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"Aching joints, swelling, fatigue and always ill?"


I am 17 years old and for the past 7 years I have had extreme pain in my knees, but in the past year or so the pain has moved to all my joints. I am always tired and always ill. My immune system seems to be very low and I sometimes (it's becoming more common) I'm randomly being sick. The pain won't go away with pain killers. I sometimes find it hard to walk, and I'm almost everyday in pain. I get swelling in the knees almost all the time but the swelling is worse when I'm in agonising pain. I can't do any of the activities I used to do like dancing because I'm in too much pain the next day. In the mornings and before I go to bed I feel so run down and tired and fatigued. I am now putting on weight as I can't get any exercise so self esteeme is low as my body is changing. Please give me some help, and thanks if you do.


It is not normal to have this level of pain in your joints at your age. Therefore, you definitely must see your doctor if you have not done so already. You could start with your primary care doctor, or you could, alternatively, set up a visit with a rheumatologist.

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Given the constellation of symptoms you mention, especially the presence of pain in multiple joints together with fatigue, I would be most concerned to rule out a rheumatological disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis. Make sure, when you go to see your doctor, that you mention any other associated symptoms, such as swelling or redness in the joints, skin rashes, or fevers. This information will help your doctor narrow down the list of potential causes. In addition to a complete physical examination, your doctor will most likely want to get some basic blood tests looking at inflammatory markers in the bloodstream because, if these are positive, it is highly suggestive of a rheumatologic condition. In addition, they may obtain x-rays of one or more of the affected joints. Based on what they find with these tests, they will be able to help you decide what the next steps are.

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