Do I have RA or neuropathy?

I was diagnosed with severe Seropositive RA. The past 2 weeks I have had multiple flare ups. Symptoms are numb hands they feel as though they are on fire. It has moved up to elbows and shoulders. These areas are swollen, red and warm to the touch, especially between elbow and shoulders and of course my poor poor hands . The pain makes me cry vexause it hurts qorse than anything you have experienced. RA doc said to increase my prednisone by 5mg. Did nothing. I tried telling him through mail portal that it was not helping. All he would say is we would discuss it on 18th. Called my Family Physician and I see her Monday (18) as well in the afternoon. RA at 8am Here is my question: my family doctor said she thinks its neuropathy. RA doc says ra flare up. What do my symptoms sound like to you? Thank you very Sandra


Community Answers
  • Richard Faust moderator
    1 year ago

    Sorry to hear you are struggling Prettywoman513. On top of the excellent information from Leanne, I thought you might be interested in this article from one of our contributors on some of the various ways nerve issues or neuropathy can develop with RA: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/fraying-nerves/. Please keep us posted on how your appointments go and hoping you get some relief soon. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • ldonaldson
    1 year ago

    Hello Prettywoman513,
    From my experience, it could be a combination of both factors. Not to be too confusing, but neuropathy pain can be caused by a number of things related to RA. Yes, chronic inflammation can certainly be a cause, but it can also be a side effect of medication. There are several medications, such as Arava that list neuropathy as a potential side effect. In either case, do you best to get in and see a doctor that can run the appropriate tests to determine the root cause so it is not a guessing game. If your rheumatologist does not take your symptoms seriously enough to get you in sooner, perhaps you may want to reevaluate if that doctor is a good fit for you.
    Here is an article I found outlining some of the various causes of these feelings in your hands and feet. https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/symptoms/nerve-symptoms/

    Please check back in and let us know what you hear from the doctor and how you are doing.
    -Leanne, Community Moderator

  • qejm0g
    1 year ago

    I hope that you re seeing your RA doc today (Sept 18) not Oct 18! That would be too long to wait in such discomfort and pain.
    In my experience with my RA, it could be both. Nerve pain can be caused by pressure of the inflammation from your flare on the nerve fibers surrounding your affected joints. This happens in my feet daily and then frequently my hands. My RA doc tested for diabetes-a common cause of neuropathy-turns out I’m pre diabetic but not the cause of the pain. So went to the orthopedist who surmised that my foot pain is a result of the inflammation in the joints in my feet. I use cold packs (not ice-cause I feel it makes it feel worse), heat packs.. sometimes meditation and prolonged deep breathing too.
    I hope the flare doesn’t last too much longer and your RA doc has a treatment plan for you (increase your steroid dose, a bit longer steroid taper or a shot of steroid).
    Feel better.

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