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Swelling & joint pain, but normal blood work?

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So, since I was a small child I suffered from back pain, and numbness, swelling and pain in my wrists and fingers. I dealt with it fine until around a year ago when the pain, and swelling worsened, and I became constantly stiff. I also developed the pain and swelling in my knees, along my shoulder blades, and occasionally in my ankles. Some mornings I can hardly get out of bed. I went in a couple of time last year to talk to a doctor who said he thought it might be rheumatoid arthritis. He tested for it, and his nurse called me and told me something along the lines of "level being elevated(I don't have much knowledge about it, sorry for incorrect terms and such)..but you should be fine, it is probably just from taking tylenol and ibuprofen." I was to embarrassed to go back in because I thought I might just be baby. But things only got worse, so I went back to my childhood doctor. I told him everything, including lupus and arthritis in relatives. He did A LOT of blood work. I came back today and he said all my blood tests came back normal, except for one strange blood test. I forgot what the blood test was called. He asked me if there was a possibility that I had an STD, but there is not. So he said there is a possibility of me having an arthritic condition in the future. Now that I think about it, I should have questioned him more, because that is really to vague. Anyone know what kind of blood test this might of been? He also checked for signs of fibromyalgia, and I do not appear to have that either.

Anyway, he is putting me on Prednisone for a week. 15 mg twice a day for 7 days. If it helps with my issues, than he will do further testing. But if not, than he will put me on Tramadol and go from there.

I'm just feeling so lost. sad2 I don't know if I'm just being a huge baby, or if there is something wrong. I really just don't want to feel this way anymore. Anyone else suffering from something similar, or anyone know what might be going on?
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replied February 27th, 2013
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shaunbon1994,

Sorry you are having problems.


Unfortuantely, there are so many tests that this could have been, it is not possible to tell you which one was a little off (even if it was assoiciated with an STD, there are so many of them).

But, it is interesting that your physician put you on steroids with normal inflammatory markers. If your inflammatory markers had been elevated (the ESR and CRP), then the chances of you having an inflammatory arthropathy goes way up (even if your RF and ANA are normal - the tests for rheumatoid and lupus). There are many inflammatory arthropathies which do not have any serological markers (no blood tests for them), so they have to be diagnosed on the patient's history, symptoms, and examination.

But, it is good that it is only a short course of prednisone. If the steroids help, then you may have an inflammatory condition, but it would be very strange without the elevated inflammatory markers.

If the prednisone does not work, then it is very doubtful that you have an inflammatory condition.

However, if you continue to have the multiple joint problems, you might benefit from an evaluation by a rheumatolotist. But, again, without elevated inflammatory markers, most rheumatologists will not diagnose an inflammatory condition. But, it might be worth a try.

Good luck.
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