Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms and Signs

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

Comment from: bllapth, (Patient) Published: May 21

My symptom of rheumatoid arthritis was numbness in the hands, similar to what would mistakenly be diagnosed with tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

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Comment from: Ddt, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 06

I started having pain and morning stiffness in right shoulder. After months of pain, I went to doctor and was sent to therapy twice a week for 6 weeks. I had no relief and pain started in left shoulder. I am waiting to get to a rheumatologist. I have severe pain and stiffness in the morning and painful sleep. Now pain is extending to elbows and wrists. Blood test said rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and second doctor does not believe it to be RA. I just need to find relief and answers.

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Comment from: r1cochet, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 24

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 5 years ago after a very painful and depressing 30th anniversary cruise. I'm retired military (tank mechanic) and have always had some level of joint problems. The Veterans Affairs diagnosed osteoarthritis when I had my retirement physical in 2002. We were a couple of days into the cruise when I started having major pain throughout my body and towards the end of the day I could barely walk. I was only 50 at the time and it felt like I was 90! Luckily my family doctor ran the RA factor and got me referred to a rheumatologist.

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Comment from: Emma Rose, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 05

My rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms began in October 2014 when I experienced a lump on the top of my hand. It was soft to the touch and warm. I iced my hand and the next day, it was gone. A month later, I experienced swelling in a few of my fingers, again warm to the touch. In January the swelling continued and I was diagnosed with RA just today, March 3, 2015.

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Comment from: Lynn L., (Patient) Published: January 07

My rheumatoid arthritis (RA) started out of the blue, in the summer. I'd been working in our yard when I started to feel some pain in the top of my right hand. Didn't think much about it. But by bedtime, the top of my hand had swelled and my fingers became very swollen. Really swollen, I couldn't bend them even. By about 12 am, the other hand had also swelled up and the pain was intense. Again, I had no idea what was wrong. I iced my hands, lay on the bed with them dangling down, took Tylenol (of course), paced the house in agony, got really sick and nauseated from the pain, and finally went to the emergency clinic in desperation. We don't have a good emergency system here. It took hours to see someone, who of course didn't know what was wrong either, and suggested the gardening had caused tendonitis. By then the pain had subsided for some reason. Must have been the time length. After a 2nd episode weeks later, blood work was done and the diagnosis of RA was tentatively given. They thought at first it may even be palindromic; between the first two flares, I had no symptoms. Finally I got to a specialist who confirmed the RA and started me on medications. A year and a half later, it is 'full blown' and thankfully I have no joint damage yet, but it's in my shoulders, hands, jaws, wrists. But though I'm in a constant certain level of pain, it's never been at the level that it was the first couple of times. Thank goodness, because I'm one of those people whose liver does not process narcotic medication. I know a bit about that now.

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Comment from: PeterPanMom, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 30

I've was just diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in September 2014. I've had symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)/gastritis since my teens. In September 2014, I had an episode of food poisoning that seemed to trigger immediate RA symptoms! My rheumatologist seemed to think the RA would be temporary because there's a type from food poisoning that goes away. I disagree with him since my symptoms have gotten progressively worse and it's now December 26, 2014. In April of 2013 I began having foot pain which was diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. Looking back on it now, I believe it was the beginning of RA. I've had tremendous foot pain for the past 1.5 years. I had to buy special shoes that prevent pronation, with special arch supports inserts. These all provided some relief, but not enough. Now, I use these special support straps wrapped around my arches and ankles underneath my socks. These supportive straps have saved my feet! More recently, I've also been experiencing tremendous pain in my hands, wrists, and elbows. I have trigger-fingers in both ring-fingers and pinkies and carpal tunnel in both arms! I believe these problems are all related to RA! I just saw a hand surgeon and got a total of 6 cortisone shots in both hands and wrists. I think these are helping a lot! I've been on sulfasalazine since September 2014. I guess they've helped the RA some, but I'm not sure yet. Sulfasalazine has helped with the IBS stomach issues!

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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 and signs of RA.
Rheumatoid Arthritis - Diagnosis Question: What led to your rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis - Experience With RA and OA Question: Please describe your experience with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

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