Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms and Signs

Question:

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

Comment from: Bobby T., 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 27

I have been dealing with rheumatoid arthritis for my whole life, it started about in my early 30s back in the 90s. I would have my hand swell up to big red balloons around my knuckles and I wouldn't be able to move the hands at all. What I did notice that helped relieve the pain, but not the swelling was Absorbine Jr. The arthritis cream made it easier with the stiffness and the pain when I had the worst conditions. The swelling and the movement were still bad though and sometimes that made it hard to do the easiest of tasks around the house. The thing I noticed at first and the early signs were pain and the swelling. The swelling where my knuckles would get red where the first indications that I had rheumatoid arthritis. I hope this helps your cause.

Comment from: lhammer, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 16

My symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) began last spring. My left wrist and fingers became swollen and red. I am a special education teacher of students with moderate to severe disabilities, and one of my students was extremely aggressive: hitting, kicking and scratching my instructional assistants and me. I assumed it was a result of attempting to calm her down when she was a danger to herself, her teachers, and her classmates. The pain and swelling lasted several days, and went away as quickly as it had appeared. Two weeks later I had the same experience with my right hand, and had me convinced I had broken my wrist. Again, the pain and swelling subsided after several days. Last week I woke up fine, then began to feel pain in my shoulder and elbow so badly that I had to hold one arm up with the other to keep it from hanging at my side. All that I remembered was that I had thrown a ball with my son at the pool and had watered the flowers. I already had my yearly physical with my primary care physician scheduled, and mentioned the issues I was having. She did some bloodwork and had me get my arm x-rayed. I didn't think much more about it. This morning my doctor called and told me my CCP level was high (134), indicating I have RA, and referred me to a rheumatologist. The information is just starting to sink in. My husband has fibromyalgia, so I'm the primary caretaker of our children (ages 5 and 16) and wonder what will happen when my RA gets worse. I'm also worried about my ability to do my job. I'm only 42, so I have a long time to go before I can retire.

Comment from: tinker sad, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 21

I had my head in the sand, in denial for about a year! We live out in the country so at first I thought I had been bit by a spider. I would rest for a bit and ice the hands/feet and then it would stop, until recently. Now if I lift a suitcase, make up bag or anything my hands/fingers swell way up, turn deep red, and the only thing that helps is plunging my feet in a bath of ice water. Taking Benadryl and NSAIDs did not help. I found a new doctor and she pushed me to do all this bloodwork after I took pictures on my cell phone of my fingers. I have rheumatoid arthritis and it is scary! I am a caretaker for my husband and our farm, and well, it is going to be a big adjustment. I was put on a pain medicine that also helps with the swelling. My guess is I will end up on methotrexate or prednisone. Good luck each and every one of you, this disease is a learning process. Don't give up.

Comment from: Liz, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 19

To the patient who said her doctor will not treat her because she does not have that much pain in her hands even though she was tested positive for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), find yourself another rheumatologist. I have RA and most of my pain is in my back/neck, hips and knees and feet. It started with swelling in my knees, and stiffness. I also have found that the antibiotic Cipro seems to make my symptoms worse. Also tell all of your dentists, surgeons, etc., before you go under any anesthesia all of the medications you are taking. I am taking Zyprexa and Neurontin and did not divulge this to my oral surgeon and was given a strong pain reliever and I think I may have had an adverse reaction, as shortly after the surgery (root canal) I started getting the symptoms. A healthy diet helps and I am currently taking a once monthly injection. Methotrexate did not help that much. Exercise, even if it is mild such as walking helps also.

Comment from: Shocked, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 26

Out of the blue, I woke up on January 5, 2016, and felt my hands aching in a way I'd never felt before. Of course, you try to figure it out so I decided that I'd probably clenched my fists all night long. The following night, while the finger/hand pain woke me up constantly, I made a mental note of the position of all my fingers. I'd reposition myself, very careful to have all the fingers straight, not even mildly flexed. Such intense pain. Within three days, both hands were swollen, I had limited range of motion and extreme pain. I couldn't brush my teeth! As the day went by they felt less inflamed but I could tell something was wrong. I made a doctor appointment for the next morning. The doctor suspected rheumatoid arthritis and ordered tons of lab work and 2 days later I was able to see a rheumatologist who diagnosed me based on a very high CCP and presenting symptoms. My RF (rheumatoid factor) was negative. I am taking Plaquenil. I still wonder if this is true! Looking back, I recognize the numbness I kept having in my hands and arms at bedtime, dry scratchy right eye, and dry mouth. The joint pain jumps around.

Comment from: Debz, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 10

I have just been told I have early onset rheumatoid arthritis but no there is no inflammation in my blood tests.

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Comment from: gibs, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: July 18

I first lost my ability to stand up from a sitting position due to total body weakness. The physician I saw that same week ran a blood test and told me it appeared to be rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Comment from: Dolphinboy67, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 21

What was diagnosed as tennis elbow has me concerned of more about rheumatoid arthritis. I developed heat spots and slight inflammation, I want to test to find out any symptomatic future problems.

