Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms and Signs

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

Published: June 19

My symptoms began after I had my second child. My first symptoms were fatigue and joint swelling and pain. I thought these symptoms were a result of having been pregnant and having a new baby at home while taking care of a 1 1/2 year old toddler. However, as the next few months went on I started to notice I was having difficulty managing the snaps and buttons on the baby's clothes, I was having a difficult time pushing my older son in the stroller and in a swing due to pain in my hands and wrists. When my son was about 3 1/2 months old I finally went in to see my primary care MD because I had no idea what was wrong with me. After she examined me and ran some tests, she told me she believed I had RA and that I needed to see a rheumatologist. I went to see 2 different MD's and the diagnosis was confirmed. The first MD I saw was very nice but did not seem to truly understand how this was affecting my life and the lives of my husband and children. She started me on Celebrex and told me to follow up with her in a few months. I did not do well on Celebrex and was switched to Bextra 2 weeks later. Luckily I had scheduled an appointment with another rheumatologist who my primary care MD had recommended. After seeing him I was immediately started on methotrexate, Plaquenil, prednisone, folic acid, and Motrin. I have been on multiple treatments in the four years since then and am thankful my MD is as attentive to me and as aggressive as he is. Today I have 3 beautiful children and have an active and happy life.

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Published: June 18

Pain in all my joints but most severe in my back I always had a hard time typing and opening things but never really had any visible swelling although I always felt like I had some fluid around my joints.

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Published: June 18

I was very interested to read one of the viewer comments saying they had suffered from hives. I suffered from hives for 3 years before being diagnosed with RA about 5 years ago. Mostly it is kept under control now with medication except for my right knee which constantly aches, sometimes when standing it just gives way, this has lead to me falling over and I use a walking stick to help with stability. I suffer from fatigue and I get the feeling from my GP that I should just get over it.

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Published: June 18

I had fatigue and muscle/joint aches for many years before being diagnosed with sero-negative RA. When I was finally diagnosed with sero-negative RA, I had joint inflammation so bad in my shoulders, hands, wrists, feet, knees, and ankles, that I couldn't undress myself or use the restroom by myself. I couldn't even hardly raise my arms above my waist and could barely walk. I had my first positive ANA test in the late 90's but wasn't diagnosed with RA until 2006. Then, it was diagnosed based on my SED rate and the symptoms I was having rather than any other tests.

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Published: June 17

One morning I woke up with symmetrical pain in fingers and wrist. A few days later in both knees.

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Published: June 16

My hands thumped with pain all the time...especially my thumbs. I started dropping everything I tried to pick up. I would get hot all over sometimes, almost like I had a fever but not. A lot of pain and headaches and a general malaise. Please note...as a child, many years before being diagnosed, I used to cry about my thumbs and wrists hurting and it also correlated to migraines I used to have - this is around 3 to 4 years old.)

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Published: June 13

The onset was quick and severe. It seemed one day I was fine, and the next I had a traveling pain that let off somewhat during the day, but at night came back with a vengeance. It started in my elbows, traveled to my wrists to the point where I couldn't grasp or lift a sheet of paper. It traveled to my neck for three days so that I could hardly move my head. The pain hit both knees at different days (mostly the right knee). Finally the pain found its main home in my elbows. The pain at night feels like my forearm will just break off if I roll over. Nothing seems to be very effective in alleviating the pain. It started in March of 08, and I've had it without fail since then.

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Published: June 13

I was diagnosed with RA about three years ago at age 21. I never had any symptoms. The doctor said you can test positive and never have any symptoms. Is that true? If I have a few beers, the next few days my fingers feel like pins are sticking in them and are very hard to move. Can certain foods or drinks cause flares?

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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?

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