarthritis is the wear and tear kind, the joints get damaged by injury or use. Rheumatoid is different in that your immune system attacks your joints. IF you have RA, successful treatment it will help prevent irreversible damage to your joints. I have RA; it came on when I was 25, very quickly. I couldn't function normally. If I were not on medication I would be crippled right now. I agree with Meredith, OTC meds may help with pain but they won't prevent the damage that RA can cause.

I would also not recommend steroids (cortisone shots). I had one once in my wrist and the pain from the shot was as bad or worse than the arthritis pain.

RA is characterized by symmetrical joint pain, meaning joints on both sides of the body involved, both hands, feet, knees, etc.

See the doctor and good luck. It's best to know what you're dealing with. Take care and hope you feel better soon.

Here is a link that might be useful: RA at WebMD, there's a link for OA on the same page

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 11:04AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

One of my closest friends has RA. She is about 55 years old, and came down with it when she was about 18. She leads a full life as a school counselor. Her computer and chair set up is different to accommodate her hands. She has surgery from time to time on her hands, but still functions fully.

It is as Barb says. Usually with this type of arthritis, it comes on suddenly.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 12:31PM
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Carla - ditto what everybody else said - time to go find a doctor! make sure it is somebody who takes the time to listen as well as talk...

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 8:12AM
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RA is the worst kind and isn't it caused by an immune disorder? I have see children have this, and it runs in families. It can be a crippler. Osteoarthritis is painful, my hubby has spinal arthritis, and he exercises all the time. I think osteo is helped by exercise, but don't quote me. It's very late.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 12:18AM
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Hey Carla! My 1st thought was... she was working in the garden lol

After digging 140 roses plus just as many perennials, plus painting almost every room in the house, my hands are killing me too.

Did you used to take Vioxx? Took me years to stop hurting so bad after they stopped it. It's probably why my back is so bad... My hands, one day they stopped being overly swollen and stopped hurting so much. No clue why. I wish they'd let us decide about Vioxx. It helped so much, I'd like to be the one that decides whether I'd risk the side effects, not the government.

I never had luck with Glucosamine or the other (can't remember the name). Go to a good pharmacy (local neighborhood one) or a health food store, they'll know what you want if you want to go natural. I used to go to the vitamin shop, (link below) they're pretty knowledgeable too.

Don't put off calling the doc. Let us know how it goes

Here is a link that might be useful: Vitamin shop

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 6:02PM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Wow, what an old thread. Recently when I had blood work, I had the doc test for something something to do with factors in Rhumetoid. I'm not a transcriptionist. I do not have Rhuematiod. Anyway, I'm going to see a hand specialist or another doc this summer. It's not too bad now but in winter it should be.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 7:57PM
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farmgirl(9 NoCA)

Osteoarthritis can begin with an injury or repetitive motion. In my case, my OA in the spine is from scoliosis, causing uneven wear on the discs. Ice therapy reduces the swelling which takes the pressure off the nerves and relieves the pain. Heat helps loosen stiff joints and that relieves pain. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Ibuprophen and Naproxyn work but also have the potential for kidney damage if taken over a long period. I have found that wraps and/or braces help from over-working the affected joint and that helps reduce pain. Some non-traditional methods like acupuncture, Bowen Massage therapy and chiropractic adjustments are just as valid as drug therapy. I've even tried an older anti-depressant, Nortriptyline, that helped with nerve pain. Anything to keep flexible and mobile.

However, I do believe that some drs. will diagnose arthritis as a blanket statement for various joint ailments including tendonitis, "slight" joint dislocations and strained muscles. I wonder what my dr. will say is causing the strange lump on the side of my wrist that behaves like arthritis but isn't. Dare I suggest a ganglion nerve cyst? Before I see my dr., I try all the available OTC remedies in an effort to reduce the symptoms. By then, I've narrowed down the possibilites and eliminated the "have you tried...?" scenarios. Lessens the probability that I will be brushed off.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 10:48AM
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Wow, what an old thread

lol, I didn't even look at the date on the 1st post when I read it.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 12:08PM
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