Comment from: nana, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 16

When I was working out at the gym, I began to have difficulty with the biceps machine. Every time I gripped the bar to pull towards me my wrists hurt and I lost strength. Also, I was not able to grip a tenpin bowling ball anymore. This was in fall of 2010. After 4 months of this I saw my primary care physician who ran some tests and sent me to a rheumatologist. He did more extensive lab tests, x-rays and ultrasound of my hands and got a definitive diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. He put me on Plaquenil and Fosamax. He also gave me Voltaren for flare-ups. Fortunately it was caught in the early stages and I am able to work and live life as pain free as possible. I have had a nodule removed from my little finger, and have one on my middle finger. I have an appointment with hand surgeon.

Comment from: captshed, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 19

I have had AID (auto immune disease) for about 15 years, but until recently, it was mostly in the form of skin lesions. I have now been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and cannot believe how my life has changed in such a short time. From being a very active person, to having trouble walking or holding a golf club is awful. My rheumatologist has me on methotrexate, but it hasn't helped and the pain is constant. I feel as if I have trigger finger in both hands.

Comment from: Rstra00, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 15

I really didn't have any symptoms to start with. My feet hurt every morning when I got up but are fine as long as I am moving, and this has gone on for 1 year. My first ANA was positive in August 2014. The RA (rheumatoid arthritis) factor was negative. I started having pains in both knees, both elbows, both wrists and feet. I also have stiffness all over with fatigue. I have no visible swelling or fever during a flare. I went to a rheumatologist who retested me, and this time the RA factor is positive as well as strong positive CCP antibodies. I am a Native American and this runs in my family. I don't do well with side effects so am managing any flares with meditation, exercise, diet, and some natural remedies for now.

Comment from: leckertmason, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

I work in warehousing, have for the last 30 years. About six months ago the morning stiffness started. Five months ago I felt like something was in my eye. There was nothing there, real dry eye. In the last 3 months, I started with my left hand and wrist swelling along with the warmth and redness. Now, my feet, ankles, knees, wrists and elbows swell and hurt. This last week my neck hurts like heck. When my feet hurt I end up limping. I am assuming this is why my sciatic nerve starts acting up. This is mostly affecting my left side so much my husband was afraid I maybe had a stroke. Last week I finally saw a rheumatologist and she ordered a bunch more blood tests. I walk all day long, on concrete, wearing steel toed boots. I leave work every day limping and most days I'm in tears by the time I get in my truck. I also have scoliosis with 2 half missing vertebrae, one in the lower back and one in the upper back. They have me on methylprednisolone at the moment. It is helping with the swelling and some of the pain.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Comment from: palmtree lover, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 05

Back in 2000 when I was 33 I had an acute case of fatigue and muscle aches but no stiffness or swelling of any joints. This lasted for about 4 months. Then a remission period for about 3 months and since then I have had occasional flares. Rheumatoid factor is positive but I kept telling my rheumatologist he was wrong because I didn't have the usual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis other people experience, and he kept saying just wait until you are 50. Well, I am 47 now and I am starting to have pain and stiffness in my joints in the middle of the night and the pain will wake me up. I also feel more tired than usual. Maybe the doctor was right.

Comment from: Alli, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 30

I started having pain in my left foot. The doctor tested me for gout and it was negative. A couple of months later I started having pain and stiffness in my left hand that was severe at night. The doctor did blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and I tested positive for anti-CCP. Then the pain started spreading to other joints. I had been having fatigue for a long time but it got much worse. I was so tired some days that I didn't feel like driving myself home from work. My eyes were dry and irritated and I had a dry cough. On the days I had extreme fatigue my voice would get weak as well.

Comment from: bbabc, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 05

I woke up one morning with a pain in my shoulder and thought I had pulled something in my sleep. The pain continually got worse until using my arm was unbearable, in the mornings especially. I had to take a hot shower to be able to move and get ready for work at all. Over the course of 3 months, as the rheumatoid arthritis progressed, that pain and swelling spread to most of the other joints in my body.

Comment from: miyoshii, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 04

It happened suddenly about 5 years ago. Pinky finger and ring finger swelled up so painful, red, and bent; looked like I broke my two fingers. Doctor took x-ray and we had a surprise. I have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It was so horribly painful and it looks terrible. Now after 5 years I have bent fingers and knobby bones in the same two fingers. It started with an injury, someone I worked with bumped into me. I see it happening on my right hand now just slower. I play the piano and garden to keep positive and take Epsom and sea salt bath almost every day to help me get through my full time job. I also have 8 degenerated discs, 4 in the neck and 4 in the lower back. At my job it is exhausting and I worry that I might not be able to work soon. I am always tired and feel pain more often than before. Not doing the usual stuff I used to do. My feet are getting worse too. I wear steel toe boots and walk on concrete all day. I just hope there is some cure or way to slow it down. I have a lot of living still to do. I also use aromatherapy a lot. I have started breathing exercises and Tai Chi. I hope the best for everyone and thank you for allowing me to share.

