Re: Negative tests, so what is it?
I don't get a lot of redness or swelling, but mainly the shooting pain....toes, ankles, knees, hips, elbows and shoulders. So I understand. X-rays will only help if there has been damage but if you have them done and you don't have damage, that doesn't mean that you don't have RA. It may just tell you more about how advanced you are with the disease. In my case I have Scleritis that did damage my right eye and severe chronic dry eye...both are immune diseases and will be seen in someone with RA.
I walke up and my whole body is stiff, hurting at every joint and extremely fatigued. I have to wait a while before getting up and then I take a hot shower to loosen up. Nothing can make the fatigue go away when I'm having a bad flare. My fingers do swell pretty bad and I can't make a fist....doctors can feel the swelling. It's the first thing that they do at each visit. I'm on MTX and Humira and my flares have been greatly reduced. I still can't walk the mall, but 5 months after starting MTX, I made my first trip to Sam's Club in years and I was able to walk and feel normal.
I think that we each experience the disease differently depending on our own bodies and how aggressive it is. I have talked to some that have damage to their joints, but they don't experience the pain in most of the other joints and some don't experience the severe fatigue.
Keep pushing your doctors for answers and learn what you can before you see the rheumy...if your primary does order x-rays make sure to bring them with you and have the rheumy review them too.