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I have my first rheumatology appointment in a couple of weeks. I know my doctor suspects RA because I had a lot of morning stiffness before but I am just unconvinced.
I have pain in the joints of my fingers and toes, wrists, elbows and shoulder. But there is no visible sign of swelling. My morning stiffness was quite bad in the spring but it is much better now.
My main concern are my neurological signs.
My right hand has lost a lot of strength. There are some hand movements I simply can't do at all. I can barely make a fist and when I try it's exhausting.
My left hand goes numb and tingling a lot, particularly at night. However, neither hand seems to have other signs of carpal tunnel syndrome. A neck MRI didn't show anything abnormal.
The feet and middle toes will go numb at will, regardless of position. I have virtually no reflex on the soles of my feet.
My hunch is:
- My shoulder is causing the problem with my right hand (it gets stiff and painful and has a very tender spot at the top) and there may be a trapped nerve up there which is causing the hand weakness
- My elbow is causing the problem with my left hand (cubital tunnel) as it would be bent at night, hence waking up with pins and needles
- My lower back is causing the problem in my feet (I get lower back and hip pain at night, often)
None of this explains the joint pain though. But I'm 37, it's possible it's a bit of OA.
I just don't think it's RA for some reason. But I can't explain why all these things would happen at once.
Anyway, I don't know what to expect from the rheumatologist. Are there any things I need to know? Any tests I should expect? I'm worried that they'll just look for signs of RA, rule it out and fob me off without helping the real problem.
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