Q. What can be done to cure joint pain with muscle tenderness?

Answered by
Dr. Naval Mendiratta
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 19, 2020

Hello doctor,

I am a 26-year-old female. I have joint pain in widespread bilaterally in elbows, knees, and ankles. I also have muscle tenderness on my neck and shoulders and back pain from a herniated disc. I take Diclofenac 75 mg PRN for pain. I have had laboratory work done and I have seen a rheumatologist. My initial labs: ANA positive 1:160 speckled. CRP was elevated. My anti-DS DNA, CCP and RA factor were all negative. Secondary lab work through ELISA showed negative ANA and all other autoimmune laboratories were negative except for positive anti-phosphatidylserine/Prothrombim A at 44 units. Slightly low vitamin D but I take supplements. I eat a plant based diet and exercise twice a week. My other medical history includes depression and anxiety for which I take medication. My question is despite my labs being negative, why do I still have joint pain and muscles aches?



Welcome to

I would like to ask you a few more queries:

1. Is your sleep pattern fine? Morning fatigue?

2. How frequently are you taking Diclofenac?

3. Any hair fall/oral ulcers/dry eyes/dry mouth?

4. Any recent irritability or forgetfulness?

5. How much was the level of CRP you had mentioned?

6. A personal question: But is there a particular reason for the depression? Any family history for endogenous depression?

There can be many reasons of pain. We need to distinguish if it is inflammatory or non inflammatory. Alone ANA positive may not imply much here. We have to see if it is impacting your system as well.

Thank you doctor,

1. I do struggle with insomnia and I take Melatonin. Most days I wake up feeling tired and not well rested. Sleep apnea has been ruled out.

2. I take Diclofenac maybe twice a week. Not everyday.

3. None of those. I would say I have watery eyes due to seasonal allergies.

4. No irritability or forgetfulness.

5. The CRP was slightly elevated at 1.74. Oddly enough, my sedimentation rate was normal.

6. Yes, the depression stems from a difficult relationship with my mother from when I was a teen. I do not think there is a family history of endogenous depression.

The best way that I can described feeling is that my body feels like an 80-year-old woman in a 26-year-old body.



Welcome back to

Well, I would like to put forward my conclusions. Although limitation remains with examination part, but will still try to reach the bottom of the diagnosis.

1. ANA can be positive in 5-10 % of the general population, but eventually we need to see what impact it is throwing. In your case the symptoms you mentioned and further questions I asked did not show that you are heading towards SLE/Sjogrens Syndrome as of yet. Secondly, further test for ANA (ENA profile) is also negative. As for anti-phosphatidylserin is again the marker for APLA syndrome but before advising these tests we need to have a strong pre test probability. Lot of antibodies can come positive, and if we start chasing them things go haywire.

2. Part of generalized body pain, decreased sleep depression all head towards a condition called fibromyalgia. Both are very much interconnected and one can lead to other. You can read about it and see if your symptoms match your current state, as then we can modify the medications a little and try to introduce alternative modes of therapy.

3. CRP we can just observe as well and repeat after 4 weeks to see if it still high or not. With normal ESR, again the probability of connective tissue disease goes down.

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