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Comment from: worrieduk, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 09

My knee joints started to hurt first and my muscles around the knee and calf area became painful, then one morning my hands and fingers had pains. Over the months the fingers have started to swell a bit, then my elbows recently have started to hurt and I feel that it is the muscle around the elbow joint and along the arm which are painful. Some days are worse than others, but there is always a dull ache. I am now referring myself to the general physician for further analysis and will look at any diet changes and/or weight loss programs. This onset of rheumatoid arthritis also coincided with me being unable to eat gluten and (possibly) milk products.

Comment from: Rae, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 02

I'm 39 and just have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I've had troubles with the balls and joints of both my feet since childhood and have been diagnosed with Morton's neuromas. I suffer pain in the feet every day and now I walk with a limp. My second and third toes roll to the sides and my little toes don't even touch the ground, they sit on the fourth toes. Years ago my wrists began to ache, kind of like a carpal tunnel pain. Two years ago I began getting really tired and just felt unwell. My fingers started to hurt. Being very active I couldn't understand why all of the sudden I started to slow down. I went to the doctors and had blood tests done. It came back that I was anemic so I started taking iron tablets. These didn't work and I was still not feeling well so I went back to the doctors and she investigated further. My blood tests showed a negative RA factor but raised ESR and neutropenia. I was put on prednisolone and felt wonderful after a few days. She referred me to a rheumatologist whom I was lucky to see in 3 weeks. I start taking methotrexate (MTX) next week. Today I experience pain in my feet, fingers, wrists and shoulders. I'm stiff every day, have muscle weakness and I know how my day will be the moment I get out of bed. Most days I feel hot with a temperature over 37.5. I don't sleep well and just feel yuck. At the moment I've got bruising and swelling between thumb and forefingers of both hands which came up yesterday. RA isn't pleasant at all but I try to stay positive because stress makes everything worse.

Comment from: suddenlystiff, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 28

It started about 3 months ago with onset of aches and feeling fatigued. I was in a very stressful situation at work during the time and had been feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Then I started experiencing joint pain in my shoulder. Pretty soon it was both shoulders then my elbows, wrists, knees and ankles. The pain was intense but yet I kept getting up and going to work. Eventually after a month of all over joint pain I started experiencing severe swelling in my feet and ankles. The swelling was so extreme that I was unable to wear my normal shoes to work because they didn"t fit. The pain was intolerable. I have a pretty high threshold for pain but, this pain made me cry several times. I missed 3 days of work at that time because I literally couldn"t walk. I had been to my primary care physician (PCP) at that point three times. She put me on prednisone and referred me to a rheumatologist. For someone who"s always been in good health and has never relied on medication it was a bit terrifying and overwhelming. All of my lab tests (5 trips to the lab) came back negative for anything other than a severe vitamin D deficiency and elevated inflammation markers (my feet and ankles looked like they belonged on an elephant!). The rheumatologist just diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) although my lab tests show no markers. He had hoped it was viral and would have gone away by now. Wrong! I"m still dealing with the swelling and pain to the point where it takes all of what little energy I have left to try and stay positive. I"m 41 years old and am having a rough time with this newly diagnosed illness. I"m reading a lot about it and now trying to make an educated decision to start the medication he prescribed last week. I"m finding it impossible to make lemonade out of these lemons life has thrown my way.

Comment from: MICHIGAN, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 11

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia first and the doctors knew something else was wrong but could not pinpoint it and I was just depressed. Finally I found a wonderful rheumatologist that confirmed the fibromyalgia but also seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. This point took almost 4 years to get to. I am on Plaquenil and ibuprofen (which I have to limit due to blood pressure). I experience joint pain, redness, swelling (which I can tell is fluid), and lately the stiffness has been more noticeable but not when I first wake up. I am more concerned with the eye blurriness that I have been experiencing. That"s on top of everything from restless legs to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and skin issues from the fibromyalgia. They just confirmed that my RA level is moderate but I do not want to start the intravenous medications and I am sensitive to others (allergic to Celebrex).

Comment from: sassyb, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 19

I think I may have had this for years. It started with soreness and stiffness in my fingers and I noticed my longest fingers were slightly bent too. I thought it was just growing older and didn't associate it with flu like symptoms that I was getting and general tiredness that wouldn't improve. I went to my general physician many times to have blood tests and was found to have low thyroid function and low iron. I thought the problem was solved but realized that the RA (rheumatoid arthritis) had attacked my thyroid too. I have been recently diagnosed and feel at last I have an answer.

