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Is it a flare or is the disease progressing?

I was diagnosed about a year ago. At the time, the pain and swelling was limited to my hands. I was on Enbrel for three months to no avail. The pain progressed to my back and I was put on mtx and inflectra, which i have been on for about 7 months with fairly good results. the most debilitating part of RA had been the several episodes of debilitating fatigue that completely derailed my life and would last anywhere from 2-3 weeks. about two weeks ago my feet began to hurt. i saw my rheumatologist and had cortisone injections which really didn't help. the pain has been incredible and inescapable. i have to had to use crutches a number of times just to make it from my couch to the kitchen. i have been eating pain medIcation like candy (though managed to get through today without any!) i cannot walk my dogs, exercise, etc. while my hands were also incredibly painful, i didn't have to use to them to get places!!! i guess what i am trying to determine is if this is what a traditional flare feels like, or is this a sign that the disease is progressing and the medication Is not working. i know from my MRIs that the RA is particularly corrosive and from i have been told can be tricky to treat. i am zero percent ready to use canes and/or crutches permanently. can anyone shed any light on what i might expect, or has anyone had similar experiences? i am picking up my handicap placard tomorrow--let's hope i don't have to renew it after 6 months!!! THANK YOU!

  1. Kingkatekong, thank you so much for reaching out!! I am so sorry you are experiencing flares and general pain. This article has some great tips on helping manage pain:

    I hear you on fatigue. It's a weird symptom that is extremely difficult to control, even more so on days with more pain. Many of the community respond with their tricks for managing it here: and this one is just a good place to start in understanding fatigue as a symptom:

    The most important thing (to me, at least) is maintaining an open dialogue with your doctor. I am constantly talking to mine and our relationship is critical to maintaining my own symptoms. If you are not comfortable or want any tips on speaking to him/her this article on the COPD website has some useful tips:

    I really hope you find some relief soon and keep staying positive! Hopefully, you don't need to use assisted devices just yet. Please keep us updated!

    ~Monica ( Team)

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