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Forum Name: Osteoporosis

Question: Generalized Joint Pain


 Carolyn - Thu May 20, 2004 7:38 pm

I am a 54 year old woman with arthritis of the spine and knees. Since about my twenties I have had episodes of extensive "all over" joint pain that lasts anywhere from 2 to 4 days, and which occur at least 2-3 times a month. This pain is different from my arthritis pain in that it occurs in every joint at the same time and there is a feeling of burning fire in every joint also. Nothing seems to help relieve the pain. I have taken medication from anti-inflammatories to narcotics and get no relief. In fact, the only thing that feels good is a cool bath to ease the sensation of fiery heat. During these episodes, I cant sleep, rest or function at all. I spend the time curled up in bed with a cool fan blowing on me. Can you explain to me what this might be? Is there anything that can be done to ease the pain and/or make me more functional at this time. I appreciate any understanding you can give me on this.
Thanks,
Carolyn
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Wed Jun 02, 2004 12:11 am

User avatar Were you told what the type of arthritis was? From your description it looks like a generalized osteoarthritis. You could also have developed osteoporosis (decreased bone density) over the years. If this is the case, you will benefit alot from being treated for this condition.
 Carolyn - Wed Jun 02, 2004 12:35 am

I have been told I have degenerative osteoarthritis of the entire spine, knees, one ankle and both hands. In fact I am being scheduled for bilateral total knee replacements over the next few months because of total loss of cartilage in the knees. I am very familiar with what that kind of joint pain feels like. When it is my usual arthritis pain of just a few joints that hurt they get a little red at the joint and I hear a grating sound and feel pain when moving the joint. This other problem though feels more like a severe aching all-over from the flu and hurts whether I move or lay still. Could all my joints actually start and stop hurting at exactly the same time? Can anything be done to relieve the pain. All the doctors offer me is narcotics since all the antiinflammatories have failed. They are now talking about putting in a pain pump due to my resistance to oral narcotics in relieving pain? Help, I am too young for all this.

Thanks,
Carolyn



Tamer Fouad, M.D. wrote:Were you told what the type of arthritis was? From your description it looks like a generalized osteoarthritis. You could also have developed osteoporosis (decreased bone density) over the years. If this is the case, you will benefit alot from being treated for this condition.

 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Wed Jun 02, 2004 4:07 am

User avatar Carolyn,
Like I said earlier, you should have the possibility of osteoporosis ruled out. This condition is usually associated with generalized aching pains all over the body. Its also a condition that can be treated. Osteoporosis is diagnosed by a bone density scan.
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Wed Jun 02, 2004 3:55 pm

User avatar Dear Carolyn,

It seems like a long time (since you were in your twenties) for this to be going on without being seen a specialist. And if you were seen by a specialist, a rheumatologist in this case, what was the opinion given.

If your joints swell up and become red, this might be a kind of arthritis that has a recurrent course. But they are usually localized in certain joints though. The typical example for such kind is crystal-induced arthritis like gout and if this is the case then the degenerative arthritis that you have is most probably secondary to this arthritis as even though i am not a rheumatologist but i think that you are, like you said, still young for all this including to have both your knees replaced.

It is not a bad idea to check your bone density as well as part of the regular check up as you are post menopausal now (i would assume) and need your bones checked as it is very strongly recommended nowadays especially if you are a white woman, who used to smoke, exercise rarely, have a family history of osteoporosis or fractures in elderly women in the family.

Thank you very much for using our website http://doctorslounge.com and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.
 Carolyn - Wed Jun 02, 2004 11:36 pm

Actually the first sign of arthritis started at about age 13 when I had pretty bad pain in my finger joints and my hands were always so cold. They did a test which included putting a tube down into my stomach and withdrawing gastric fluids. This was done over several hours as I remember and was supposed to show them whether I had true arthritis or not. At age 14 the spinal pain started and I was diagnosed as having Scheurman"s Disease of he back and wore a steel and leather back brace for over a year to help support my spine as they said the muscles were not strong enough to support the spine yet. I don't know if this has any connection or not but thought it was worth mentioning. Anyway, I have been trying hard to get my doctors to take my current condition seriously but when you deal with a system like Kaiser Permenente, they don't seem do want to do anything unless it is life-threatening. I just keep being told its just arthritis and I have to learn to live with it. Well, I don't agree that it is that "simple", but I don't know what to tell them to get them to take this matter seriously. Any suggestions? Thank you again for spending so much time with this, it is rather heart-warming to find a doctor who seems to care.
Carolyn




Yasser Mokhtar, M.D. wrote:Dear Carolyn,

It seems like a long time (since you were in your twenties) for this to be going on without being seen a specialist. And if you were seen by a specialist, a rheumatologist in this case, what was the opinion given.

If your joints swell up and become red, this might be a kind of arthritis that has a recurrent course. But they are usually localized in certain joints though. The typical example for such kind is crystal-induced arthritis like gout and if this is the case then the degenerative arthritis that you have is most probably secondary to this arthritis as even though i am not a rheumatologist but i think that you are, like you said, still young for all this including to have both your knees replaced.

It is not a bad idea to check your bone density as well as part of the regular check up as you are post menopausal now (i would assume) and need your bones checked as it is very strongly recommended nowadays especially if you are a white woman, who used to smoke, exercise rarely, have a family history of osteoporosis or fractures in elderly women in the family.

Thank you very much for using our website http://doctorslounge.com and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.


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