We often notice valuable discussions taking place within our community forums or Facebook page that we like to highlight as a part of our Headlines. Below is a discussion on what do do when your RA symptoms get worse that we thought our community members would find interesting. Please note that the opinions represented here are solely those of their authors.
In RA, the joints of the hand and wrists are often involved earlier and more frequently than any other joint of the body. Destruction of these joints and the surrounding soft tissue results in significant impairments in a person’s everyday lifestyle.1 Over time, a person with RA will experience pain, swelling, and inflammation in his or her joints.2,3 While there are several effective treatments for pain associated with RA, there may be occasions when these treatments don’t provide enough pain relief. One of our community members asked the following question:
I was diagnosed last fall due to [results of] blood work, hand pain and one small flare that resolved in a day. I am on hydroxychloroquine and methotrexate. I am experiencing my first full-blown flare. Both [of my] hands and wrists hurt so bad I can barely eat. Advil didn’t do much. Trying Aleve. I am desperate. Any suggestions????
Response from Mariah:
I’m so sorry to hear that you are dealing with so much pain. Dealing with the ups and downs of RA can be really frustrating. With such an enormous change in your symptoms, the first thing you should do is call your rheumatologist to let him/her know. It is possible that your current regimen of treatment will need to be adjusted to control new/different symptoms – and your rheumatologist is the best person to discuss that with. He/she may also be able to give you some prescription medications to help with pain while new treatments take effect.
In the meantime, you may find that Aleve works better for you than Advil (I personally think it does!) Also for hand pain I sometimes use an Epsom salt soak, which seems to alleviate some of the ache. A wrist brace may also help you function until you can get in to see your doctor.
Good luck and hang in there! Remember that we are here to support you!
Response from Andrew:
There are also some prescription NSAIDs (like Mobic) that your doctor can try. And they could give you a prednisone steroid dose pack to help knock down inflammation, which may be contributing to your pain.
What relieves your RA pain when you are having a flare up? Please let us know in the comments! Also, click here to see what our Facebook Community recommended for avoiding handshakes.
Ghattas L, Mascella F, Pomponio G. Hand surgery in rheumatoid arthritis: state of the art and suggestions for research. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2005;44(7):834-45.
Maini RN, Venables PJW. Patient information: Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and diagnosis (beyond the basics). In: O'Dell JR, Greene JM, eds. UptoDate. Wolters Kluwer Health. Accessed at: www.uptodate.com.
Venables PJW, Maini RN. Clinical features of rheumatoid arthritis. In: O'Dell JR, Romain PR, eds. UptoDate. Wolters Kluwer Health. Accessed at: www.uptodate.com.