feedback on arthritis

  1. I don't want to play doctor and diagnose anyone. What I would like to know, from those who have it, is how do you describe your symptoms? What does it feel like?

    What language is sufficient to get across to others, like maybe a doctor or a spouse, the changes that your joints don't let you ignore?

    The reason for this is that my hands don't like me anymore and I am trying to figure out how to put this into words for my awesome doc, and also my husband has a really difficult time understanding my "pain that isn't pain." If I could paint a verbal picture of it, I already would have.
    Last edit by Indy on Oct 14, '12 : Reason: it needed to make sense
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    About Indy

    Joined: Apr '04; Posts: 1,483; Likes: 1,002
    Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in ICU, telemetry, LTAC


  3. by   Melela
    My complaint to my doctors was a few descriptions. First off- I constantly felt my aching joints. They ached incessantly. Then they'd swell off and on. Also, my hands feel tight sometimes- like a claustrophobic feeling almost. That was enough to get X-rays and be confirmed with osteoarthritis. However, that only explains some of the dull joint aches- not the different, more distinct pains I get at time in smaller joints. I'm sorry you're in pain. I'm able to keep on trucking, but I'm a new nursing student and wonder what the future holds for me with this- I'm only 33 btw. Good luck!
  4. by   poppycat
    A little over a year ago I started having pain in every part of my body (I told the doctor that even my hair hurt!). This started after a bout with a stomach bug. After a month of not being able to do anything but lie in bed & cry, my doctor sent me to a rheumatologist who did some testing & decided I have RA. She completely understood the "even my hair hurts" thing. Most people who don't have problems with chronic pain will not be able to understand what you're talking about no matter how you describe it to them. You just have to be persistent in telling your doctor, husband, & everyone else how much you hurt & how it's limiting what you can do.
  5. by   Indy
    Hm. The reason my husband and I usually are talking about it is, either sex or the gym. I do NOT exercise just for the sake of it, but I will do things that involve it and take my mind off it. Sex actually helps, endorphins are good! And currently I catch myself doing adaptive things with my hands at work. So I do have to have a talk with my doc. I'm kinda reluctant to, it seems that there is always something going on but that must be life after forty. I had a patient with RA cry not too long ago when I repositioned her and I apologized, but she said it was because she was so happy that I was gentle with her hands.

    I think the comment about tightness was particularly helpful. Thanks.
  6. by   XmasShopperRN
    Melela, your description of OA is spot on. My hands especially, but many of my joints become so tight that the only thing that seems to relieve the tightness is knuckle/joint cracking. It's only a temporary fix, and I wonder what damage is being done to the joint...
  7. by   Indy
    I have spoken with my doc and we've done some preliminary labs. In my opinion she did about 1/3 of what I can remember the workup to be. So far the only thing that's showing up is a high platelet count. She wants me to see a rheumatologist because she says it's been creeping up every time; in the meantime she ok'd increase in my aspirin intake. Yay. For me the decrease in grip strength seems to be constant, the pain is intermittent but occurs every day, and my ring fingers are beginning to deform. Cracking the knuckles does not relieve anything, it feels like it might be a good idea but if I am dumb enough to do it, it makes the pain a lot worse. Talk about breaking a habit the hard way! I am wondering how my elderly patients manage to be so good at making friends with this type of thing, many of them say of course it hurts, but that's life.