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RA and Migraines that last several days

I haven't been officially diagnosed with RA yet I have bilateral joint pain (severe), inflammation and stiffness. In the past, I used to get migraines maybe once a year. With my most recent flare up I got a migraine that lasted 7 days. On day 4 I went to the emergency room and they gave me morphine for relief and prescribed Percocet if the pain persisted.

I've read on this forum and found via Dr Google that 20% of auto immune diseases get migraines. Has anyone had experience with migraines that lasted several days?


  1. I started to get headaches badly a few months back and after some research and talk with my PT we found the culprit. Believe it or not, it was my neck. RA had invaded my spine and the muscles around my neck and shoulder had become so tight trying to compensate that they put pressure on my head. So much pressure, in fact, that i began to get headaches that were quite severe. I ended up getting cortisone shots in my neck and shoulder to help and they did - but that was only a temp solution. I am currently recovering from the more permanent solution - surgery. Sufficed to say I know the feeling and it sucks. As for actual migraine I know people who RA who suffer from them and, actually, we even have a website for it: Hopefully this helps and remember - you are not alone. Let us know if there’s anything else we can do to help. Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

    1. Thanks Daniel. What was the surgery that helped and was it indeed a permanent solution?

      My ER doctor assumed it was a tension headache and suggested some neck stretches and I've been doing them a few times a day. Not sure if they're helping. A friend with chronic migraines got neck ablations that helped only temporarily.

      I wonder if multi-day migraines are all that common. Mine was also paired with intense malaise and I was in bed morning and night.

      Now I'm finding that lying down for any amount of time causes incredible pain and stiffness in my joints. I know it's a separate question, but until my hydroxychloroquine kicks in (I'm about to start it) how do people deal with the intense pain?

      1. Hi there! I saw you wanted to reply to Daniel. You can do that by selecting the at symbol. Once you do that a drop down will appear and you can tag a member. In this case I tagged for you so he can see it. You can do this any community member. Warmly, - Reggie, team member

      2. Actually the surgery on my ankle is still in recovery, and my foot is finally flat for the first time in years. So that’s good. Unfortunately, since my neck is now straightening up for the first time in over a decade you can imagine that it is causing pain. I’m hoping once the actual cause goes away that it will eventually subside and I don’t need to get the cortisone shots and nerve blocks in my neck and shoulders any more. As for the pain question, well, when mine finally got out of hand I had to give in a go see a pain specialist. It was the only thing left they could do and to be honest, it worked. Well, it worked enough for me to give me back enough quality of life that I was able to do most of the things I wanted to on a daily basis. It may be something to think about. Let us know if there’s anything else we can do to help. Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

    2. Hi . Much like Daniel, my wife, Kelly Mack (a contributor here), had neck and headache issues that were caused by problems with a different RA impacted body part. In Kelly's case it was her left shoulder. She finally had a reverse shoulder replacement last fall and it has made a big difference for her neck and the headaches are much better. She had written about the quest to figure out the problem here: Hoping you get some answers and relief soon. Best, Richard ( Team)

      1. I do get migraines when I’m in a flare. I’ve been having them all week. My neurologist put me on Aimovig a monthly shot and I take nurtec as a rescue. It does help a lot. I NEVER had headaches till I developed RA.
        RA is so vicious. A couple of months in remission and blame, it came back for visit. This flare is in my lower ribs in my back and severe migraines.

        1. , ugh! Like dealing with RA isn't hard enough! Who needs migraines on top of that??

          I am glad the medications help overall, but I am so sorry you are dealing with a flare right now.

          I hope it passes quickly and you can get some relief from the migraines and pain you are experiencing.

          Best, Erin, Team Member.

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