Well you have a couple of different conditions and the main thing to do is to take the disease modifying drugs the doc has prescribed for you. They sometimes take a while to work so that is where prednisone would come in handy to give some relief till drugs start to work. You are correct in that you wouldnt want to take pred. long term. If the drugs are not helping after a few months you should insist on another treatment from your dr. There are many differnt ones to try. It can be depressing but I think if you stick with the treatment you will feel better. I have RA and take enbrel. I must be very disciplined and take injections 2x week. Also, I try to walk as much as possible and watch diet very carefully. You will not feel better if you dont make health a priority. Hope you feel better soon.