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Severe joint pain....help!?

By January 22, 2010 - 3:05am
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I'm 18 and I've been having severe joint pains in my knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders for 8 months. During this time my immune system hasn't been the greatest and I've gotten numerous colds, mono, and ringworm. The pain originally started in my knees and increased and spread over time. It is now constant pain. When it started I was diagnosed with Ehrlichiosis. I received the treatment for that and about a week later the pain came back the they tried the antibiotics again and the pain did not go away. The doctor then said that I was making up the pain and just ignored it.

Five months later I came back to the doctor with the same complaints. Since then I've been to four specialists and a chiropractor. They've done x-rays on my knees and chest and have found nothing wrong. The only thing wrong with my blood was that I had very low vitamin d levels. I was then given a prescription for vitamin d and my levels are now back up.

Their theories have been lupus, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and cancer....but they say that my pains don't really fit the diseases because I'm relatively healthy.

Any ideas of what could be wrong with me?! It would be a great help because the pain is keeping me from sleeping and going to classes.

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EmpowHER Guest

I'm now 20 and they have finally figured out that I have a more severe case of Lyme's Disease. They misread the tests two years ago so it gradually became much worse. I am currently undergoing a treatment of 35 different antibiotics/supplments a day for at least 4 years in order to get better. Thanks everyone :)

April 6, 2011 - 2:44pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hello i just accidentally stumbled across this and felt i ought to suggest looking into HMS (hypermobiliy or joint hypermobility syndrome) which I unfortunately have had since i was about 15 but am only just trying to be properly diagnosed with (i am now 34)

it affects all of my joints and nothing ever shows up in x rays or blood tests. yet i am in constant pain and am always strapped up and limping around.

it may not be what you have, but it might e worth ruling out.

I hope you get it sorted out soon, i know how hard it can be when noone takes you and the pain seriously. xx

April 2, 2011 - 11:17am
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Thanks, Jacqueline - there's a lot of very helpful information in the article, and your support's appreciated. Take care, Pat

January 28, 2010 - 5:08pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Courtney - Thanks for writing back, and I'm glad you're going to see an infectious disease specialist. I'm wondering though about why you were told it was a lone star tick bite as Wisconsin is not included in the CDC map of states where the tick lives.


Please let us know what you learn next, and if there's any way we can help you further and help end your pain.
Take care,

January 26, 2010 - 5:31pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Courtney - I'm sorry to hear that you're having severe joint pain, and that you've been dealing with both the pain and so much uncertainty. You mention seeing a doctor who said you made up the pain and ignored your concerns, and then seeing a doctor again. Are you saying you saw the same doctor again? If so, I'm wondering if you can see a different doctor and get a fresh start with one who will take your concerns seriously.

The Centers for Disease Control define Ehrlichiosis as the general name used to describe several bacterial diseases that affect animals and humans. These diseases are caused by the organisms in the genus Ehrlichia. Worldwide, there are currently four ehrlichial species that are known to cause disease in humans.

In the United States, ehrlichiae are transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. The lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum), the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis), and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) are known vectors of ehrlichiosis in the United States. Ixodes ricinus is the primary vector in Europe.

According to the CDC there have been cases where people have been treated for ehrlichiosis and then become re-infected. Is it possible that you're being exposed to the ticks that cause ehrlichiosis and becoming reinfected?

Please take a look at the following link for more information on US exposure areas. If you're not in the US let me know and I will research your area.


I'm going to post the CDC's treatment recommendations - were you treated this way?

Appropriate antibiotic treatment should be initiated immediately when there is a strong suspicion of ehrlichiosis on the basis of clinical and epidemiologic findings. Treatment should not be delayed until laboratory confirmation is obtained. Fever generally subsides within 24-72 hours after treatment with doxycycline or other tetracyclines. In fact, failure to rapidly respond to a tetracycline antibiotic argues against a diagnosis of ehrlichiosis. Preventative therapy in non-ill patients who have had recent tick bites is not warranted.

Doxycycline (100 mg twice daily for adults or 4.4 mg/kg body weight per day in two divided doses for children under 45.4 kgs (100 lbs)) is the drug of choice for patients with ehrlichiosis. The optimal duration of therapy has not been established, but current regimens recommend continuation of treatment for at least 3 days after the fever subsides and until evidence of clinical improvement, for a minimum total course of 5 to 7 days. Severe or complicated disease may require longer treatment courses.

Please let us know the answers to the questions above, and your thoughts about your situation after you read the reference material. We will then have a better idea of next steps to recommend.
Take care,

January 22, 2010 - 6:55pm
(reply to Pat Elliott)

Sorry for the previous confusion. I did not go back to the same doctor that ignored me. Since then I have been to a rheumatoid specialist, a sports medicine specialist, and soon I am going to an infectious disease specialist.

When I was diagnosed the doctor came to the conclusion that I was bitten by a lone star tick (I'm from Wisconsin). I was treated with doxycycline for a week and the pain went away. A few days later it came back again and I was given the same treatment and there were no results. That is when the first doctor gave up. A few months later I was referred to a rheumatoid specialist who ruled out ehrlichiosis all together. He claims that I initally did have it, but that it went away after the treatment but it triggered something else. I did question him about being re-infected but he assured me that I have a high immunity against it and it was not very likely. I asked a couple other doctors and he agreed with him.

Thank you so much for your response :)

January 26, 2010 - 8:37am
(reply to Courtney)


Thank you for keeping us updated, and please keep us updated after your appointment with the infectious disease specialist.

Take care,

January 26, 2010 - 1:34pm
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