Rheumatoid arthritis?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Nancy, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Does anyone have rheumatoid arthritis? What medications do you take and are they helpful? Have you had to have any joint replacements?

    I have just been diagnosed with advnaced joint disease due to arthritis and am scheduled to have joint replacement in my toe in July but there are other joints that I know are affected. There is no cartilege in my big toe joints at all and the pain when walking is unbearable. Since I also have pain in my wrists, fingers, knees and shoulders I figure they are next. I'm looking for a rheumatologist to stablize this but wondered what others have experienced.

  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I don't have RA - but lots in my family do, including major joint replacement (knee, hip).

    NSAIDs are the front-line, other drugs from there. Keeping the inflammation down is key to avoiding damage.
    And of course, the keys to that are enough good quality sleep, and stress reduction (right).
    You really do have to listen to your body, not push. When RA flares up, you need to slow down.

    When one family member was waiting for joint replacement, the specialist said not to do it until you couldn't function, because the results are not guaranteed, but it will definitely reduce the pain. Her 4 surgeries were all successful on some level (one leg was a major challenge due to severity of damage, and required more than one replacement because they needed newer technology that didn't exist at the time of the first surgery... knew it would be "temporary")

    If you get joint replacements... look after them. It's not about sitting around doing nothing, but... don't go extreme.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I'm so sorry Nancy.
    I have lupus and years ago had tremendous pain for a long time. The only thing that really helped was prednisone.
    Since then, I have had some fibro symptoms and only used baths with epsom salts and lots of Motrin. (These days, I can't use MOtrin too much, due to another health problem).
    Ironically, VERY recently I have had a lot of pain and am waiting to see my rheumatologist who unfortunately went on a 3.5 week vacation out of the country...so it is tough getting in to see him.
    I took Cipro (antibiotic) recently and I have my suspicions that it is somehow related to this. There are lots of posts on the internet about people having arhtritic reactions to it, particularly in the feet. Most seem to get better in about 12 to 18 months (A LONG TIME!)
    I'm having a new laser treatment for my feet (tendonitis??) that is helping a little. It is being done by a podiatrist. However, the rest of my body aches.
    Again, I'm using those epsom salt baths almost daily. I believe they help. I use hot water. There is a supplement called Wobezyme N (not too sure of the spelling) that I just started taking. I've read that it might be helpful. I'm also drinking Cherry juice and that seems to be helping slightly.
    Another thing that I have heard helps is Quinine in soda water....honestly, some people swear it helps arthritis a little...and every little bit counts.
    Best of luck at the doctor...hang in there...prayers. Avoid stress when possible and deal with what comes your way as best as possible. It is imperative.
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nomad I took an antibiotic a few years ago because of a serious sinus infection and I had a severe reacrtion in all my muscles and joints. It lasted almost a year. Since then there have been a lot of lawsuits and I think they have now recalled the drug. I thought I would be in a wheelchair because of it. I'm sorry you are in such pain also. I need to get some releif because I am already having a lot of painin my writ and thumbs and knee.

  5. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nancy, I'm so sorry to hear that you are in such pain. I, too, had an reaction to an antibiotic that caused pain and stiffness in my muscles and joints. It moved from place to place and lasted for about six weeks. The antibiotic was penicillin and several doctors have told me that it could not have been a reaction to the penicillin but I've never taken it again and never had the joint and muscle pain again.

    My mother had a similar reaction to penicillin and her old-fashioned GP told her at the time (this is over 70 years ago) that it was the penicillin.

    I think it is very interesting to hear that others have had similar reactions to antibiotics. Maybe I was right after all.

    I found hot baths helped me with the pain and stiffness.

  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I can't remember the namer of the antibiotic Kathy. It was a newer one, a five day paks, not z-pak. I told my doctor to put it in my records but I should have kept a record in my file for future. I don't ever want to have that reaction again. Like yours, mine moved all throughout my body and literally started at the top and went out my toes. The only good thing was as it moved down I knew eventually it would leave. I was so weak I couldn't even pick up a carton of milk.