Comment from: Tracy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 05

I had just been through some severe personal life changes that happened back to back throughout the past year. My depression had increased as expected and my doctor related my symptoms to that so it took longer to find the true diagnosis. I would wake up in the morning just bone tired. The fatigue was there constantly and was life altering. My knees felt like if I attempted squatting, they would literally explode. It hurt my knuckles to knock on a door. The summer prior I was mountain biking and was very active. My son who was also very active often in the woods, was diagnosed with Lyme disease. 1 month later I started having those symptoms also and although the Western Blot was unequivocal it showed I did recently have parvovirus. The next summer, almost to the day I started having some of the same symptoms again and then it was clarified as RA (rheumatoid arthritis). I have read studies that parvovirus could be linked to RA and also that an extremely stressful event could be linked to RA. I guess I have both of those risk factors. I am now taking Plaquenil. That has made a big difference but I'm not in remission yet. Can't say that I look forward to our life together but it is what you make it. I am told now that it is a mild case, I hope that is as far as we go together.

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Comment from: Tria, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 05

I have had no diagnosis as yet and the rheumatologist appointment is still 2 months away. Initial symptoms have been neck pain, left ankle and elbow inflammation, then both hips began to be sore although left appears to be the worst. The knees hurt also, left being the worst; my hands are also stiff first thing in the morning but are good once I use them, although they feel what I call grisly all day. I tried to continue with aerobics for a while and although it did not hurt when doing the aerobics, it was painful the next day. I have not experienced fatigue and I do not feel my joints are stiff, only my hands. My chest also feels strange and makes me feel 'blah'. I have thought if it is rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, blood tests to date have proved negative to both. But it may be some other form of arthritis but am not very happy I can no longer go to the gym as the pain the next day is too much, life sucks at the moment. Diagnosis takes too long due to long waiting lists for appointments. So far it has taken over six months to get to this stage as I think due to some stressful situations in my life six months ago; the doctors I believe thought it was due to depression and anxiety.

Comment from: Kate, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

I had a deer tick bite with rash, went to the doc and was given 1 week of amoxycycline. One month later, I was back at the doctor's with pain in my feet, one shoulder, and one finger. I was treated with 1 month of doxycycline. I got better, then worse. I was diagnosed with RA (rheumatoid arthritis) in mid-October. Did the Lyme cause RA? No one can/will say! By October my entire body felt swollen, in severe pain all over; very swollen legs/feet and hands. I am using a walker. I have fatigue and loss of appetite, and I am not able to sleep well.

Comment from: Katrinka66, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 20

I was just fine - jogged 5 miles each day, helped my husband build a three story addition on to the house, worked on rebuilding player pianos, sewed for others, etc. One evening about 7 years ago, my fingers began to tingle, an odd feeling. Then I went to get up from the couch and my knees pained like someone was cutting them off. By 4 AM, I was screaming to my husband to "cut off my hands". The pain was unbearable and my wrists and fingers were twisted to one side. He rushed me to the emergency room and they thought maybe it was a spider bite or something. No one really knew what to do. I was sent home when the pain let up enough for me to walk. The next night the same thing, awake at 4 AM in agony. The next day I had an appointment with my psychiatrist as I had had severe panic disorder and depression since age 23 and needed a refill. He took one look at my twisted wrist and fingers and said, "Oh my goodness, you have rheumatoid arthritis!" He pulled strings and got me into see a "booked up" rheumatologist the next day. Every joint in my body was inflamed and my CRP turned out to be about 405! I was put on prednisone 5 mg each night, but became psychotic because of this drug and could not take it at all. I was then put on methotrexate for one year, but it did nothing to help. (I later learned doctors have to follow "protocol".) Finally, I was started on Humira. Week by week, my hands began hurting less and less and I was able to hold a glass of water and feed myself. Then I could walk again with pain, but I could walk. Then I began my housework, cooking, sewing clothes, mowing the lawn, helping my husband with carpentry work, etc. Without the Humira, I think I would be dead by now, or just lying uselessly in bed screaming in pain. I've been in severe accidents when I was younger and known pain, but the pain of sudden-onset RA is indescribable.

Comment from: Paula, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 20

I was 27years old and my 2nd child was one year old when I noticed one of my fingers was inflamed, swollen. The swelling wouldn't subside. Tests showed RA (rheumatoid arthritis). Then progressively other joints started to get affected and I had much pain, not able to do up the buttons on my children's clothing. Dressing myself was very painful. I would ring my mother in tears not knowing what was happening to my body. I was hoping I would lose it after my 3rd child, as I had heard sometimes it leaves when you have children, it was not to be, I am now 50. I tried numerous medicines. I was on Arava up until 6 months ago which gave me good relief, but wanted a rest off medicines, (23 years). I was coping ok up until 2 months ago, taking prednisone 5 mg every 2nd day to get some relief. I will probably go back on Arava.

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.

Comment from: Kanagam, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 22

I'm a government employee. I have no physical strain from morning 10 am to evening 6 pm. I am always sitting on a chair and doing my work. I have pain in my left knee and hip. I couldn't sit on the floor freely. My mom is affected by rheumatoid arthritis. I wonder if this is hereditary or not. I have not yet consulted a rheumatologist.

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Comment from: Thunt, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: July 15

I have just been informed I have rheumatoid arthritis in my neck. Also present were neurological symptoms at which time an MRI was performed which said everything was normal. But I get a hot/ burning feeling in my extremities, some internal twitching/tremors and feel very tired.

