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Where does one begin….

I began to have what I now know to be a flare in Aug. of 2007. It began with what I thought was a pinched nerve in my neck. I was seeing a chiropractor at the time but his treatments weren’t working and the pain kept getting worse. I went to my primary and she sent me to a neurologist (didn’t take any x-rays or labs!!). The neurologist ordered an MRI and later a EEG. He told me that I had severe carpal tunnel so “see a hand specialist, you’ll need surgery!” He was abrupt and rude so I didn’t go back to him. The hand surgeon told me it wasn’t carpal tunnel so go to P.T. This was like “medival torture”…it was horrible. So I attributed my pain to growing older and compressed discs in my neck (which is what that neurologist told me the MRI said). I had this flare, I would say for nearly a year and a half. We moved to a new state—there I found through a process a adrenal massage therapist. Her treatment really helped the pain to subside. Gradually things simmered down for about 2 more years, but then I began to have a pain across my back between my shoulder blades. I had a D.O. for a primary who did manipulation AND he also had a massage therapist on site so I saw her. Her massages didn’t help so she recommended me back to the D.O. It was him that found the diagnosis of the R.A. That was 4 years ago. I might add I was 67 at the time. I’ve been to 4 different rheumatologists (it’s an ins. thing) over that time. I’m not impressed with the care I’ve been given so far. I’m on methotrexate…began with 4 pills a day and shortly it went to 5 pills a day. This past August (2015) I began to have pain which “traveled” from my shoulders to my hands–primarily the left side. It got so bad I went on a prednisone burst pack which did help some. Finally about 3 or 4 weeks ago my rheumatologist ordered labs that showed my RA to be “active” (no,duh) so increased my meds to 7 per week. THEN I began to have the sores in my mouth so she told me to not take the pills this week, to increase my folic acid from 1 to 2 pills per day then see what happens. Next week I’ll go back to my methotrexate for 2 more weeks to find out if the folic acid is doing it’s thing. I could go up to 3 of those but not before calling the doctor. I’m now wearing a thumb/hand brace on my left hand as the thumb is beginning to “tork” towards my palm. I’m also going to O.T. which has been lovely as they’re addressing the pain. I think that is subsiding but have to say this Fall has been not so fun. My energy levels have fallen to the point I don’t feel like decorating for the holidays. Oh…and I was told that my RA is an aggressive form, but has (had) been controlled. I don’t know what the future will bring, so I just live one day at a time. My hips, ankles and feet at times have also had pain of some degree or other as well.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Karla
    4 years ago

    Wow, Libby I thought I was the only one with pain starting in my upper left shoulder and neck!! I woke up one day in October 2012 and couldn’t move my head. It got worse and worse, to the point I was crying and it felt like someone took a baseball bat to the back of my head! I too went the rounds of chiropractors, massage therapists, x-rays, muscle relaxers, etc… I guess lucky for me in November it blew up…my left hand, my knee, my foot, my wrist, etc… I actually diagnosed myself after a nurse friend saw my red knuckles and said “Arthritis?” I was put on plaquenil, then methotrexate (15 mg.) and then Enbrel. I too get the mouth sores and my hair fells out because my rheumy didn’t give me folic acid. Now I take 2 mg every day, but still have to use mouth rinses and such, even after dropping down to 10 mg a week. And the Enbrel quit working after 2 1/2 years so I started Humira but that is not helping at all. I am 51 and have to work full-time…it really stinks some days! But I am glad to know I wasn’t crazy with the pain…I still have issues with my upper back and muscle pain. I have trigger point injections once in a while, all I can afford right now. Hang in there!

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