Is RA always on both sides?

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RA+CDhouse
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 5/9/2008 10:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi all!  I don't have a dx yet (appointment on 5/27); but, I suspect I may have RA (boss is a rheumatologist who doesn't see patients anymore, thinks so too).
 
From all of the reading I've done so far, I get the idea that RA is symetrical (is that the right word?), IOW, both hands, both knees, both wrists, etc.
 
Question though: does your dominant hand usually suffer worse?  If I *think* about it, my fingers, wrist and hand on left side have the same problems...but I don't have to *think* about my right side at all, my right fingers, hand and elbow scream at me all day long.  Does that make sense?
 
For example, today my fingers, wrist, and elbow of my right hand feel like they are on FIRE! I can barely use my right arm.  So I have been trying to do things left handed all day (and some yesterday).  I am beginning to feel a more prominent burning, throbbing, achy, swelling sensation in my left fingers, hand, wrist, elbows...but it's because I am using the left more.
 
I am currently taking 200mg Celebrex x2 a day....barely does anything for me.  Can I take anything else?  I hope to heaven that the rheummy I am going to see will give me something more (boss gave me celebrex ;-)  and not just order tests!  I know test have to be ordered, but man alive, it takes so much time to get in to see her that I don't want to have to wait another month or two for treatment...
 
Thanks for any and all thought/insights.
 
--t
 
 
Learning can only happen when a child is interested.  If he's not interested, it's like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating.  Make him interested!


momto3
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1331
   Posted 5/9/2008 11:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi there,
 
I'm sorry you hurt so much, but yes I find that my dominant hand hurts more after writing, typing etc, and yes it is usually on both sides (knees, hands, wrists, elbows, and the hips ). I always hurt on both sides of whatever is bothering me, but with my hands and fingers the right is always more painful.  I hear you with the Celebrex, it works but not that well!  When you go in, ask for some prednisone if you are in a bad flare, and plaquenil which does take awhile to start working (that is the downside) but once it does, it really helps! The pred works right away!! But can't be taken for longer periods although it will get you through the really painful times until you can get some sort of treatment plan going and get your flare under control.  Be honest with the doctor that you see that you have already tried Celebrex and it isnt doing the job.
 
I wish you the best!

RA+CDhouse
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 5/9/2008 12:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi and thanks for the reply!  Would a doc give these meds without results of any tests?  I really will be shocked if this doc turns around and says she doesn't thinks it's RA (I have family history, and from all that I've read on this forum, *I* am convinced; and boss is talking like it is too).
 
Prednisone.....hmmmmm....have been down that path with hubby (has crohn's that is not yet controlled).  I know too much about prednisone!  BUT, I may be willing to try it.  I *am* the income for our family and I really need to get this treated.
 
What is plaquenil (I guess I could look it up).  My hands, wrist & elbow are the worst; my knees, ankles, feet, and toes are bothersome as well.  I can usually feel heat on my knees but they are not that painful, just a little iffy on standing if I've been sitting for a while.
 
Right now it's my elbow is what is really killing me; is it normal for pain to be in the whole arm?
 
thanks again.
 
--t
Learning can only happen when a child is interested.  If he's not interested, it's like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating.  Make him interested!


momto3
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1331
   Posted 5/9/2008 12:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
 
You know I'm not sure, when I went to my first rheumy appointment I went on referal but went with tests that were taken but with negative results and what I started out with were the NSAIDs, such as Relafin,Voltarin (sp?)as well as Mobic.  It seemed like I tried all of  those first without any relief, and then on my third or fourth appointment (I think ) I then tried the plaquenil, its an anti-malarial drug, and takes a good three months to kick in, thats the thing, it takes so long to work!! but once it does, it can really be a life saver..without it, I really hurt and my energy level is puney, even with the MTX, and Enbrel.
 
Prednisone can be a bad thing! I once had a prescription and it works don't get me wrong, but I took more than what was prescribed for me, and ran out and now I can't get anymore. It has not good side effects, but gosh it sure does take away the inflammation and pain! But since your husband has taken it you probably already know this.
 
After awhile, the plaquenil stopped really working and then I added the MTX, was fine for awhile then the pain was back...now Enbrel.  It seems that nothing really gets it under control, or that RA is truly maintained with these meds.  What I finally did realize? is that if you hurt, you just have to come right out and say it, be very direct and to the point, no beating around the bush...especially at this appointment coming up because it sounds like you are in a flare, make sure the doctor knows your level of pain.  The last time I was in, I told my doctor that my pain level was a 9, and he was concerned and took action to get me comfortable. It was the first time in the three years I have been going there, that I was that direct and to the point.
 
If the doctor you go to is good, your diagnosis will not be based only on test results, but on the symptoms that you are having as well.
 
Let me know how it goes for you..I have been there!
 
 

sjkly
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 5/9/2008 3:34 PM (GMT -7)   
I have always had asymetrical pain and inflamation with the RA. One shoulder at a time one knee at a time etc. And yes when one joint in my arm is swollen the others tend to follow suit. My rhuemy did not give me meds at my first visit, I was already on prednisone (I had begged my primary for it) but she scheduled my second visit for one week after the first visit so she could get me started on meds as soon as the labs came in. It was kind of funny-I had to wait six weeks for the first appointment so went to the appointment looking pretty good after six weeks on 30 mgs a day of pred. Rhuemy was horrified at the dose of pred and had me start tapering very quickly-at my second visit after she got my labs she told me I could stop tapering if I wanted to and stay on 10 mgs until the plaq kicked in.

I like the plaq a lot it reduces the fatique and random fevers but it was not enough to get rid of the inflamation this time so I just started mtx and am still on 5mgs of pred-she just took me off my NSAIDS.

Your doc may be willing to start you on pred or an NSAID without labs but probably won't start you on anything serious without the results of a liver function test and CBCwith dif.

Anyway good luck and I hope you can get some relief soon.
Sj
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