Comment from: Nancy M, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 13

I thought I had TMJ and carpal tunnel syndrome. At the same time, both of my ankles and elbows were inflamed. My orthopedic surgeon referred me back to my primary care for blood work. Our dog had been sick with leptospirosis and I was the one to have the most contact with him. I felt as sick as the dog. I believe this virus in the dog somehow spurred the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in me. I did not test positive for leptospirosis, but my RA factor was at 400 when diagnosed. My flare lasted about three weeks. With the help of prednisone, we got that under control. I have never been so exhausted.

Comment from: Pbella, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 4 months ago with a positive blood test, although I believe I have had it since 2004. None of my doctors had ever tested me for RA. All my doctors were saying they thought it was multiple sclerosis. I have had spinal fusion surgery on my L4, L5. I suffered from weakness and fatigue for years. Muscle pain and joint pain but no swelling. I have had numerous flairs where I could not walk. I have been taking hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) for four months now with 1000 mg of fish oil a day and I try to walk on a treadmill for at least 20 minutes a day. I haven't had a flair so it"s working for me. It"s hard to get motivated but the 20 minute walk helps. I find, the more active I am the better I feel. I feel for everyone out there with RA but let"s not let it control us let"s control it.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Comment from: Randa, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 05

I have rheumatoid arthritis from 5 years ago. I was taking Plaquenil now RA is 35 my anti CCP is 230 and the doctor wrote for me methotrexate 50 mg and prednisolone 5 mg.

Get a Grip on Rheumatoid Arthritis
Comment from: kiran, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 06

I have been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for last thirty years. But it was diagnosed ten years back. I am taking Ayurvedic medicine for the last eight years. Now it is under control but sometimes it is triggered off and then some change in medicine brings it under control.

Comment from: Scarlet, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 17

I have been experiencing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis since my 20s. I have had acne, swelling in feet and hands but not together, face rash, anxiety, recurring yeast infections, weight gain and more.

Comment from: casandra, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 21

I was always very healthy. One very bad fall on the escalator and it triggered my rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Doctors admit not to know the causes. Well, I can tell you a fall did trigger RA in my case. I never had arthritis before let alone rheumatoid! Two doctors I told this to cannot believe me. I wonder if anyone else remembers having a fall and there after RA.

Comment from: gegrandma, 45-54 (Caregiver) Published: March 19

My son started out with psoriasis when he was 18 and all the joint stuff, Baker's cyst, etc. He tried methotrexate and now Enbrel which help. If you have the rheumatic arthritis conditions but have psoriasis, check psoriatic arthritis.

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

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

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.

Comment from: Lori, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I retired at 63 with what I thought was excellent health and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) hit me like a ton of bricks - took 2 months of intense traveling pain before I was properly diagnosed. It had already been wreaking havoc with my lungs as I have interstitial lung disease too. I mostly slept in my recliner and thought I was losing my mind. It feels like your affected part at the moment is BROKEN. I have a constant cough that drives me nuts they have pretty much ignored. I am on methotrexate, Plaquenil, and prednisone - these drugs are making me lose hair and messing up my skin. I've read the side affects of these drugs and it appears the cough, thin skin, and hair loss are caused by these wicked meds. This is one UGLY disease I wish on nobody! I try very hard to be grateful for the years I had without pain and to accept it and just be grateful it's not cancer but some days...

Comment from: marleen, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 20

I do understand how others feel. I was going through the same thing. When I went to the doctor I was diagnosed with gout. It's a very painful experience. If you don't know the score now, it can hurt longer than a month. Go get it checked out; it can be something serious and you can prevent it.

Published: June 25

The first sign was my jaw that bothered me for 2 months. Then my neck was stiff for 2 months. My hands and wrist started stiff and sore. Continues with painful right shoulder and fatigue. I went to a Rheumatologist and he stated that I will be treated with an I.V.

Published: June 20

I am just over halfway thru my 60th year and was just diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. In January I was experiencing stiffness in my hands and random muscle spasms moving between my arms and shoulders and then I suffered a major attack of Hives. At that time my doctor gave me a prescription for prednisone, which stopped the hives and really fixed everything. I felt 20 years younger in a matter of days. Within a month after that the hands started getting stiff again, and soon were keeping me awake at night with unexpected pains and spasms. On my doctor's advice I went to a rheumatologist, and discovered that I have RA. It was really quick to take over. If I had symptoms before this year, they were minor...

Published: June 19

A tired feeling for 6months or so then pain started in neck and right shoulder and arm. Now I have fluid entering around my left lung.

Get a Grip on Rheumatoid Arthritis
Published: June 19

My wrists were really swollen and sore and my right shoulder a little bit. I was also pretty tired. My toes seemed somewhat swollen also, but not hurting.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Published: June 17

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

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.)

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.

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?

