Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms

What were your symptoms at the onset of your rheumatoid arthritis?

Published: May 19

It feels like a tiny bone or tendon/ligament is out of place. Sharp localized pain usually in one or two areas at a time (wrist, palm, finger). It comes and goes. Years ago, while swimming in fairly cold water, my hands felt warm blood flow as if in warm water but the rest of my body was cool. I believe this was the first onset. Several years later and until this day, I have a dry mouth but only while sleeping.

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Published: May 15

I had great, great pain in my fingers, and then it stopped for a period and started again. Then one day my toes where in so much pain I wanted to cut my foot off.

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Published: May 15

My rheumatoid arthritis was mostly evident in my hands and has been helped by methotrexate to a great degree. I now have symptoms in both shoulders, which apparently is somewhat unusual, and I also have osteoarthritis in the shoulders as well. Celebrex helps with pain but causes me to swell up. My concern is how to prevent further deterioration, not just pain.

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Published: May 14

I initially had severe pain in my feet. I could barely walk. I felt silly because there seemed to be no explanation. Eventually, the pain moved to my hands as well, and my joints became swollen and extremely sore. Lab tests confirmed RA. I have been on methotrexate for three months. The pain has returned in my hands, wrists, and elbows but is now more of a tingling, numb feeling. It is very annoying and painful. I am also very fatigued. I will see my rheumatologist next week. Luckily, I feel very comfortable and trust him. I believe that is very important when dealing with this type of disease.

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Published: May 13

My first symptoms were fatigue, pain, and swelling in my finger joints. Next came my feet and, to a lesser extent, my knees. I ignored all this as long as possible (and I'm an orthopedic RN!), until I noticed nodules on several of my fingers. I went to a rheumatologist and, yup, positive RA factor. I'm 37.

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Published: May 11

I've had severe upper back and neck pain for 10 years. I have bulging discs at C5-6 and C6-7. It is constant and deep and nothing seems to help. Then one and a half years ago, I tripped down a couple steps and hurt my right knee. The X-rays showed I had very significant arthritis in the right knee and some in the left. I developed bilateral carpal tunnel and aching in my elbows. Finally, an RF test came back positive. I am very tired and stiff in the mornings, and the pain ranges from almost intolerable to not too bad, sometimes on a day-by-day basis. My fingers are stiff with some swellings. I was put on sulfasalazine (SSA) and Plaquenil in March 2008; I haven't noticed too much of a change. The rheumatologist originally wanted to put me on methotrexate, but I asked for SSA instead.

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Published: May 10

I can barely move my middle finger on my right hand. Ice does not help, nor does ibuprofen. All the "hard spots," or places where I can feel the joints through my skin, on my hands and feet hurt. Only the middle finger on my right hand is really swollen and red though. I just did a lot of painting and sanding and type for a living, but last year I had a positive RA factor on an arthritis panel. I am 31.

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Published: May 10

Looking back, I had tendonitis in my feet and elbows for years and started taking Aleve on a daily basis. Then Raynaud's affected my hands two years ago. This year, my hand swelled up while at work to the point of not being able to use it, and the swelling became migratory to my elbows and feet. I woke up that weekend not being able to move my arm. My lab work confirmed RA, and the very morning after starting prednisone I was able to get out of bed and work out in the yard. RA does not run in the family, but SLE does, and for years my friend who is a doctor suspected it was lupus, but it turned out to be RA. I am 44, and it is good to finally know that there is a reason for the fatigue, pain, and swelling.

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Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Treatments Question: What treatments have been effective for your rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis - Prognosis Question: What's the prognosis for your rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis - Diet Question: Discuss the diet or other lifestyle changes you've made to relieve symptoms of RA.
Rheumatoid Arthritis - Diagnosis Question: What led to your rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis?

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