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Suspected for early RA

Hi all,

I haven't been around for about 9 months, since the doctors said I don't have RA and my symptoms of severe joints pain will never come back.

Well, surprise surprise, they were wrong and it started coming back a few weeks ago. And I'm now facing the same MRI, x-rays and blood tests as before and will probably hear at the end, again, that I don't have RA or any other chronic disease and it's only low levels of information induced by stress.

Although there's still a small part of me hopping that they're right, I mostly believe this is early RA. I just don't see any other logical explanation from all the possible diagnoses out there.

I was wondering if for any of you the RA started in the same low levels, with a lot of pain, but, no visible inflammation. The pain is also fluctuating a lot, starts in some joints for 2-3 days and then moves to others. I was taking NASDAs for two weeks from the moment the flare started and then been resting a lot for almost two weeks, and I think it's now getting under control and it's close to be over. Does that sound like a very moderate flare of RA? I got pretty quick to the rheumi this time and he did ultrasound to the most painful joint, he found the exact point of pain in a small joint in my shoulder, but, he showed me there was no sign of inflammation there. The pain started only two days before, so I'm not sure what can be seen in ultrasound after 2 days. But, his conclusion was that I have no inflammation in any of my joints and he believes it's something else, hence, all the redo of the tests I did last year.

I would be very interested to know if that sounds familiar to any of you. I'm pretty frustrated from not knowing what I have and be in the same situation again after less than a year...

8 Replies

Hi Shila,

Like you I hope they’re right and you don’t have RA now and you wont develop it in the future, but then you’re still left with the angst and worry of what’s happening to you—horrible position to be in. Sorry.

The following cohort may help you understand why they feel you don’t have RA and why they feel it’s unlikely that you will develop it later.

Basically the study says that if they utilize ultra sound and don’t find any synovitis (inflammation) present then there is an 89% chance of not having RA or developing it in the future.

This may or may not be what you’re looking for but perhaps it helps you understand why the doctors rule RA out?

Personally, although I had almost no signs of visual swelling and had no raised inflammatory markers I did have loads of synovitis on my ultrasound.


I hope you get to the bottom of what’s going on soon.



Thanks Lucy,

That's very helpful. I hope they will find what I do have soon...

1 like

Hi. I've been getting pretty mild aches and pains for a few months now. They aren't too intrusive most of the time, but I was worried it was the start of something or a sign of something more significant happening out of sight so I nagged my GP for a rheumy referral (I already have one AI issue and some other odd symptoms so I suspected AI involvement).

I was really worried I'd be told I was fine and to stop whining since it's pretty much what happens most of the time when I bring up issues with my GP and I don't have any swelling or stiffness with my pains.

Well lucky me my rheumy did believe me and had an answer for it too. I apparently have palindromic rheumatism which is a bit like RA (it is technically a form of inflammatory arthritis), but the pains are more random and there is no damage and it's very difficult to test for. It's also apparently common to not have any inflammation or stiffness with it.

basically it's phantom pains that people probably won't believe you have- me to a T.

So yeah it's totally possible to have something on the RA spectrum without a lot of the tell tale signs. Might be worth looking into and asking about regarding your issues. :)

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Shila do you have any skin issues? If not, are there any close relatives with skin issues?



No, no known skin issues... it would have made the diagnosis much easier, of course.

I have an appointment with the rheumatologist again on Tuesday, then I'll hear all the test results and maybe he'll have a good idea what it is...


Darn. Shila, crazy isn't it, to want a disease so that you can start feeling better. Well no, not the disease, but the diagnosis.

Fingers crossed for you!


Mine was all inflammation and pain in my wrists. What about blood tests? Have they done your ESR AND CRP? That's the first RA blood test they do.


Well, most blood tests results came back today. All normal, except the anti-CCP, it's 25, slight increase than last year. My vitamin D is still low, crossing my fingers that might be the problem, as some of the doctors have mentioned. But, if that's the case, I'm wondering why the pain focuses only in my joints...


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