Advice Needed


Just wanted to see if anyone else has experienced anything similar to what happened to me yesterday.

For a few months now I have been experiencing pain in many of my joints. Feet, right knee, both hips lower back, right wrist and my fingers have all been effected. I have a diagnosis of severe (level 4) Asthma and had been taking a lot of steroids to control this three months ago when my steroids were swapped for alternative Asthma medication is when I started noticing the Pain. I was looking up an asthma treatment and came across an article which described PA. This began to ring warning bells as the symptoms seemed to fit with mine. I went to the Asthma nurse and mentioned the fact that I had been experiencing this pain and she advised I see a Dr straight away as this could suggest some arthritic problem that had been masked by the anti-inflammatory treatments I had been on for my Asthma.

I followed up with my GP and mentioned my concerns where the pain was and the fact that I have had Psoriasis for many years now. He agreed to take blood tests. However the results of these have come back clear with no inflammatory markers. The GP said despite this there was still a chance of the pain being some sort of arthritic problem and said he would put in a referral to Rheumatology. He also prescribed some pain killers for during the day and Amitriptyline to help me sleep at night.

This was all fine until yesterday when I woke up to find my fingers clamped shut into a fist and I was unable to release them. At first I wasn't to worried this had happened before and my fingers relaxed and uncurled with a little help after about ten minutes. Yesterday however my pointer finger and middle finger stayed resolutely curled in towards my palm.

I waited a few hours to see what would happen and when there was no change by lunchtime I went to my local minor injuries unit. I saw a nurse who said she had never seen anything like it and she would have to make me an appointment with a doctor and to come back later.

At tea time my fingers were still stuck and I headed off to the hospital once again this time to see a doctor. I was first seen by a nurse who attempted to pull my fingers open with no success she then went and fetched a Dr. The Dr said that he had never seen anything like it and he to failed to prise open my fingers. After some discussion I had explained to him about waiting to see Rheumatology and my concerns that I might have Psoriatic Arthritis. He said he had never heard of any type of Arthritis causing fingers to do that. He said he didn't know what to do but prescribed Diazepam to try and relax my hand enough to open my fingers.

I went home and took the diazepam and my fingers did eventually uncurl.

My fingers were very swollen and sore after this.

Today when I woke up my fingers had done the same thing again although to a lesser extent while I couldn't move my fingers another person could move them an get them to straighten out which had been impossible the first time. I took a lower dose of Diazepam and again after a while my finger uncurled and stayed uncurled. again the joints are swollen and painful.

So has anyone else heard of this or had a similar experience themselves? If so what did you do to either prevent it from happening again or to treat it when it does happen?

23 Replies

  • Diaz is a muscle relaxant if i remember rightly so that is probably why it worked. Has carpal tunnel been mentioned? a friend of mine had it curl her ring and small finger,she had to have surgery.

  • no they haven't said anything about carpal tunnel. I was back at the dr's this morning and they have no real idea what is causing it. I've to have yet another set of blood tests done. There is still no consensus as to what is causing the symptoms.

  • Hi, K8

    I've read your post several times. Is there any chance you could go back on the medication you were on ( that kept the joint problems in check) whilst you wait for the Rhumatologist Appt?

    Or could you afford a private appt to to see a consultant Rhumatologist ?

    your symptoms could relate to various diagnosis but as I go for Traditional Chinese Acupunture , I'm not into all these different types of Arthritis. And joint problems.

    Sorry I can't be of help.

  • I have asked for them back but they are what is called a "Rescue Medication" I'm only supposed to get them now if I am at a higher risk of an Asthma Attack. They can be dangerous to stay on long term. I was only on them for so long while they tried to find a more appropriate asthma inhaler that would control m y Asthma. When they worked there way out of my system was when the pain in m joints started. At the moment it all seems to be a bit of a mystery.

  • Right, understand what you are saying. So these symptoms are possibly withdrawal symptoms from the " rescue medication" drug. Just have to ride it out with the diazapam .I had bad joint / pain symptoms in my right hand after taking Alendronic Acid drug for Osteoporosis . Only took two pills a week apart. Never again . Had to wear a hand splint for some months during the day for support.

    There's an USA drug site that lists various drugs and peeps experiences of them. Pretty sure it is called:

    You may have to put the brand name in as well as the common name. this may help you find others who have been in same situation as yourself.

