I went to the doctors a few days ago with severe joint stiffness and pain. I have never experienced anything like it before. It began three months ago in my legs and feet after a two day flu like illness. At first it was intermittent and gradually over the last two months spread to my hands, fingers and most joints. It became very severe Monday and I was having problems with mobility and some fever and very lethargic and weak. My joints have been clicking and I felt as if my body had aged 20 years in a short space of time. I am exhausted from carrying out very simple tasks and my joints and muscles are sore to the touch. More worrying a few days ago I started to have difficulty lifting a cup or grasping objects and my hands began to lose flexibility. The symptoms seemed to occur quite rapidly and then disappear but over the last week they were constant. they began to feel inflammed and hot although no visible inflammation.
I went to a new doctors practice (as I am new to the are) who ran a blood test. I received a call today from the receptionist to say I had strep in my blood and was given a ten day course of antibiotics and told to come back in two weeks. Today I started the course but am also having some slight chest pain although this is intermittent and may be due to neck pain due to stiff joints in my back and neck(I cant be sure). I am aware that rheumatic fever can be associated with positive strep test however I do not wish to over-react but as these symptoms are unlike anything I have ever experienced I also want to ensure I ask the correct questions.
At the moment I unclear as to what my doctor is treating me for. I have not had a sore throat or anything to suggest strep, only a slight one beginning today (ironically the day I began my antibiotics). I have had strep in the past and suffered from sever sore throat and this does not feel anything like that. My last bought of strep was a year ago.
I am therefore wondering if when I go back for a second blood test and there is no strep present does this mean I am in the clear? I am also wondering what my doctor thinks this is particularly why strep can cause the extreme the arthritic symptoms I experienced?
I am hoping for some guidance to ensure I ask the right questions when I go back in for my next appointment particularly as this is a new doctor that I do not as yet have an ongoing relationship with (I guess I don't want to feel silly and over-react when this may just be a simple infection)!
Hi there - we still are not to the bottom of it although fortunately I am over the worse of the chest pain. I actually ended up going back to the docs as the chest pain became worse. They did begin treating for rheumatic fever and I was given prednisone and a shot of penicillin but as it is rare in adults they made a 'suspected diagnosis' and wanted me to see a Rheum immediately. They also re-ran blood tests. ASO level was still rising however subsequent doctors have told me it is not specific to strep and may suggest another infection which is why it is important to have this looked into further. My second blood tests showed very elevated liver enzymes so I am glad I went back to the first doctor.
I also ended up with a multitude of other symptoms including numb blue numb feet and my hair started falling out, a croup like cough and enlarged lymph nodes and unexplained bruising (to name but a few)! On reflection I have had some of these symptoms for several months apart from the joint and chest pain.
I have now been ill for over 5 weeks which is unheard of for me and the odd thing was how quickly the symptoms would come and go.I also started to take electrolyte drinks and cut down on my fluid intake as I found drinking too much tended to spark a flare - however as my liver was implicated in some way this may have been because of that.
I was referred to a Rheumatologist - who ran panels for auto immune. Despite the steroids - my ASO was still rising although liver enzymes had come down a little. I had an echocadriogram and a multitude of other tests which again were all clear. They have now passed me to an infectious disease specialist to see if there is an infection or if it is indeed an auto-immune which the blood tests aren't showing right now.
I have been told doctors are not very keen to diagnose rheumatic fever in adults so they are now looking at another infection/virus or auto immune. I hear auto immune can be very difficult to diagnose. I am also seeing a dermatologist for some of the skin problems I have been having during this.
I really sympathize with your daughter - it was a very scary time for me and the fact I am still not better makes me realize this may not be something to be ignored. I will let you know if I have any luck with the infectious disease specialist. I do know if it is Rheumatic fever long term course of antibiotics may be required so it really would be worth pursuing this further in your daughters case to rule out other types of infection first. Let me know if you manage to get to the bottom of this and my best wishes to your daughter.
The symptoms you describe are also symptoms of Lyme Disease (and some Lyme Suffers from my research today can have chronic strep). Please contact www.NatCapLyme.org for a lyme literate doctor in your area. There is a huge controversy in the lyme world now so you will want to talk with her. contact me for more info if you wish. Tests are not very accurate. need a knowledgeable person to diagnose you.
Hi There- I am researching into some extreme body pain I experienced this last week. I have never been in so much pain. Most of my joints hurt and my muscles were weak. I felt very run down and tired. I would say my pain level was about an 8 out of 10. The worst was in my back ( lower and between the shoulders) knees and hands. At the worst time, my ankles, wrists and neck hurt as well. I had no cold symptoms and no fever. I voice was slightly gone(sort of raspy). This lasted for about 4 days. I then saw a Chiropractor who thought I had a strep infection. I have been taking a high dose immune supplement which seems to have taken the pain away. I am wondering if something more sinister is just lying low at the moment. I was greatly relieved to find your post! I have been having a hard time finding any connection to extreme body pain and strep. Have you had any more advances or information concerning your illness?
The same thing happened to me when I was about 32 yrs old and I am 42 now. I had a bad case of strep throat (that I was not aware). I thought I had a simple cold and waited about 2 or 2 1/2 weeks to go to the doctor. The day I finally went, I got up out of bed and had severe joint pain, that I fell off of me bed onto the floor and couldn't get back up. . . The doctor said that I had a strep throat infection that had passed to my bloodstream and started affecting my joints. Because of that, I developed a form of "temporary" Rheumatoid Arthritis that would take at least 12 months to go away. I was treated for the strep throat & took Celebrex and was seeing an arthritis specialist until it finally went away. . . I now have slight, permanent joint damage and need to take a daily supplement of Glusamine for joint mobility. If I do not take this supplement, my joints start popping and making noise. You need to stay on top of this so it doesn't get worse. God Bless.