Get a Grip on Rheumatoid Arthritis
Published: June 12

For about six months, my feet hurt, especially in the morning or after sitting or resting for any period of time. At the same time, I had stiff hands. Five weeks ago, I went to the doctor because I felt like a truck had hit me...all over fatigue, which then progressed to concentrated pain in my hands/wrists and feet/ankles to the point that I could not do my normal activities. I now have inflammation in my knees, elbows, and shoulders as well. I am on medication, but this initial flare is very hard.

Published: June 12

I have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis my main concern is in my hands they have nodules and on the back of my hands I have a large swelling they look very unsightly and are very painful I am on methotrexate pills that are slowing down the process I was 40 when diagnosed I am 50 this year.

Published: June 11

I am 41 and was diagnosed when I was 27. I use to run 5 miles a day. It started with a sharp pain in my shoulder blade and my right arm I couldn't move it. I had been in and out of Dr's office. It was when I couldn't walk. That's when they diagnosed me. So my blood test came back RA and borderline Lupus. I also was diagnosed with Pleurisy. I am on predinsone, naproxene, methotrexate and humera. Percocet when the pain is so severe in my lungs. I hope and pray one day there is a cure. It's really hard for me know what normal use to be.

Published: June 11

I had no symptoms. I was in my second week of a debilitating virus and the excruciating pain came overnight in my knee. Thinking it would subside, I waited days for treatment and lab results confirmed rheumatoid arthritis. Before methotrexate as well as 40mg./day, the horrible pain would invade a shoulder for 24 hrs.; a wrist for 24 hrs.; i.e. a single joint. After three weeks of methotrexate the dizzy spells were too much and now I am taking only prednisone 10mg/am; 10mg/pm, and I am comfortable. Looking forward to lab results next week and pray this may leave as quickly as it began.

Published: June 10

My elbows appeared to have knobs on them and appeared reddish. My eyes feel like they have allergies- as if something is in them that makes me want to blink.

Published: June 09

Two years ago I started having random inflammations of the joints in my hands and wrists…not symmetrical, just flare-ups that would last a few days, subside only to be replaced by another in a different location. I was diagnosed with Palindromic Rheumatoid Arthritis...an incipient stage of the disease. I was first asked to try NSAIDS. For three months I used NSAIDS to no avail. I also did a LOT of reading, discovered that certain foods definitely promoted flare-ups, and decided I wanted to try Minocin. My rheumatologist prescribed it for me, and within two weeks of one a day 100mg the flare-ups had ceased. After six months, I was able to eat all the "forbidden" foods again, and then dropped down to Doxycycline, 100 mg once a day, with nothing on weekends. A few months ago I started forgetting one or two of my weekly doses, and the flareups came back. Restarted with Minocin, then once under control again, dropped back to Doxycline, and am doing just fine. It has now been two full years since it all started.

Published: June 09

I hurt really bad in my joints. My fingers have big knots on the first joint. All my joints hurt all over my body and sore to the touch.

Published: June 09

Pain in my wrist and pinkie fingers which after about 6 months swelling in my left fingers and wrist and then on to swelling in my right hand fingers and knuckles.

Published: June 09

I was diagnosed wtih RA 3 years ago. I came down with the human Parvo virus and my doctor said I had a recessive gene of RA and this virus brought it out in me. My fingers when I woke up looked like sausages because of the swelling, I was so fatigued by noontime, then it moved to my wrists and feet, ankles, knees and hips, lower back, neck. I am now taking Enbrel and it holds me somewhat. I have bad days and good days.

Published: June 09

I was about 35 when I first stated to feel pain in my knee's and hands/wrist (15 years ago). My knees started to ache. I ignored the pain for about 2 months taking Advil for the pain, but it seem to be getting worse and my knees were swelling more each day, so I went in to see my doctor and he ran a few blood test R/A was one of them, he told me I could continue taking the 5 to 6 Advil per day if this was helping the pain, a week or so later I received a notice that no irregularities except for iron poor blood had been found, this was not new since I always seem to have this. About 6 months went by and my knees became so swollen that I could barely walk and was unable to bend them my wrist and hands had also started to hurt and swell. I made another appointment and at that point they sent me to the lab again to recheck for additional illness, a week or so went by, then I was contacted that I had been diagnosed with R/A. I'm really not clear why they didn't find this in the lab results 6 months prior.

Get a Grip on Rheumatoid Arthritis
Published: June 09

Both of my hands started getting stiff and painful in the morning it happened all of a sudden and gets better as the day goes on.

Published: June 09

Pain in hands: very, very sore and painful in the middle of the night. Wakes me out of a sound sleep. Knee pain: Feels like water under my knee caps. Cannot bend all the way and definitely cannot kneel on them.

Published: June 09

I'm a 28 year old women and i suffer with joint pain in both my wrists and both my knees. I find Biofreeze helps a lot it takes away the pain for a good 3 hrs and I am able to carry on with my work.

Published: June 06

My hands and feet were stiff in the morning but by the afternoon were better. I type at a computer all day so thought I had carpal tunnel. Then in July, I woke up and could not move without extreme pain. To even open the door would make me cry. The doctor took one look at my hands and feet and said it probably was RA. A blood test confirmed it. That was three years ago. I started on prednisone and thought it was a miracle the pain was gone. I am now on methotrexate and humira.

