Stiff painful middle fingers in two joints with multiple autoimmune diseases

by Annabelle
(East Coast, USA)

Four colours for breakfast

Four colours for breakfast

Stiff painful middle fingers in two joints with multiple autoimmune diseases demands a long hard look at lifestyle.


The middle fingers of both hands are stiff and painful in the knuckle near the fingernail and the middle one. My other fingers are stiff as well though not as bad off, and they do not have the pain.

Sometimes in order to make a fist when I wake up or have otherwise have had my hands still a while is to nudge the fingers against my leg or arm to start the bending process. Once I make a fist and release it, my fingers are a bit better. Still painful in the middle ones but less stiff. I have to make and release my hands in and out of fists through the day or they will again become very stiff.

I have a lot of health issues with my immune system. I have Raynauds and it is mid October, though still warm here. Yet I've had this issue even in the summer months. I have JRA, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Sjogren's, Ehler's Danlos, chronic pain, ME/CFS, and a few other things.

In January 2017 I got coughed on at the doctor's office and ended up with mononucleosis. I'm still fatigued to the point I am barely functioning 10 months later. I only mention this because this is the year my hands started doing this weird stiff and painful finger thing. It's been most of the year like this with my hands.

My doctor says it could be the fibro, JRA, lupus, raynauds, sjogren's, ehler's, any, all, some. That's not helping! I already take tramadol for other health issues and it doesn't seem to do anything at all for my hands. Ibuprofen (Motrin specifically and not a generic version) isn't any help either. I took both today and have had no relief of my hands although I have gotten relief from the other pains that I took the tablets for.

It started off mild and has gotten worse over the months. I double checked how I hold brushes and colored pencils. I watched carefully how I hold my 3DS gaming console. I watched how I hold my Kindle. None of those are causing the issue as the main two fingers that hurt are not pushed in any odd way. When I try to pick up anything more than about 12oz of water in a bottle, such as a book, dishes to put away, a hot water bottle, anything that will cause my fingers to shift results in intense pain in all my fingers but especially the middle ones. I've had to adjust how I pick things up and carry mostly with my palms so my fingers do not get shifted.

I'm not sure what to do. Heat helps and cold makes it much worse. Keeping them moving regularly helps a bit too.

I have not included photos as my hands are not swollen, red, or showing any other differences than they did last year or any other year.

Thank you very much.

Hello Annabelle,
It's almost certainly one of the autoimmune diseases that is affecting your hands, and frankly which one probably doesn't make much difference. It there's no swelling then it's probably not rheumatoid arthritis which is something to be grateful for.

There's an explosion of these autoimmune diseases in the world; it has to do with lifestyle, and precisely what is difficult to pin down as you've discovered.

My own feeling that diet has a lot to do with it; as we've moved away from the foods that your great grandmother would have served to today's convenience meals there's been this explosion.

We've take the vitamin E and essential oils and lignins out of flour, the vitamin C and carotenes out of oranges and lemons, we've stopped eating our greens and instead we think that supplements will replace the multiplicity of nutritional compounds in our food.

And in their place because they no longer taste good without these compounds, we add sugar, too much salt and a host of flavour enhancers, MSG and many others.

It's hard to know where to start. In short you need to become a health nut if you want to overcome this pain and disability. And I'm afraid I can't even promise you that it will help this specific problem; certainly it will improve your overall health.

If you eat a lot of junk, look no further. If your diet is really quite good, then you have to look elsewhere.

A great and not too difficult start would be to make sure you get ten coloured foods into your diet every day; don't fuss about quantity just aim for variety. For example, a sprig of parsley in a salad or on scrambled eggs would count for one.

It's no guarantee obviously but the good wife and I eat the kinds of meals you see above every day; we take no medication, have minimal pain which at seventy is remarkable. We get plenty of exercise in the garden; we both still work part time and plan to for the next ten years.

A deep massage of your fingers and hands every day would certainly help, using a little arnica oil. You could do it to yourself or ask hubby to bully you; your chiropractor or masseuse would too, I expect.

The long and the short of it, Annabelle, is take a good long, hard look at your lifestyle; there is no magic bullet. Becoming a healthnut will help, just how much, I'm not sure. Let me know in a few months time; don't expect miraculous, overnight changes.

You'll find a huge amount of material, with the research backing it up at Chiropractic Help and my other site, by the way; take the time to browse our healthy living tips; yes, it will be mammoth change; we've made the step up to better health and thank God every day that we've done it. Only you can ring in the changes.

Good luck, I hope this helps in your search for better health.

Dr B

» Stiff painful middle fingers in two joints with multiple autoimmune diseases

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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