Rheumatoid Arthritis or Reactive Arthritis

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Hello everyone.

I'm a 25 year old male from Canada. Before i got sick, i was extremely athletic (5 days a week bodybuilding, 2 days a week playing professional soccer) . It all started from my trip to mexico. When I came back I had upset stomach and alot og acid reflux for three or four days. Saw my GP, was given Hpylori test and it came back negative. After a few days i started feeling better.

I'm sexualy quite active, however very cautious and perform STD test every month. Surprisingly I haven't gottrn anything so far, not even herpes type one or two. I meet this girl on January 7th and kissed and made out (no sex) and the next day she tells me she has herpes and has broken sore on her mouth. I panicked that there is a chance for me to be infected, then On January 10th i started having severe sorethroat along with high fever till January 15th. Since the symptoms werent accompanied by runny nose or other cold symptoms i saw my GP to make sure i didn't have strep throat, mono or EBV or any other STDS. I did a test, amd all came back negative. The next day as i was feeling better I went out with my friends and had couple of drinka. I woke up on January 17th and i had a sharp pin in my right hand middle finger, at first i thought maybe i was too drunk last night and have hit it somewhere. However. i wake up the next day discovering my right hand point finger is painful. Specially when i tried to bend both at the sme time. Few days pass, middle finger pain subsides, and only my point finger knuckle is a bit inflamed with tenderness. I go on my soccer practice, come home sleep and i get woken up with extreme pain in my shoulder joints, and eye inflammation (felt like my eyes were popping out of my head).. The pain was so bad, i took a trip to ER and after witing for 14 hours to see a doctor (yes wonderful Canadian health system) i was only given advil and was sent home.

Next day i see my GP, he tells me this is more likely to be reactive arthritis, we ran some blood test, and everything came back normal, crp level was at 1, Rheumatoid factor was noy detectable, Anti ccp was negative. esr was normal. I was prescribed Naproxen and sent home. At this point shoulder pain and eye inflammation have subsided. However, i started feeling pain and tenderness on my left knee and left ankle. (no swelling or redness).....after a few hours, ive noticed the pains are migrating through my joints, and when one subsides, the other one gets affected. For example, when my knee and anckle pain subsided, it started attacking my shoulder joint and shoulder blades. Fast forward till January 28 i saw an internal specialist, she took an xray, ran blood virology, ran other immunology tests including hlab27 gene and all came back negative. At this time my hands and knuckles are at no pain what so ever, the only pain I have is in both knees, heel part of my feet and my lower back. I go out drinking again, come home, wake up with inflammed thumb knuckle with severe pain, buttock hurts (as if i was sitting on a rock for days), and the pain keeps migrating through my body. Every single joint is being effected by now. I really dont know whats wrong with me..... I look online, and i dont see anyone with the same symptoms..... could it be reactive arthritis!? (i saw 5 gp and 1 internal medicine, they all agree its reactive arthritis).... however, being a hypochondriac i feel like this might also be rhumetoid arthritis..... tired of this pain... anyone with similar experience!? I havent been to the gym, or played soccer since, im depressed and have lost 15lbs. Any help is appreciated.

I suffer from health anxiety, anxiety disorder... sorry about all the typos. used my cellphone.

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  • Posted

    couple of things to add...

    My knuckled get slightly red in the mornings (only the ones that are effected at times).. (at this moment I have been pain free in my hands, The arthritis has focused on my hips and feet (any time soon would come back to my hands as it migrates). No visible stiffness during mornings... just the usual 2-3 stiffness till i get my coffee. No visible inflammation to my eyes.. Slight inflammation in the mornings in all my fingers (but i think everyone is like that due to blood circulation while asleep).

