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Needing Advice.

Soooo.... going to be a long first post, lol. I came down with Covid November 22 and was quite sick with it for about 2 weeks. I was just starting to feeling better, when I woke up one morning at 3 a.m. with terrible pain in both legs from the knees down. I have broken bones, had sprains, etc. and never experienced pain like this in my life, 9 out of 10 on the pain scale when I tried to walk. After a visit to emergency, they are fairly confident that I now have RA(caused by the Covid infection? They're not sure.) I did have some areas of arthritis in my ankles prior thanks to some old sports injuries, but this flare up was in both feet and ankles, as well as both knuckles in my index fingers. I was given two rounds of Prednisone, as well as 15 days of Naproxen, but is seems only the Prednisone helps as as soon as I am off, the pain returns(not quite as severe, but still uncomfortable.) My Rheumatologist appointment isn't until April, and I would appreciate any advice on things I need to ask the Dr. Would also appreciate any tips on pain management you all could provide. Thanks so much in advance.

  1. Wow, @Daddyfish23! It sounds like your 2020 definitely went out with a bang! I am so sorry you had to deal with Covid and I do hope you recover fully from the virus.

    That said, quite a few of our members have been diagnosed with RA after a 'triggering event'. I.E. -- some traumatic health event somehow triggers the immune system into this over response (RA) If you have any doubts about your diagnosis, you have every right to seek a second (or third!) opinion.

    Prednisone can definitely help with pain or inflammation, but it is generally used to treat the symptoms, not the cause, if that makes sense. So, it stands to reason that your pain is coming back as you back off your dosage. Some of our members do use prednisone for long periods of time, but that is best done under that watchful eye of a trusted physician, as long term steroid use can have side effects.

    Your best bet is seeing that rheumatologist and getting started on a treatment plan. Here's some insight into what that first appointment may look like -- https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/what-to-expect-at-your-first-rheumatologist-appointment/. And here's some helpful tips for how to prepare for your appointment -- https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/preparing-rheumatology-appointment/.

    You can definitely research all your treatment options before your appointment and educate yourself on what might be a good fit for you. Please just make sure your information is coming from reputable sites; we all know how unreliable 'Dr. Google' can be!

    You may also want to call the rheumatologist's office and see if they have a cancellation list you can get on. That way, if there is a cancellation, you may be able to get in before April. However, it's not unusual for those first appointments to be scheduled months away, which I know is very frustrating when you are in pain and wanting answers.

    Another interesting (and sometimes annoying) part of RA is that what works for one individual may not work as well for another. For example, some of our members use heat (heating pads, paraffin wax, hot showers) to manage, while other members use cold (ice packs, etc) because the heat exacerbates their symptoms. It can be a fair amount of trial and error at the beginning.

    While you wait for that appointment, you can try any of these tips complied from other community members -- https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/managing-pain-bad-days/ and -- https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/community-ideas-managing-pain/. Check out the many member comments at the end of each piece for even more member tips.

    You can definitely talk to your physician about continuing your prednisone treatment for the time being as well. We have lots of information on conventional treatments and natural options (turmeric, ginger, etc) that may offer some benefits. You can find them here by typing words into our search engine. Opinion pieces by our writers will be labelled as such, for your safety. Please do keep in mind that any member tips/medication/lifestyle changes should be run by your physician, just to be safe.

    I hope this helps and please keep reaching out if you have more questions or concerns!

    And I do hope you can get in to that appointment well before April! Best, Erin, RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member.

    1. @erinrush thanks so much for the response, I am on the cancellation list, so hopefully I'll get in sooner rather than later!

    2. That's good! I do hope you get in there much earlier! Best, Erin, RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member.

  2. @daddyfish23 My RA they believe was kick-off by a flu-like infection when I was nine years old, so COVID kicking off RA is totally within that wheelhouse. It's been a theory for a while that some people's RA get's started when the immune system is put into high gear and never shuts back down. Just know that whatever happens, whatever questions you have or symptoms you experience, there is probably someone here who has also. You aren't alone! Keep on keepin' on, DPM

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