I'm not sure if you have insurance, or what type you have, but if you haven't already, look in your area to see if there are psychologists/counselors that deal with chronic pain. My doctor told my mother who also has Ra that it was a good idea, since this would be my life-long companion and hers, that we have a 'circle' of people for support, which obviously included my Rheumatologist. I see a psychiatrist too, so does my mother.
I think, for me, it helps me when I go to the Rheumatologist and I am looking to just have more questions answered about my progression and the meds.
I don't have to think about why this pain is making me depresessed, and what can my Rheumie do for that, because most times they can't do a thing.
What my psychologist and psychiatrist do is keep in contact with each other and the Rheumatologist and my GP so they all get the bigger picture of how I am feeling on all levels.
My Rheumie knows I'm depressed with this many times. But it's not his specialty as you'll find with almost any doctor you see. Say you go and see a doctor for your kidneys for instance, that's all you'll be treated for. They don't care what else is going on with you. They treat you for what you come to see them for.
I find the psychologist to be helpful to vent to, and then she tries to help with techniques to help my mind relax which really does help the pain. The psychiatrist is obviously skilled in meds for depression, anxiety and so forth. It doesn't mean you have to be on those types of meds for the rest of your life, [the meds for depression] but it might be a good "aid" [I often refer to the meds for my depression as swimming floaties for kids]. It helps when you need it the most, and then over time, the dosage is lessened when you learn how to cope with this disease.
Have you tried any alternative types of medicine in conjunction? I am not talking just supplement wise, but acupuncture or chiropractic? Many times in conjunction with a right combination of meds that your Rheumatologist will eventually find for you, these will work wonders as well.
Finally, no one know why we get this. Genetics, chemicals in the air, allergins, bacterial, viral. Takes one thing many a time to trigger all these exposures to our bodies off. Stress.
If you have a Rheumatologist that will take the time to find out what might be causing it, you'd be in great hands. Most, under time constraints don't have the time to test everything they would need to figure these Autoimmune diseases out which is sad. I was reading an article at my doctor's office last month that said I think back 25-30 years ago there was about 50 Autoimmune diseases that doctors knew of. They are estimating that by the end of 2010 there will be now over 200. It obviously has to have something to do with the lifestyles we are born into today than then. But that information alone is scary because it's harder for the doctors to pinpoint what ones we can get.
Keep us updated on what your Rheumatologist will be doing. I hope he finds something that eases your pain.