  7. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    It doesn't sound like you have RA. Have you tested positive for rheumatoid factor (blood test)?

    RA is usually diagnosed in women under 30 (I was 17 when I first had symptoms and just shy of 20 when diagnosed 30+ years ago) It's also usually bilateral. If you have involvement in only one joint, it's more likely to be osteoarthritis.

    Over the past 30 odd years, I have undergone a multitude of treatments. I was told at 19 that I would be in a wheelchair by 25 - I am twice that plus and still waddling around. I took Naproxen (Naprosyn) when it was experimental - did zip for my RA but helped my period cramps immensely. I had several courses of gold shots - most recently in 2005 and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they are no longer given in the butt but in the arm. I have done NSAIDs, penicillamine, methotrexate, sulfa drugs and more that I don't even remember. I have had my knees, elbows and ankles drained and injected with cortisone multiple times and have had arthroscopic surgery on my left knee twice and the right once.

    Despite the dire predictions, I have been fortunate not to have to have any joint replacements. I have also been managed fairly conservatively over the years. I've not had to do Humira or any of those other scary medications. I have been (thankfully) in remission since my last course of gold shots in 2005. I currently take no medications for RA.

    Have you ever taken cholesterol medications? My H was on a statin for about a year when he began to complain of terrible pains in his legs. It was so bad that he actually had oldest boy go get daughter at college because he couldn't drive. I did research and realized he might have rhabdomyosis. He stopped the statin (his chol is actually excellent, he was on it to help manage a heart condition) and in the past month, the pain has lessened and he can walk more easily and has more energy.

    Whatever you have, I hope that you get on a treatment regimen that alleviates your pain and gets you going again.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I agree with testing for RF as part of normal blood work - but it's only one more factor. Mom didn't show it until she was "out of control" with full-blown acute RA.
    First symptoms often (not always) show by 30, but diagnosis may not come until the person is 40 or 50 or more. Part of it depends on how well you look after yourself - you may have RA lurking in the background, and not have major flares until you hit some major stress point, or a lot of little things start to catch up with you.
    There is also some recognition out there that RA is a spectrum, from many angles. Acute vs. chronic is a big one - if you have a chronic case, and it is caught early, it CAN often be managed and damage minimized. But acute RA hits so fast that there isn't time to "manage" it - all they can do is damage control after things get under control.

    And yes, RA is usually bilateral. It may not hit the whole body - but usually hits all of the same joint at or close to the same time. If it's in the knee, it will be both... Osteo is not bilateral, although damage can occur in parallel joints.

    RA is an auto-immune disease. Osteoarthritus is not. The progression is totally different, and approaches to treatment are very different. Except for the benefits of joint replacement, there is almost no common ground.

    Confused yet? RA is sort of one of the difficult child dxes... unpredictable (usually), debilitating (often), and yet, never quite the total "bad guy" that it's made out to be... And yes, if you can learn how to "parent" it, it really helps!
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh I have bilateral joint pain all right. My right foot us,worse than ny left but there us no doubt i will need the left joint replaced within the year. Both my right and left thumbs and first fingers are affected as are both wrists and both shoulders. What made me thunk about ra was the fact that it involved both sides of my body the same way.

    I have not had the blood test yet and that is what I'm doing next but I have joint pain in my entire body and have developed nodules on my toes and fingers.

    This did not happen suddenly. I've had pain for years. When the Dr saw my xray he said my joint was shot. Given the fact that I am having severe pain in other joints in sure they are too.

    My parents both have/had bad arthritis for years. Neither ever were tested to determine which kind. But from what I read my symptoms should like RA. I have taken Advil every day for years.

    I have to pay for the surgery out if Pocket because we have $10,000 deductible per person so I have to be careful how many doctors I involve right now. In fact the woman in charge of finances at the doctors office school district I was the highest deductible she's ever seen. We had quite a talk about affordable health care.

    Thanks for the info. I will be checking into the blood test asap.

  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Advil is ibuprofen - which is one of the NSAIDs that is commonly used to treat RA. (Not all OTC pain medications are NSAIDs.)
    But over time... these are not enough.