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Suffering from hurting hand. Blood test for RA tested negative. What could be the problem?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2007
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My hands have been hurting for a year and the hurt so bad sometimes I cant use them. My dr did blood test for RA and they were negative. Any clue what else it would be?
Posted Fri, 17 Aug 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Neelam Ashish Vanjari 1 hour later

Thanks for writing in.
Your hands have been hurting over years, and RA tests have come negative.

If you explain the 'hurting' - if it is around your joint or fingers, if it is numbness or just pain- severity; then it will become easy for us to diagnose.

But still let me explain few conditions which are common causes of hands pain in young people.

1] Arthritis - Auto-immune arthritis is common in younger people. Examples of autoimmune arthritis are ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile arthritis. RA is out of question for you.

2] Carpel tunnel syndrome - Here median nerve is compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist, a narrow confined space. Since the median nerve provides sensory and motor functions to the thumb and three middle fingers, many symptoms may result.

3] Other causes can be from nerves or tendons.

Awaiting your reply for above questions.
Best regards,
Dr. Neelam.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suffering from hurting hand. Blood test for RA tested negative. What could be the problem? 4 hours later
The hurting is in the joints in my fingers. Its not numbness it is pain. It also hurts in my hands from the first knuckle in my thumb, pointer finger and pinky finger down to my wrists. Both hands usually hurt at the same time and there are periods where I cant use them. There is swelling and messaging the hand provides "relief" while its being massaged but the pain doesnt go away. There are days they dont hurt at all and then there are days I can hardly use my hands.
Answered by Dr. Neelam Ashish Vanjari 3 hours later

Thanks for writing in.
From the description of your joint pain it looks like either gouty arthritis or pseudogout arthritis or infectious arthritis.
Other possibilities are Spondyloarthropathies: ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, reactive arthritis (Reiter's syndrome) OR Endocrine disorders: hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism.

You can get uric acid levels tested to rule out gout.

Get T3-T4-TSH levels tested for thyroid disorder.

Was there any infection- viral and bacterial which can lead to infective arthritis.

Any arthritic pain gets relief with massage but will not go off with it.

Keep moving your joints. Exercises help. Apply anti-inflammatory cream/gel or oral drugs can be taken. Do not over stress it.
If we rule out diseases as mentioned above, it will be easy to treat disease.
I hope I have answered your query. In case of doubt, I shall be happy to help you.
Best regards,
Dr. Neelam.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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