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Getting a diagnosis

I have had severe pain and stiffness over the last three months. Went to the dr they did blood work, but dr said it was fine. No explanation for pain and stiffness. The pain and stiffness occurs in my fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders and hips.

  1. I am so sorry you are hurting! Did your doctor give you any kind of a diagnosis? There are other conditions that cause pain and stiffness. You can read about those conditions here -- Also, there is a form of RA called seronegative RA, in which the bloodwork doesn't show active RA, but a person does, in fact, have RA. You can read about it here -- I would consider talking to your physician about further testing. You can always seek a second opinion with a different physician, too.

    I hope this information is helpful for you and that you get a firm diagnosis very soon!

    Best, Erin, Team Member.

    1. Thanks for reaching out. I am sorry you are going through this. I, personally, have seronegative RA. My blood work is pristine but I definitely have clinical symptoms of RA.

      I wanted to share a couple of additional articles about seronegative: and (which is Lisa's experience with the seronegative diagnosis).

      You are absolutely in your right to seek out a second opinion if you are not happy with your doctor. You know your body best and know when something is wrong. Your doctor should believe and support you!

      Please reach out if you have any more questions or just need support. We are here for you! Best, Monica (team member)

      1. Hi . Sorry you are having this pain. On top of the excellent information from Monica and Erin, I want to ask if it is possible for you to see a rheumatologist? A rheumatologist is a doctor who has received specialized training in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal and autoimmune conditions. A lot besides bloodwork should go into diagnosing RA. This article from our editorial team gives an overview of the diagnostic process: Hoping you get some answers and relief soon. Please feel free, if you like, to keep us posted on how you are doing. Best, Richard ( Team)

        1. I am sorry to hear you are going through this. Unfortunately sometimes it can take quite a long time to get a diagnosis - especially when you have something that bloodwork isn't showing. I am sero-negative and all my lab work always looks fantastic. Nothing abnormal, no inflammatory markers, no joint damage on x-rays- literally nothing! Even though I do experience pain and swelling that is definitely real and able to be felt by my diagnosing doctor.
          Like Monica mentioned, getting a second opinion is definitely worth checking into. Not to mention some rheumatologists do not even require a referral so you might be able to schedule right away with one even if your PCP doesn't agree.
          Did the original doctor you saw indicate anything at all that might point in the direction of a cause or a potential diagnosis or did they just leave you in the dark?
          Until you are able to start some kind of treatment plan there are lots of over the counter things you can try to alleviate the pain. Heat/ice packs are nice (hot baths are nice too), lots of people use arthritis creams/gels such as bio-freeze, and of course there are other OTC meds like tylenol or even a brace to keep things like your wrist in place so as to not move it while its painful. Most importantly we are all here for you! Keep us updated on your journey!

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