    The other thing out of ordinary is all my joints crack and pop (which it never have happened to me).. thank u

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  • Posted


    I was reading your post with huge interest. I was a normal healthy person until in Feb 2014 I caught shingles ( part of the herpes virus ). After that I had lots of silly niggling pains. Then November 2014 I woke up in agonising pain all over. Joints were swollen in hands, everywhere hurt. Saw doc who sent me for tests. All neg. Crp, rheumatoid factor etc. Luckily I was still referred to a rheumatologist. I then had scans which showed rheumatoid arthritis. I have been on meds since and its still not under control. I am still negative in everything.

    Reactive arthritis comes and goes which is probably why they are saying that. It's still treated the same. So push to see a rheumatologist.

    I have done much research and there is some evidence that the herpes virus can set off RA.

    Also whenever I drink alcohol my joints swell so that may be food for thought.

    All the best.

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  • Posted

    Hi James.  I've had a similar experience, and strangely I found comfort in reading your post that I'm not alone.  I did karate three times a week, biking, swimming, very active and then started to feel very tired and lethargic and kept getting isolated pain (hip joint), which was very sore and I assumed was an injury from karate so didn't pay no mind.  Next time I'm at karate I can't even punch straight, feeling like I'm in water, and got a pain in my right knee.  Next day it was extremely painful and I'm straight to the doctor, who's convinced I've broken something and I have X-rays, which were fine.  I should say that throughout this, I'm having terrible sore eyes and blurred vision, swollen eye kids and bright red eyes,  I'm off to the optician convinced I'm wearing the wrong contacts.  Within days of my right knee going my left one did too. Very painful indeed and I'm back at the doctors but this time the lethargy and fatigue was intense.  I'm put on anti inflammatories and everything starts to creak and pop all the time.  Within days it's in my elbows, wrists, some of my fingers and ankles. Back at the doctors and so worried I'm crying and stated with panic attacks.  Couldn't go in work, get in and off the toilet, you name it.  Only swelling was my knees, everything else was fine.  Doctors did tests and everyone was fine (within accepted range for Rheumatoid Factor) aside from an abnormal result in my liver tests.  Conclusion is that I have a virus.  After much protest from my doctors I insisted on a referral to a rheumatologist due to maternal grandma having it.  

    Cutting a a long story (sorry haven't managed that so far), regulatory gist diagnosed reactive arthritis and plantar fasciitis in my feet and was told to go on my way and just crack on with my life as it was before. I really don't think anyone I saw had a handle on how much discomfort I was in and I'm still having terrible discomofrt and swelling to my eyes ten months on, not to mention the fatigue which is crippling sometimes.  I've just started to get active again and go swimming but I get terribly out of breath and not sure what this is.  I'm tempted to re visit my doctor for what it's worth.  

    What you explain sounds very similar to what I have been diagnosed with, although if have to say I don't really remember having any infection etc, just the sore eyes and tiredness I ploughed through due to impending karate grading.  I've since heard you shouldn't do cardio sports when you are poorly due to any infection travelling around and becoming systemic.  This sounds like nonsense to me but is pretty much what happened to me to be honest.  I'm a 40 year old female in other wise (pre RA, good health). Don't have the answers I'm afraid but wanted to share as your story sounds similar and we have the same diagnoses.  All the best!

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  • Posted

    Apologise for the poor spelling in my post, predictive text strikes again!
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  • Posted

    Hi James,

    sorry to hear you are feeling bad. As a fellow sufferer of Anxiety I can relate to what you are going through. My first suggestion is to try and calm yourself. If you have a problem you will get an answer sooner or later. With anxiety comes Hyper-vigilance we tend to over react to every small pain or ache in  our body..we start every morning with an inventory to see if we are feeling anything different than the day before, it is torture and you must work to get out of that pattern (assuming you are doing this). You said you had been to Mexico..I travel at least twice a year to Mexico and I know it is sometimes possible to pick up a Parasite in the food or water. Maybe you could mention this to your Doctor and he could test you for it. Also there are literally 100 different types of Arthritis it may take a while to figure out if this is your issue. You have control over this process. Educate yourself and Advocate for yourself the more you know the more you can help yourself. I would request an ANA (Anti-Nuclear Antibody) blood test this will let the Doctor know if something Autoimmune related is going on. Sometimes when a patient is young like you they are more easily dissmissed don't allow this to happen. When talking to your doctor try not to leave without a plan.

