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Author Topic: joint pain, illness, unhelpful doctors?
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Neophyte
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Allo...

For the past year or so (I'm 18 now) I've been having a lot of joint pain throughout my body. It seems to quiet down for about a month between episodes, but when it hits, it hits hard.

This is a major problem because it knocks me out of commission for at least a few days so I end up losing shifts and I can't afford to lose hours like I have in the past.

But like I said, it hits hard. The first day I feel like I have the flu - I am feverish, weak, disoriented, and just have a general malaise. The next day I wake up and my joints (all over my body) are so stiff and painful that I have trouble moving and I am without energy. The days that follow I can't really get out of bed because I have zero energy and the pain is so intense.

My general practitioner gave me a referral to a rheumatologist, and this in itself took months before I was finally referred.

The appointment was three days ago. He asked me which joints hurt, palpated my wrists, and then told me... wait for this...

I need to get more exercise. I told him I get plenty, as I cycle daily as it is my main form of transport. He told me I should exercise more and that I might as well stop taking the anti-inflammatories my GP prescribed because he didn't see it making a difference.

My bloodwork hasn't shown anything abnormal.

I cried after I left, it was so distressing. I don't know what to do anymore. I feel he didn't believe that anything was wrong, that I was imagining it all.

More exercise? That can't be all. Or can it? I don't even know anymore. In the interim between episodes I still have joint pain and get fatigued easily, though I have to push past it. I'm eighteen and I feel like I have the body of an eighty year old. Last winter I had to use a cane when my hips were affected really badly.

What am I to do? Get more exercise? I need much advice.

Thanks in advance to anyone who responds. Anything is helpful.

Posts: 14 | From: canada | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dailicious
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I am so sorry you had such a horrible experience with that doctor, hon! A specialist is a specialist for a reason, and anyone who writes off a condition without looking into deeper causes is NOT doing their job?

Honestly, people get less exercise than you do (cycling each day is a great form of activity!) and their joints are fine, and considering the fluish symptoms you're getting and how often this happens there HAS to be another cause.

Is it at all possible you could get a referral to a different rheumatologist? (I know that has to seem a bit daunting with the wait times, but if you could get a new referral, you could try calling the office directly and explaining your situation and how you were treated beforehand).

X-Rays could be a good idea, just to see if there's anything visable they can look at to examine further or help explain your problems. So, if you can see another doctor, try and ask for whatever tests may be possible just to eliminate anything. Be firm with them, don't take "no" for an answer, don't let them write you off. Eliminating causes is as important as experimenting with solutions to the problem until you can find out the exact cause and treatment.

And also, just in the meantime, in terms of exercising (while I can't imagine that "more exercise" is really the answer to your problems, and I can't see that more exercise is going to cure you of this) is there a gym you can join or a way that you could get some more muscle and joint strength training? By strengthening the joints that cause you problems, it may help shorten the amount of time you're out of comission because of this, or may help make it less painful for you and easier for you to function when your joints are causing you problems.

Also, it may be good to look into alternative health methods, just to have a second alternative opinion, and because sometimes alternative rememdies can help lessen problems you're having (even if they can't offer you a permanent-fix).

Again, ugh, hon, that you had to deal with such a dismissive and unhelpful doctor after waiting all of that time! I hope that there is a doctor who IS going to listen to you and do their all to help pinpoint this problem in your close-and-coming future. *Big hugs!*

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Jean
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Djuna
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It might help to wear those electromagnetic wristwatches. My uncle had some rheumatism in his wrists and that cleared it up. That would probably only help your wrists though.
Also I found this. It was buried halfway down quite a large web page, so I've copied it in.

Rheumatic and Arthritic conditions are suffered by twenty three million Americans. Rheumatism is characterized by pain in the bones, joints, muscles, tendons or nerves, mostly in the hands, feet and arms. It is described as an autoimmune disease in which one part of the body attacks another. This includes such disorders as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, neuritis, and sciatica. Arthritis is an umbrella term that covers more than 100 joint disorders. Arthritis can affect any joint and symptoms can range from mild aches and stiffness to severe pain and crippling deformity. These conditions are marked by mineral imbalances. Calcium is a good indicator of mineralization in general. It is therefore important to avoid calcium inhibitors: excess meat or protein, intoxicants, refined sugar, too many sweets, and excess salt.

Calcium deficiency problems require a balance of all minerals. Dairy products are sometimes the cause of calcic disorders, and not the cure, due to their high fat content. Foods high in oxalic acid should also be avoided - rhubarb, cranberry, plum, chard, spinach. Nightshade family vegetables - tomato, eggplant, bell peppers, and potato - also often cause problems. To find out what aggravates the problem, eliminate all for six weeks and re-introduce them to your diet one at a time with a few days between each. If symptoms of pain or swelling increase, you know what to avoid. Otherwise, all other whole foods are generally beneficial.

Hope this helps. And that doctor was a jerk. [Smile]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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Karybu
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This might sound kind of crazy, but have you noticed any correlation between your symptoms and your menstrual cycles? Any extra information like that you can give to a doctor is going to be helpful.

As well, to second dailicious' excellent suggestion, you may want to look into alternative health methods, like a naturopath or acupuncturist. Even if it doesn't fix the root problem, it may give you some relief from the pain so you can at least function while you figure out what's going on. Keeping track of your diet may also be helpful. Is there any correlation between these episodes and what you eat? Any known food sensitivities or allergies? Again, every little bit of information can be helpful when you're dealing with something unknown like this.

