Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms

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

Comment from: Shelly, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 24

I began experiencing sharp pain and stiffness in my right hand. This pain always occurs in the morning and may not go away. I thought that I hurt my hand somehow but I could not remember what I did. I also began to experience extreme fatigue and malaise. About 4 months later, I went to the doctor and after many repeat blood tests to rule out Lyme disease and Lupus, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I am adjusting to the medications Plaquenil and methotrexate, but they make me feel sick also. I have a ringing in my ears and loss of appetite. I sometimes have problems writing, dressing, or writing with my right hand.

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Comment from: adekoya, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 24

I developed pain in my legs, shoulder blades, ribs, right hand, and eyes. I also developed a high fever, nausea, and dark urine.

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Published: June 23

I was seeing a chiropractor for back, neck, and shoulder pain. He's the one who suggested that I might have arthritis. Sure enough, after two rheumatologists and lab results of a positive RA titer and a strong positive anti-CCP result, I found out I had RA. I had a very demanding and stressful job at the time, and I barely made it out of the bed. I was so stiff; with pain in my hips, knees, hands. I had to quit that job. I'm currently taking methotrexate, Humira, folic acid, and the occasional solumedrol injection. I'm 35 now and am currently dealing with extreme fatigue and pain while trying to work, attend college, and take care of my family.

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Published: June 02

I was an active, healthy male. I was diagnosed with RA at age 44 (9 months after a minor motorcycle accident that injured my left wrist). My symptoms began with a general feeling of fatigue and malaise. Then a few months later, morning numbness in the fronts of both feet that lasted for a few hours. I saw a podiatrist and was mis-diagnosed with "Morton's Neuroma". As my symptoms progressed, I had sharp shoulder, wrist and elbow pains during the night. Then, a gradual stiffening of my right, pinky finger; followed by stiff, sore and swollen fore and index fingers predominately on my right hand, but also on the left. I was diagnosed with RA and Hypo-thyroid initially. After taking "Thyroxin" for about 4 weeks, I began taking "Hydroxychloroquine" and "Naproxen". My thyroid corrected and I stopped taking Thyroxin. My RA symptoms persisted with primarily sore, stiff hands in the mornings (3-4 hrs), sore ankles, a swollen elbow and muscle fatigue. After about 4 months, we added "Methotrexate" for 3 months with some success (no more swollen elbow or sharp shoulder pains and less sore hands), however, my liver enzyme count became elevated too high. I've now (5 months) been taking "Sulfasalazine" (3 grams/day) with "Hydroxychloroquine" (400 mg/day) and am having much less swelling in my hands and ankles now. Some days are better than others. I have much less energy than I used to. I stopped working (6 months after my diagnosis) because the medicine didn't eliminate the pain, fatigue and swelling; and I could no longer move heavy objects without possibly causing permanent damage to my joints. I was approved for Social Security Disability benefits immediately (after initial 6 month waiting period). I'm hopeful that my symptoms will go away one day or at least be controlled with medication.

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Published: May 19

I had been sick from Bronchitis. I complained about feeling "stiff" in my shoulders. They told me it was from coughing. I started having problems walking, my hips hurt. I thought it was because I stopped going to the gym due to the bronchitis. Within a week, I couldn't lift my shoulders off the bed in the morning then to not being able to even pull the blankets up to cover up because my hands hurt so bad. Within two weeks my hands, wrists, hips and feet were in so much pain. Currently I am being managed with Plaquenil and Methotrexate and Prednisone. I have full mobility but tinges of pain every now and then.

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Comment from: Rebtay, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 07

I had a swollen thumb, wrist and left hand, it was very painful.

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Comment from: Alexa, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 24

At the start of my rheumatoid arthritis, I had sore wrists and could not turn on taps.

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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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