Published: June 06

I'm 43 (female) and I was diagnosted with Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 36. I started having pain in my right shoulder. (Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I do this! Doctor: So don't do that!) I assumed I had injured my rotator cup (like a baseball pitcher) and that it would just take extra time to heal. After a couple of months, it stopped hurting. Soon after, my left shoulder started doing the same thing. I knew I had not injured it. Something was up. Pretty soon I had so much pain in both of my shoulders I could barely function. I saw my doctor and was diagnosed right away and put on Relafen and Methotrexate. This worked for a few years. Eventually my liver could not handle the methotrexate and it had to be reduced which brought back the pain. My Rheumatologist recently put me on leflunomide. It will be a couple more months before I will know if it works for me. Wish me luck!

Published: June 06

My hands hurt when typing; I thought I had carpal tunnel. Month later my little finger swell and looked dark. These symptoms prompted Orthopaedic Dr. to have blood test which indicated RA.

Published: June 06

Right hand, little finger, enlarged distal interphalangeal joint. (It's as if the joint is growing larger), uncomfortable. Doesn't really hurt, joint is tight from swelling or enlargement of the joint. I wrap copper wire around the joint to alleviate pressure in joint. Copper wrap really works! Along with copper wrap, I often take Alieve to reduce inflammation (if any) and Excedrin migraine to reduce the pain.

Published: June 05

I was diagnosed with RA at the age of 18 after I began feeling pain and swelling in my hands. I was also very tired and lethargic. I am now 46. Over the years I have experienced different degrees of pain. It ranges from feeling tender to feeling like flaming hot metal spikes have been pushed through each joint in my hands and wrists. Some days, I wake up and I no longer have what one would consider hands. I have clubs! When asked how I feeling these mornings I reply, " I feel swell!" I have gone without symptoms for years at a time....each time I became pregnant my symptoms stopped and remained non-existent anywhere from 3 to 9 years. Lately its back and I am noticing my fingers are beginning to slide. I am afraid to take the Meds due to the potential side effects. I'm not willing to throw those dice.

Published: June 05

I'm 59 years of age and have a number of health problems for several years. One being a rare muscle disease called myofascial syndrome which is very painful and I stay exhausted. I just finished chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer. I've noticed I get tired very easily which the doctor told me I would for about a year after chemo. I was also diagnosed with RA and some days I hurt so badly in my shoulders I couldn't raise my arms at all without crying out in pain. Just before I found out I had breast cancer I broke my back which did not heal properly with just a back brace. The doctor fist told me the chemo made it worse but we've about decided it's a combination of the treatments and the RA. I've tried several anti-inflammatory drugs which cause my stomach to hurt very bad for the RA and don't know what to do at this time except take pain medication and Advil. I'm looking forward to some relief soon.

Published: June 05

Pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints of my fingers. I also noticed I was often tired, even after sleeping for 8 or 9 hours. Upon waking my eyes often felt grainy.

Get a Grip on Rheumatoid Arthritis
Published: June 04

My thumb and index finger joints on both hands are inflamed and sore.

Published: June 04

My symptoms started with what I thought was the flu - extreme body aches and exhaustion (no vomiting). Although I felt better, I never felt 100%. Two weeks later I woke up on a Saturday morning and even without the lights on could tell that my hands were very swollen and stiff. Only once I got in the shower did I find that my ankles, toes, knees, neck and elbows were also swollen. I went to an urgent care who tested me for "life threatening" problems and was then sent to my primary two days later. My primary doctor ran blood tests that came back fine, yet the inflammation never went down nor did I see improvement in my neck's range of motion. Finally in May I went to a specialist who diagnosed me with RA. I'm currently on Relafen and see the specialist next week to obtain additional blood test results. I was diagnosed one week before my 37th birthday.

Published: June 04

My daughter (age 15 ) was diagnosed today with this. Her symptoms were swollen and sore feet and sore and swollen fingers.

Published: June 03

Nearly 3 years ago, at the age of 38, my knees suddenly got very swollen and painful so that it was impossible for me to squat down or navigate stairs, etc. I was very active at the time and had just finished up re-landscaping my front yard so I thought I had maybe injured my knees but also being aware of my mom's history with osteoarthritis, I made an appointment with a rheumatologist. When, after examining me, she looked at me and told me I did not have osteoarthritis, but rheumatoid arthritis, I had no idea what the difference was. When I did some research I was surprised because there is no history of RA in my family. Prednisone quickly bought the pain and inflammation under control. I have never tested positive for the RF factor and for the first 2.5 years I had a relatively mild case and did well on Plaquenil and NSAIDs with maybe 2 or 3 flares that required a steroid dose pack. All that changed about six months ago and my disease has now progressed to a more severe state. I have now been on prednisone for about six months, started methotrexate about 4 months ago and since being on all of this has not worked to control the inflammation and joint damage (just within the past few months), I am starting Humira in addition to everything else this week. So, hopefully, that will bring this under control and into remission.

