I am a 34yr old dental hygienist who has been having joint pain and stiffness in both wrists, hand/finger joints and toe joints for about 4 mos. Sometimes the pain is excrutiating. There is also pain and stiffness in my knees, hips, and shoulders.Stiffness persists 1-2 hours in the am and returns during the day after any period of prolonged inactivity. I have been reluctant to try any medications for fear of side effects to my liver etc. However, WILL DELAYING MEDICAL TREATMENT AND TRYING ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES (ACCCUPUNCTURE, DIET, MASSAGE) ULTIMATELY MAKE MY CONDITION WORSE? IS THERE A WINDOW WHERE TREATMENT IS MOST EFFECTIVE MEDICALLY? AM I PERMANENTLY DAMAGING MYSELF BY WAITING?
For the individual patient, it remains difficult to predict who wlll have aggressive disease and who will have a mild course. Thus, I can’t predict what will happen if you wait, particualrly without seeing you. But overall, multiple studies have shown that earlier, more intensive treatment prevents x-ray damage and improves long term outcomes.