Hope you get it all figured out, and I'm so sorry you had to deal with such a jerk of a doctor.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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logic_grrl
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smileyjoseph, if you're going to post information from other web pages, it's really helpful if you post the URL of the website too.

It's often hard for people to judge the validity of information without knowing where it's come from - for example, if it's from a medical site, or from someone with a product to sell, or whatever.

And of course, if it is useful, that allows people to go and explore the site themselves [Smile] .

[ 08-28-2006, 05:24 PM: Message edited by: logic_grrl ]

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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Djuna
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http://www.eat-well-to-be-well.com/diseases.htm
Sorry, it's quite far down the page so I thought people would have a hard time finding it. The whole reliability thing didn't even occur to me to be honest.

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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Neophyte
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dailicious:
Thank you so much for the support :)I'll try to get another referral, but my GP seems to really dislike doing that and will put it off for at least half a year in any case (again). But the alternative isn't nice, so I will keep on trying.
I will try to find information on strengthening exercises. Do you have any suggestions for alternative remedies? I would not know where to begin, but it is an option!

smileyjoseph:
Thank you! I have been tested for deficiency before without poor results.I will admit that I am ...skeptical about diet-cure-all claims. I will pay more attention to that in the future, perhaps look up at the library.
Do the magnet bracelets really work? How do they work?

Karybu:
Yes! The problem seems to centre around my cycle. It usually begins in the days prior to my period. I never would have thought to mention that, so thank you! I think I will start a record of my diet as well.
What is a naturopath? I have always been curious about acupuncture, but I don't know where to begin with that. Is it expensive, generally?

Thank you again. It means a lot, because when I spoke to friends and my father about what the doctor said they shrugged and said "Well that's good! Exercise is good for you! Why you complain?" ...which wasn't very empathetic and I don't think they understood at all.

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AnimalLover
Neophyte
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have you tried getting a massage because that always helps me whenever i get aches or pains in my body also if the doctor didn't help then i would go to the hospital they are much more helpfull then the doctor. Smile and be happy:)

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***Smile and the world will smile with you!***

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Djuna
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The magnetic wristwatches? I'm not sure exactly how they work, but I think they concentrate iron at your joints or something. It's called Magnetic Resonance Therapy. I'm not sure where you can buy them though, I'll ask my uncle where he got his.
If this has something to do with your cycle, it sounds like this could be an iron thing. See if upping red meat (or, if you're a vegetarian, Vitamin C) intake makes a difference.

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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blueveggie
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quote:
Originally posted by smileyjoseph:
See if upping red meat (or, if you're a vegetarian, Vitamin C) intake makes a difference.

why would taking Vit C instead of iron pills work if it's hypothetically an iron issue?....... doesnt make a whit of sense.


You could also consider taking something like MSM, which is a natural anti-inflammatory.

[Smile]

good luck!

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Karybu
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(Just to clarify, blueveggie, vitamin C greatly increases iron absorption - so that may have been what smileyjoseph was getting at.)

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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maybe
Neophyte
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Thanks for the suggestions, but as I said earlier, deficiency is not an issue. My levels are checked regularly and I have never had a problem with iron or anything else.

I thought magnetic resonance therapy was an examination technique and not a treatment. Certainly it has nothing to do with bracelets, lol. Perhaps you were thinking of something else?

AnimalLover, I always want massages! Everyone I know is sick of indulging me, though lol. They really do help.
Blueveggie, I'm not too keen on MSM because of the trial history of that substance, but I will keep eye out on it.

Anything I have ever read about the magnetic bracelets seems to circle back to the theories of Paracelsus. I have not read anything that suggests the strength of the magnets in any commercial bracelet could have an effect on circulation? And the iron in blood is in a form that is not ferromagnetic, if I remember biology course correctly, so I don't see how it can have an effect beyond that of the placebo.
Do you have any information that suggests magnetic bracelets are effective?

I don't want to sound like I am coming down hard on you, Smileyjoseph! I am just a skeptic and curious. Thank you for your comments, I do appreciate them!

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Mr. Matthew
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I am not a doctor, but if the cause if your joint pain happens to be osteoarthritis then reputable studies have shown glucosamine to help. Here's a link:

http://www.glucosamine-arthritis.org/glucosamine/gait-guide-study.html

It seems to me you need a better doctor--one who cares. If you could get at least get a diagnosis then you could pursue research, as to treatment, on your own on the web.

The link I gave you is trying to sell something, so be suspicious of what they tell you, but the Glucosamine studies are real science and it has been proven to be effective. Glucosamine can be bought over the counter, but I think you have to take it for awhile (maybe a month?) before its benefits become apparent.

Here's a better link:
http://www.arthritis.org/conditions/alttherapies/Glucosamine.asp

Actually, there is a lot of info on the web to help you diagnose the cause too. Much of medicine is not magic, it's common sense. You can't run tests on your own, but you can find out what tests might be helpful. Start at the link I gave you and check out arthritis first. Then search the web for causes that matches your symptoms.

[ 09-06-2006, 09:12 AM: Message edited by: Mr. Matthew ]

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Djuna
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I'll be honest - all I've got is my uncle's word that it works. It does help him, but even he acknowledges it's probably a placebo effect.
Magnetic Resonance Therapy? I've very little idea how it works and you're obviously more of an expert than me here. [Smile] I'm pretty sure that's the right name though - like ultrasound can be used both as an examination method and a treatment. Anyways, perhaps they're not the best idea.
As for Vitamin C - yes karybu, I did mean increased iron absorption. [Smile]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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