Published: June 03

Pain in the finger joints, lethargic in the morning, elbow painful when rasing things to chest level. The upper part of both arms aching and shoulder blades aching.

Published: June 02

I started to get stiffness in my jaw and couldn't chew food, then came the wrists which was very painful then I started to have symptoms in the rest of my joints.....and massive swelling in my hands the last thing so far is the little bumps under the skin of my feet. I am still in a flare stage for over a year now hoping for a remission someday.

Published: June 02

I had just started a new job and had to do a little typing on the computer, so when my left thumb started hurting at the joint I just thought it was from the typing. But when other fingers started swelling and would be very stiff in the a.m. I knew something was wrong. Two months after my hands started bothering me, my toes started to hurt and they would also be swollen in the a.m. When I would get out of bed I had to be careful because standing on my feet hurt so badly. Seven months later I was diagnosed with RA.

Published: June 02

I have been just diagnosed with RA 2 weeks ago at age 29. I'm a single mother of a 5 year old. I have just bought my first house and she just started T-Ball. I have always been active in sports and find it hard to believe I can no longer be active with her and do my daily upkeep to the house. It started with the foot to the point I could not walk on it. Off to the doctor and got the blood work done. He put me on the secondary set of medications and all of a sudden now my right hand and fingers won't move. My right side of the body is constantly aching and fatigue is a constant. I fear one day I'll wake up and feel paralyzed. I try not to let the depression of this disease get to me. Please keep your heads up and keep smiling.

Published: May 30

I was just diagnosed by my family doctor with RA two weeks ago through a blood test. It started in two fingers on my right hand and one finger in my left hand. I was put on Naprosyn and after a week didn't feel any different so now I've been taking Prednisone and feel somewhat better. I am seeing a rheumatologist in three weeks.

Published: May 30

I felt fatigue, and I had swollen joints in my hands and fingers.

Get a Grip on Rheumatoid Arthritis
Published: May 30

I felt pain and swelling in my fingers, wrists and toes. I also experienced weight loss and fatigue.

Published: May 30

I am 25 years old and first noticed symptoms of arthritis when I was about 8. I was a competitive gymnast, and because of this, my doctor brushed off any pain as simply "over doing it." I have never been officially been diagnosed, as specialists always told me I was "too young to have arthritis" and to basically "walk it off." I am convinced that I have RA, and over the years the disease has essentially spread to all of my joints other than my knees. It feels like if I pull on my fingers or try to crack my joints that the bones will pop back into the right place, but nothing seems to help. The pain is often so severe that all I can do is sit and cry in pain. I am reading this webpage now because I am unable to move from my couch.

Published: May 30

At the age of 16 I suddenly awoke one morning with all of my fingers stiff, red, swollen and was unable to bend them at all. Within days I also developed swollen unbending knees and I was in an unbearable amount of pain. After series of exams in search of Lyme disease, my doctor finally diagnosed me with severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Throughout the last 20 years the only thing that I find more painful than this disease is acceptance of the limitations placed in my everyday life. I am literally my own worst enemy. I have no idea what a day is like without pain and I pray for a cure within my lifetime that will allow to experience it.

Published: May 28

In my case, the joints of my fingers, toes, and hips began to pain me. At one point, I thought I had gout because one big toe was in pain. Now my hips, knees, lower back, and neck give me pain.

Published: May 28

I am 27 years old, and I was just diagnosed with RA. My knees and hips have ached on and off for a few years now. I thought it was normal. A few months ago, I literally woke up one morning and my right shoulder was screaming in pain. I could barely lift or rotate my arm, and it now hurts everyday. Not too long later, I noticed swelling and pain in the joints of my hands. Blood work and X-rays showed I am RF reactive. I'm waiting to go see the specialist and start my treatment plan.

Published: May 28

The very first symptom I had for my RA was a heat-sensitivity reaction. Having lived in Florida over 20 years, I always tolerated the heat well. Right before my diagnosis, I could not stand the hot weather, which was very strange. Shortly afterward, I had severe pain and joint swelling more on the right side of my body as I am right-handed.

Published: May 28

My RA started as severe foot pain. I went hiking and stumbled down a hill, where I turned my ankle. Both feet began swelling, and I thought I had messed up my ankle. I went to my orthopedic surgeon and she did an MRI. The MRI showed no tears and just a little swelling in the foot, but no arthritis in the knee joints. Since that time, I have been on a high dose of Motrin. My right hand swells every day, and I have very fat fingers. My right elbow is always very sore. To this day, I am very depressed with my health and just want to get better. I am a soccer referee, and not being able to run up and down the field has me totally depressed and wanting my health back.

Published: May 28

The first signs I experienced with rheumatoid arthritis were pain in the joints of my hands and fingers. Pain in the feet quickly followed, and some pain in the knee joints has now surfaced. A terrible "tiredness" invaded my body, and I now constantly suffer from fatique.

Get a Grip on Rheumatoid Arthritis
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