General Discussion

Pains in hands

  • By Gwen

    Hello My name is Gwen and I have just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

    Can anyone give we advise on how to cope with pain and stiffness in the hands.

  • By Andrew Lumpe, PhD Moderator

    Hi Gwen, sorry for your recent diagnosis. I’m glad you found our site. There are excellent resources and community here for support. Pain and stiffness is one of the hallmark symptoms of RA. Ultimately, treating the biological processes of RA can help reduce pain and stiffness. That usually is done with a disease modifying drug (DMARD) and/or a biologic. Have you started any of these medicines? If not, speak to your rheumatologist. It’s recommended to treat early after diagnosis. Sometimes other medicines like NSAIDs and steroids are used to reduce pain. You might try some other things at home that some people find helpful like heat, cold, and gentle exercise. There are a list of possibilities at this link

    You’re also welcome to post this question at our Facebook page

  • By Dave

    Among all the aspects of this crazy thing called RA, the effect that it is having on my hands bothers me the most. It is plain scary, the pain and soreness and the fact that my hands just don’t work right any more. I drop things all the time. As a musician I especially hate this aspect of the whole thing. I have lost some dexterity already. I play guitar and piano and the guitar is the worst. It’s becoming harder and harder to play it for any length of time. I can still play piano pretty well and I know that it is good to keep the joints moving, so I play as much as I can. Just gonna keep going as long as my hands will let me and enjoy every minute of it! I am on MTX and sulfasalizine and they are working pretty well but it seems that my hands have responded less than any of my other joints to treatment to this point. But life is good and I am blessed!

  • By Mariah Z. Leach Moderator

    Hi Dave~
    I agree that hand pain can be particularly frustrating! It’s funny how we don’t really realize how much we depend on our hands to do a million little things every day – until they hurt! I think you have the right approach – to do what we can and try to appreciate it. But if you are really struggling with your hands it may be worth discussing the issue with your rheumatologist to see if it would be possible to improve things by adjusting your medications. Best of luck to you!
    ~Mariah~ (Site Moderator)

  • By Anonymous

    high Gwen, I have just been diagnosed with this stuff also, my best friend has had it for about 15 years and he told me the only thing that helps him some is aspercreme, i have it in my right hand now and took his adviced, try it and maybe you can get a little relief