Pokes, Picks, Jabs and Squeezes.

While sitting comfortably in a booth with my wife at our favorite local Mexican restaurant for a Saturday evening dinner out, enjoying some corn chips dipped in a somewhat spicy salsa, it hit me. What did it, you ask? Well I am not sure what it is called but it went something like this.

A sharp and sudden pain located on the outside of and just below my left ankle. It wasn’t that it hurt bad, or was even located to a large area, just one little spot. But it was strong and sudden enough to make me flinch so that my wife noticed and asked, “What, again? I just replied with “Yep” and reached for another corn chip.

I am sure that it is RA related. I have mentioned these occurrences to my rheumatologist during my last appointment and basically his reply, put into the best way that I can sum it up “That is just RA letting you know it is still there and it is not giving up." He recommended trying to adjust when I take my meds to see if it helps. It has something to do with getting the full affect from the methotrexate by how the body absorbs it. He asked me to get back to him if these pains continue.

Types of RA pain

I seem to have these types of happenings throughout the day but not all of them will make me jump or cringe. So I have made a list to best describe the range of how these little gremlin (or ghost) attacks feel on my body.

Let’s start with pokes.

These seem to mostly happen when I have time to relax a bit and notice them. You could miss these if you are more focused on the day’s tasks or you are moving around. These are like placing your index finger near, but not directly on a joint, pushing in slightly but deeply, for a count of one second and pulling away. It happens so fast that I am unable to locate the exact point where it felt like it happened, just the roundabout area. When you feel it, you almost want to look to see if there was something that just brushed by you.

Next, there are picks.

The best way to describe these would be the loose hair clippings under your shirt collar right after a haircut or that plastic thing that holds tags to new clothing that you cut off but did not get it all. When it happens you almost always grab the area and pull on the clothing, rub or scratch the area. You never find anything, but you know it did happen. As to locating the exact area, this is a little easier, but not exact, as the feeling of the pick hangs around for only 10 or 15 seconds before vanishing.

Now, what about those jabs?

These things are what I described above while waiting for my chimichanga and refried beans. These to me are the most surprising. When it happens you almost expect to see a syringe sticking out of you. These jabs can come on anytime, anyplace while sitting or walking and my normal reaction is to flinch and sometimes to let out a soft gasp of surprise. Jabs hit hard and fast, the sharpness of the pain lasts only a moment but can take a minute or two to fade away onto nothing. With jabs, you can feel around and place a finger over the spot of impact but there is nothing to feel other than what is supposed to be there.

Pokes, Picks and Jabs seem to only happen around or near a joint and seem to not be located in or at the joint. These don’t happen in the middle of a muscle or even around the spare tire area.

And last, I have the squeezes.

These are not the loving kind you get or give while holding hands with your special person or the hug a child receives from a grandmother. No, these are nothing like that. These nasty little beasts mostly happen to me in my toes, fingers and sometimes on the sides of my ankles. I would describe these as a slow and deliberate procedure used by the head guard in a mid-evil prison to get me to confess to being a sorcerer. Well not quite that bad, but you get the idea. The pain is like having your toe slowly squeezed from every direction and wrapped up tight in thick tape. You can hardly move it and it hurts just enough to mess up walking normally. This squeezing feeling lasts for 5 maybe 10 minutes tops, but the after effects of stiffness and tenderness can stick around for several hours after. It is strange to only have one toe feel like this when all the others are A-OK.

I will soon be visiting my doctor about these little issues and will hopefully have some kind of game plan that will chase away most of these demons currently playing tag with my joints and sanity.

So, speak up and tell us what types of little gremlins and ghosts you have been chasing around in your fight against RA?

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