  • I don't think it can be withdrawal symptoms as I haven't had a course of these tablets since August. They are a standard steroid often prescribed in Scotland and the Borders for emergency relief from Asthma Symptoms my Uncle has also been prescribed them to relief his Asthma symptoms. They are not known to cause withdrawal symptoms the reason they are not prescribed long term is that they can cause things like potassium and salt to build up in the blood or in extreme cases behavioural changes or depression. I have never known them to do something like this to someone's hand before.

  • So are you back on your usual steroid pills whilst you wait for the Rhumatologist appt?

  • And did you have a blood test specifically

    for Rhumatoid Arthritist ?

  • No. I spoke with the specialist Asthma Nurse at our local surgery she said that to give me the steriods now wouldn't be good as they wouldn't then be effective if I had to have them as emergency relief if I was to have a bad period with my Asthma. I've had a full blood test set done but they have come back within normal limits. The Doctor has said though that this doesn't really rule out arthritis as there are no definitive blood tests for arthritis. It's really stressing me out not getting any answers and thr doctors just keep telling me that they don't really know what is going on.

  • Not much help, but the only person I have known with Rhumatoid Arthritis, wears splints on her hands/wrists. I have had a blood test for Rhumatoid Arthritis and it came back negative. Given time I think you will get some more replies. But my advice for what it's worth, would be to keep on searching on the Internet in the meantime. Good luck.

  • Thanks for your advice I appreciate your thoughts. It was nice for someone to take the time and chat unlike when I see the doctor I feel like they are not listening to me.

    Thanks Again

  • Could be osteoarthritis, which would show up on x-ray. The curling thing makes me wonder if it could be a neurological problem.

  • is also helpful for info on drugs, side effects, etc, including patient feedback, also for various diseases and how they're treated.

  • Hi I have problems with my fingers they are bent and I can no longer make a fist and I con no longer hold a pen or knife and fork this started like you six months ago I have rheumatoid arthritis and xray shows osteoporosis in hand's l have been told it won't reverse

  • Hi Junechurch and K8ty25

    Unlikely to be the osteoporosis, I have that and I've never had the symptoms you both describe with it. More likely Rheumatoid arthritis. K8ty25 : Maybe your GP will do a blood test for it whilst you wait for your Rheumatologist appt. you can buy right and left handed splints at a larger pharmacy. They have a piece of metal in them made to a special shape to fit in with your palm etc. Easy to use with Velcro fastenings. And are washable. The size can be found with the chart on the box I think. Or the assistant can advise.

    When I had that bad drug reaction which affected my wrist and fingers, I wore the splint every day for many months.

  • Hi. I've had blood tests and they have been returned negative but my GP has still referred me to Rheumatology as he says the blood tests are not a definitive answer. I have a wrist splint which I wear during the day. The finger curling usually occur at night and the wrist splint doesn't come high enough up my hand to prevent the fingers curling in. As I have mentioned before I don't think any of this as a drug reaction as when I went to the GP we went over my long term medication's and anything I had been prescribed recently and we couldn't find anything which would cause these symptoms. I am to have more blood tests today to double check but I think I am just going to have to wait for a Rheumatology appointment and see what they say.

  • There are two types of Rheumatoid arthritis, seronegative - meaning you don't have the rheumatoid factor, or seropositive - meaning you do. I started as negative but was still diagnosed because of other factors. Last year I changed to positive. Don't rule out RA just because your blood tests don't conform. A good website to visit is the NRAS (National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society) they have a community on HU too. Hope you find some answers soon.

  • Thanks I will have a look at that website. I have been referred to Rheumatology however there is a three month waiting list so at the moment I am mainly trying to focus on finding a way to deal with the pain on a day to day basis.

    Thanks for your advice.

  • A blood test for Rheumatoid Arthritis is a specialist test so I'm thinking it would not normally be tested for in the usual blood tests that a GP would request. Did you get a print out of the blood tests he did do for you and if not you could request a print out at reception or from your GP. but be prepared to pay for the printing. Some charge. Some don't .

  • Hi. TBA psoriatic arthritis, the one linked to psoriasis, is always negative on blood tests and can only be diagnosed therefore by a specialist so good your GP has referred you to a rheumatologist to be on the safe side. They will be able to make sure you are assessed thoroughly for any possible rheumatological causes. I hope they are able to find a solution and support soon. Take care. C

  • the pain your having sounds like rheumatoid arthritis, which is what i have (15 yrs.) It took six months of testing before the doctors came to a diagnosis. During that time i was in the worst pain i have ever experienced. I was a borderline invalid. From what i was told it does take a long time for RA to show up on a blood test. Good luck to you !

  • Thanks for your help.

  • has excellent info.

    Bless you!

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