I have three questions for anyone with time to answer.
After endometrioma surgery in Nov 2000, all my joints suddenly became stiff and my feet and hands occasionally were puffy after resting. At the same time a tendon swelled in rt hand that wouldn't allow the finger to straiten. All blood tests were normal (sed rate and RA factor) for arthritic conditions but docs still think I have RA. Ibuprofin, Celebrex and Vioxx have kept the swelling and stiffness at bay in most my body except the hands.
Now both wrists are inflamed (though not red) and the tendons in both hands ache thru to wrists when cupping or gripping and I've lost the ability to turn door handles or jar tops. I now cannot sleep because my wrists and forearms throb and fingers fall asleep with pain shooting up to the back of my elbow where my funny bone is. My rheummy thinks it's CTS but the numbness is mostly in my ring finger and middle, unlike CTS being mostly in the first 3 fingers. Has anyone ever had CTS as a complication of RA? And has anyone ever developed RA factor and Sed rate only later as the disease progressed? I wonder if my case is somewhat mild and therefore not showing in bloodwork.
The information about elimination diets is encouraging but I only made it 2 days without gluten before my will power broke and I wolfed down a big, bready sandwich. I have heard about allergy testing now that uses blood (rather than skin) to reveal food allergies. The one I checked on costs ~$800. Has anyone found this type of procedure reliable?
The pain you describe up to your elbows sounds similar to what happened to me. I've had carpal tunnel for many yrs., but it only bothered me sporadically so I lived with it. I would have a spell of maybe 2-5 days of waking up during the night because of severe numbness, mostly just my hands. Then, I wouldn't have a problem for a few months. About 5 months ago, I started having the pain you describe, really severe all the way to the elbows. My hands would stay somewhat numb for hrs. after I was up. Couldn't use my wrists for anything. I got worried and went to the Dr. He just prescribed anti-inflammatories and told me to wear the wrist braces at night. Helped with the severe pain, but the numbnes would still be there. Then all of a sudden, my fingertips started freezing and turning white. Anyway, I insisted on some tests......My ANA test was positive for connective tissue disorder. Up to that point, he said I had CTS and Raynauds. He ran more ANA specific tests and they all came back negative, but he referred me to a rheumy dr. The rheumy ran more tests, RA, sed rate, etc. They all came back neg. too (sed rate was borderline), but he diagnosed me with RA and some other autoimmune diseases. He said the tests don't always show it and that he also relies on your history, symptoms, and a physical exam. I had a lot of other symptoms too. He said he felt that because the other tests were neg. that I had a better chance of not developing the more severe form of RA. With all the dxs. I have now though, I don't know which one is responsible for the hand & wrist problem. I'm not sure the dr. does either.
One thing about the surgery you had.......I've never heard of it, but I assume that it has something to do with endometriosis. Anyway, one thing I've learned in all my research is that hormones affect or trigger flares with many of the autoimmune diseases of which RA is one.
Hope you find some answers and relief! Come back and share them too, Ann
Thanks for your feedback. I have been wondering about hormone imbalances myself because of the impeccable timing of these occurances. The all over body/joint pain and swelling occurred immediately after surgery. However, in the year prior to it, I gradually had more knee and hip stiffness building while the endometriosis was getting worse. I am curious if anyone has ever tried hormone therapy on arthritis or FM (fybromyalgia) symptoms. The statistics show many more females suffer these diseases than do males. I would love to see a survey of how many women develope these symptoms after historectomies or ovarian surgeries and whether or not the symptoms go away as their ovaries heal.
I have RA and have also noticed a definate link between flare ups and my hormonal cycle. I have discussed this with my rheumatologist and have tried several contraceptive pills in an attempt to stop the flare ups with no success - one pill even made the flare ups worse. A close friend of mine has had joint inflammation for the last 3 years and as yet is undiagnosed but during her recent pregnancy she was free of all pain and symptoms, although weeks after the birth all symptoms have returned. According to my rheumatologist this is quite common.
I had forgotten about the severe pain & numbness in my hands & wrists I had two years ago until reading your post. When it would flair up it would last 3 days, the first being the worst, could not sleep. Would sit in my recliner & cry the pain was so bad. I haven't had that happen recently. I have RA, was negative testing for two years and this last spring went postive. I'm on humira now and am free of pain except for some swelling in my wrists, one elbow and some fingers...by the time I got on humira I had RA in every joint. Could hardly get out of bed and got around like I was 100 years old. I still have days where turning a door knob is difficult but most are good. Also just started on plageunil to get the rest of the swelling down.
I have tried elimination diets and all kinds of other natural routes. Most worked for awhile then I would flair up again. The diet probably worked the best. I did have the blood allergy test done and was shocked to discover I had lots of allergies. And they do effect my arthritis. If I binge on chocolate, one of my higher scoring allergies, I can expect major flair up in my wrists...made that mistake once! Beef also effects me if I eat it too often, and I am a rancher!!