RA body
Comments 4

How Rheumatoid Arthritis Starts

May 12, 2013

Mary  JoIt was sudden, extremely painful and disabling.  That is how it seemed to start.  However, after thinking about it, it probably started in my feet over a year ago.

My feet felt numb and painful.  I felt like I was walking on rocks and it was worse when I went to bed.  I had thought it was a diabetic neuropathy although my A1c was never over 6.1 to my knowledge.  My rheumatologist said it frequently starts in the feet.  Many think it starts in the hands.  Surprisingly, the feet are a popular starting place, too.  Small joints are in both locations.

When I had this sudden flare. It was my left hand and wrist, left shoulder. My muscles ached. My left hand was swollen to double its size. My right side was affected too, but the left was the worst. I ran a low grade temp 99-100. I lost 10 pounds.

My bed was like the rack. I could not move without being in extreme pain. It was a good 5 minute process to get my bra on. My seat belt in my car was a hard one too. It was tough.

RA is more common in women. Men do get it too. Babies even get it(juvenile rheumatoid arthritis). It usually starts in the 30’s, 40’s,  50’s and 60’s.

Early diagnosis is important as joint damage occurs in the first two years and it is treated aggressively.  It wasn’t at one time.  At one time the medics needed to see joint damage before serious treatment began.  I was started out on Methotrexate as soon as my diagnosis was confirmed.  I’m on max dose at 25mg a week.

I am fortunate in that I have no side effects.  I am also on Prednisone and I’m down to 10mg a day. When I was up to 30mg, my face was very puffy and I did not sleep. It is better now.

I am on Meloxican, an anti-inflammatory,  Prilosec to protect my stomach, Tramadol for pain, Folic acid for the Methotrexate. I do take calcium and vitamin D and a B complex.

So I am a walking pharmacy. My hands are still swollen. I still have ups and downs with pain. I do  feel better than I did.

The interesting thing about RA is that it does affect people differently. I don’t have knee involvement so far. My toes and feet are a problem as are my ankles. My right hand and wrist have joined my left for equal attention. My shoulder and pelvic girdle are affected as is my neck. And they all take turns looking for attention.

Some people have a bad bout of RA and then it disappears. Some have intermittent flares. For most it is progressive. It will never get better. I am in the progressive group.


  1. I feel almost guilty for clicking like on this post…it’s not that I like what you’re going through, rather I totally understand. I was just recently diagnosed with RA after living with pain for the past couple years. Now I can at least put a name to it…I just recently started seeing a new general practitioner and, after only my second visit, she said she wanted to run some labs because she suspected an auto-immune disease…amazing the difference one doctor can make, isn’t it?


    • I am happy that you can put a name to your pain. Now you and your doctor can figure out the next step. The trend is aggressive treatment. The reason being that joint damage occurs in the first few years and once you have it, you can’t undo it. The tricky part is that RA and treatment affects different people in different ways. Glad you found a good doc.


  2. Pingback: The Return of the Ginger | Texas Ginger's Joints

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