Viewer Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms

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Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

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Published: August 27

I had been sick from Bronchitis. I complained about feeling "stiff" in my shoulders. They told me it was from coughing. I started having problems walking, my hips hurt. I thought it was because I stopped going to the gym due to the bronchitis. Within a week, I couldn't lift my shoulders off the bed in the morning then to not being able to even pull the blankets up to cover up because my hands hurt so bad. Within two weeks my hands, wrists, hips and feet were in so much pain. Currently I am being managed with Plaquenil and Methotrexate and Prednisone. I have full mobility but tinges of pain every now and then.

Published: August 27

I was an active, healthy male. I was diagnosed with RA at age 44 (9 months after a minor motorcycle accident that injured my left wrist). My symptoms began with a general feeling of fatigue and malaise. Then a few months later, morning numbness in the fronts of both feet that lasted for a few hours. I saw a podiatrist and was mis-diagnosed with "Morton's Neuroma". As my symptoms progressed, I had sharp shoulder, wrist and elbow pains during the night. Then, a gradual stiffening of my right, pinky finger; followed by stiff, sore and swollen fore and index fingers predominately on my right hand, but also on the left. I was diagnosed with RA and Hypo-thyroid initially. After taking "Thyroxin" for about 4 weeks, I began taking "Hydroxychloroquine" and "Naproxen". My thyroid corrected and I stopped taking Thyroxin. My RA symptoms persisted with primarily sore, stiff hands in the mornings (3-4 hrs), sore ankles, a swollen elbow and muscle fatigue. After about 4 months, we added "Methotrexate" for 3 months with some success (no more swollen elbow or sharp shoulder pains and less sore hands), however, my liver enzyme count became elevated too high. I've now (5 months) been taking "Sulfasalazine" (3 grams/day) with "Hydroxychloroquine" (400 mg/day) and am having much less swelling in my hands and ankles now. Some days are better than others. I have much less energy than I used to. I stopped working (6 months after my diagnosis) because the medicine didn't eliminate the pain, fatigue and swelling; and I could no longer move heavy objects without possibly causing permanent damage to my joints. I was approved for Social Security Disability benefits immediately (after initial 6 month waiting period). I'm hopeful that my symptoms will go away one day or at least be controlled with medication.

Related Reading: thyroid | Naproxen | Sulfasalazine

Comment from: Em, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 14

I have been on Methotrexate since I was diagnosed 13 years ago. I also take folic acid and do water aerobics three times a week. I find keeping active helps with joint stiffness and pain. My husband and I hiked and go for long walks. Eating healthy and keeping active has helped me.

Comment from: Thelaw154, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 06

I was told I had RA 6 weeks ago but have had symptoms for four months. I thought I may have jammed or sprained my forefinger due to pain and swelling. I babied it for a week and then the same thing happened on my other hand. I knew then that something was obviously wrong. Every finger in both hands are now affected and both feet. I recently lost 45 pounds because I wanted to live a healthier lifestyle. Ha, the joke was on me. I had more energy, then the RA hit me like a ton of bricks. I am scared to take the meds that are out there. In am taking a less aggressive med called Plaquenil. I am wondering if I should change my mind.

Comment from: remicade fan, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 22

I was diagnosed in May 2011 on my 45th birthday. I have always been very active, workout 5 times a week, I even played indoor soccer. I started having problems with my right knee, it was swelling and hard to bend. Then I noticed when I got up in the mornings my hands were stiff, I had a hard time bending my fingers. Since I've been having remicade infusions along with methotrexate I'm feeling great. I have no issues whatsoever. I'm back to working out and I feel back to my old self.

Comment from: samej5, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 10

I've read all of the posts. I'm almost 41 and I've never had any required medications or problems. BAM! Just as many of you stated: my wrist hurt for two days, shoulders were in such pain; even my hip, leg, and jaw! The pain seemed to jump around. It seemed to hit quick in my case. Maybe I just shrugged off pain prior to that. My blood work came back with a positive diagnosis for RA. Please continue to post your thoughts and experiences. I'm very active and I'm trying to stay upbeat about what's in store for me. Good luck to you all.

Comment from: Dr. C, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 27

I am a 41-year old internist, diagnosed with RA 3 weeks ago. I thought my initial symptoms came when I woke up one day with bilateral swelling in hands and arms which were very stiff and a right shoulder that was very painful. These progressed over weeks to include pain in my nape area. I was put on methotrexate and prednisone, which actually improved my condition. But the symptoms came back when my prednisone was tapered off. I guess that was done too early.

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