    Ask him what kind of test you need to get to the root of your problem or can we follow up, if and when if these issues persist. Try not to be depressed I know it is hard when you feel bad (been there) . But you must fight to be heard and fight to be well. You can do this get up..eat ..and fight..start making appointments look up Autoimmune disease see if anything sounds familiar. Does someone in your family suffer from Autimmune disease? Research.. Good luck James and feel better,


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  • Posted

    James, I wanted to mention also that many Autoimmune conditions flare after one has spent alot of time in the sun...

    Did you come back with a great suntan? Also you can have symptoms one day and feel fine the next. Alchohol and diet effect the condition. Start taking notice of when you are flaring (feeling lousy, swollen joints and pain) look up foods that cause inflamation. After almost 10 years I was finally diagnosed with Sjogrens Syndrome, Mild Lupus and Lupus Arthritis. I know you won't have to wait that long because you are already coming to the right type of forum for help. Research!


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  • Posted

    Thank you Everyone for your comments. I'd like to share that I do Feel 90% better. I'd like to share the things I did that helped me with my recovery. As i was starting to feel better and sysmptoms were gone by 90% I came down with another flu which caused inflamation of the  heart sac (percarditis) which i thought i was having a heart attack, But things got better after i thought i was getting worst and there wasnt a light at the end of the tunnel. Things do get better. I implemented a regimen to my diet which I beleive it helped with my recovery. 

    Please note I am not a doctor nor have any medical background. I'm simply sharing my own exprience. My father beleives that if a condition is developed within body itself,  it could also be reveresed by body itself. Therefore, he recommended I try some of his traditional herbal recipes which includes: 

    1. A glass of hot water with 1-1/2tbs turmeric, 1tb ginger, 1tb cinnamon. 3 times a day 30 minutes before each meal 

    2. boil 2 garlics in water, let it cool, and add apple juice to it. Have two tsb everyday upon waking up. 

    3. Red meat juice - this is done by putting a red meat in a jar, close the lid and place it in boiling water. Eventually after couple of hours, a juice gets settled in the jar. ( Some people get inflamation by having red meat, it was never the case for me, i found that the red meat juice helped me with my energy) 

    4. 150 billion probiotic pills ( this is the maximum I could find ath health stores.) 

    5. branch chain amino acids( I used to take this to recover from working out, therefore, I started taking it as I thought might be beneficial for the joint pain

    6. High protien, low carb,low fat diet , followed by a high carb cyle diet. 

    Along with above regimen, I was also put on high doses of Ibuprufen for 5 days to help with the inflamation in my heart sac. (1200-1500 mgs/day) along with zantac to prevent ulcer.  ( but i do not think it contributed to my recovery as I was feeling better before I got the heart inflamation)

    last but not least, get busy , go outside, hangout with friends, and try yourbest to force yourself to be like before. I know this is exteremly hard, but it does help with your energy level and overal health. I'm a hypochondriac, so this also added to my anxiety as I was googling for other causes and I noticed I was starting to have physical pain and symptoms that aren't usually there ( Mind is powerful). therefore, I stopped googling things and looking up diseases. 

    I was seen by an specialist, we ran test for lupus, Ra, and other Autoimmune diseases and it came back negative, doctors still are not sure what caused this reactive arthitis, I came back negative for EB virus , herpes and all other viruses. They think it might have been caused by a simple flu that I had prior to all of this .

    As of now, I do have some inflamation in my joints sometimes, but they are not noticeable, unless I pay attention to them. (specially by my shoulder blades and ribs(costochondria). ) Other than that, I'm just happy im 90% better, and Hopefully i would not come down with another fluwink

    If you have any questions, you could always msg me. I hope you all do feel better. 

    p.s Road to recovery was almost 2 month from the onset of the sympoms 


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