Rheumatoid Arthritis in the lumbar spine

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My rheumatoid factor was only slightly raised. The upper limit if normal is 20, mine is 22. I have had a painful shoulder for almost 3 years which I presume is rheumatoid arthritis. However in the last few weeks I've started to experience lower back pain which has not been relieved by Naproxen 250 mgs and Codeine Phosphate. Over the last few days the pain, which is severe is radiating down my left leg. I can't seem to get any relief. Could this also be due to RA? My GP hasn't referred me to a rheumatologist. She said she didn't think he/she would do anything differently. However my GP isn't aware of the back and leg pain. I hate to trouble her as I just feel as though I'm complaining unnecessarily as I've not heard of RA_in the spine and the leg pain seems unusual and I think it could be something entirely different. Has_anyone else had experience of similar symptoms?

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  • Posted

    You need to be your own advocate and tell your GP you want a referral to a board certified rheumatologist NOW.

    Many people with RA NEVER show abnormal ESR or positive RA factor in bloodwork and yet we have the disease. A GP does NOT have the training nor the experience to diagnose, much less treat, RA.

    Furthermore, there are something like 300 types of autoimmune arthritis that only a rheumatologist is capable of diagnosing. Pain in the spine area could very easily be Ankylosing Spondylitis.

    So please demand that referral. This business about hating to trouble the GP needs to be reconsidered. YOU pay for your healthcare so the doctors are YOUR employees.

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    • Posted

      Thanks CA-Lynn. You're right I know but GP's don't see it as we are paying for our health care in the NHS. If we are prepared to play privately then that's different! I need to order some more Naproxen so I'm planning to write a note about the pain and requesting she increase my dose of Naproxen. I'm hoping she'll take the hint!
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    • Posted

      Whatever your individual needs, the NHS GPs exist solely to be our doctors. And you do pay for them - through your taxes and National Insurance payments.

      You have a problem and you're in pain... Don't be shy...

      And this one's an easy one, because all you're asking for is a referral.

      Delay not, dear friend! Make haste!

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  • Posted

    The pain in the shoulder could be anything and perhaps you need to have physio or massage? Get repeat blood tests and really cut the painkillers - you could be causing yourself more problems with that mixture. Why do you think it's RA? Does anyone have RA in the family? 

     

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    • Posted

      My daughter has RA and as my rheumatoid factor was slightly raised I presumed as did my GP that the painful shoulder is RA. I can't cut out the painkillers because of the pain I am suffering. If I did I wouldn't be able to cope and sleeping is bad enough especially with my shoulder. The Naproxen and Codeine are prescribed and monitored closely by my GP. Patients with RA need pain relief.
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  • Posted

    Hi there, although I haven't personally experienced this I have RA friends who have. You can have RA anywhere in the body and some people have it in various parts of the spine. It can rupture discs or cause them to bulge. Either way it can cause extreme pain and run down into the leg. You should go back to the hospital or your gp about this and explain exactly what you are experiencing. It's better to have a " it's not anything to worry about" response than a " why did you leave it this long to come" response. Good luck.
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  • Posted

    Thank you everyone for responding. You've given me the courage to see my GP and request a referral. And connie I have the pain radiating down my leg which is not relieved by either the Naproxen or the Codeine so I suppose that's telling me things are far from right
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  • Posted

    Absolutely ! I live in England too but I know my gp would rather I go check thing's out than ignore them. My motto is better late than never. It may be nothing to worry about but if naproxen and pain relief isn't changing things then you should be doing something more to find out why. Please let everyone know what happens. 😐
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  • Posted

    I've had this over the last couple of months. Rheumy nurse says Sciatica as it  travels down my leg. It is very severe and I can't take more than about 5 steps without stopping. My husband has it often as he has problems with his discs popping out now and then, and his bottom three discs are crumbling. I've just had my anti CCP results more than 340 and my rheumatoid factor is 288.9.
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    • Posted

      OMG your RF is much much higher than mine. And I'm complaining!!!! This is one of the reasons I'm so reluctant to see my GP and ask for a referral when mine was 22/24. That's only just in the high area. This is why I've asked so many Timex the question "Am I ewastiing my doctors time?"
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    • Posted

      If you don't feel well, you need to get some kind of treatment. I don't think you are wasting the doctor's time. For 27 years I was seronegative and had no RF. The affects of the RA were still pretty bad. The problem with being seropositive (I've found) is that there are certain related conditions that seronegatives won't get, like rheumatoid vasculitis - which I now have. And that is pretty serious. Having the correct treatment might prevent something like this happening to you. RA is bad enough but I wouldn't wish RV on my worst enemy - well maybe I would my WORST enemy. but not anyone else. rolleyes
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    • Posted

      Matron I'd still say go see your gp. Readings can vary for a number of reasons, including the measurement scales used. There's obviously something not right so go get it looked at ! 
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    • Posted

      20% of RA sufferers don't have any rheumatoid factor at all! sero-negative rheumatoid factor it's called. I'm one of them.

      They do a clinical diagnosis instead.

      My rheumy told me not long back that tests were just a guide, "I tell my students to look at the patient not the numbers! Listen to what they have to say!"

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  • Posted

    Hmm general practitioners are not qualified to treat RA hope you get your referral soon it is complex auto immune disease that can require more than anti inflams and pain meds good luck 
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  • Posted

    Unfortunately the other problem I have is Raynaud's Syndrome but I've been researching the link between RA and Raynaud's today and it is fairly common to suffer from both so I think now armed with this research I need to speak to my GP!
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