What exactly does arthritis feel like?

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jermyjerms
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Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/8/2011 4:30 PM (GMT -7)   
I'll chime in with my experience with rheumatoid arthritis in case it helps others, too. I first had junior RA at age 10 in my right knee, around the year 1990. I'm not aware of the medical options then, but I do remember having an arthroscopy performed, and then my parents were told the only treatment would be physical therapy and monitoring the swelling. A year later, it vanished and the doctors asked for blood samples to see if my body could naturally counteract the condition. Apparently not. Both my knees severely swelled at age 24, and I've been dealing with RA for five years now. The pain is most severe when I lie flat with my legs stretched, or if I stand straight up for 20 minutes or more - then it feels like my legs are breaking in two. There's no pain at all when I go up and down steps, so I'm trying to incorporate moments to step up and down on something when I need to stand for long periods. Otherwise, the pain is a constant burning, and often that "mid crack" sensation Morticia32 mentioned, as if my knees are starting to dislocate. I constantly worry I'm damaging the skeletal structure of my legs, but my recent X-rays show no damage. I was taking Humira, but stopped because the thought of developing cancer wouldn't leave my mind (my grandfather died of leukemia before I was born, and I know such cases with Humira are rare). I hope this helps. I'm the only person in my family with RA, and I joke that I have a superhuman immune system and the rest of my physiological chemistry is still catching up to the process of evolution until balance is restored. You can use that if you wish.

Crackles23
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Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 96
   Posted 8/9/2011 5:01 PM (GMT -7)   
My experience with arthritis before it was treated felt like a jarring feeling in my back, kind of like someone angle grinding through my spine.
Even though sometimes I still feel like that early in the mornings and my upper back hurts most of the time now. My problem is that if I sleep without any pain which is rare, I sleep way too long because I rely on the pain to get me up most of the time.
It sometimes has it's advantages, although when thing's like sciatica kick in that's when it really hurts and get a severe shooting pain feeling.
I'm not exactly sure what RA feels like but would probably imagine much the same thing, just in different location I would guess.
Lets just say, without treatment and medication, it pretty much makes life very very hard to live.

I'm quite lucky that mine has slowed in progress from being treated so early, some people go on for many years without a diagnosis and have to take a mountain of medications.
Diagnosis - Ankylosing Spondilitis and (still to come, ill find something :P)
Meds - Celebrex 200mg Once daily - Contains Celecoxib.

Melbourne, Australia

Texas Lady
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Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/20/2011 5:12 PM (GMT -7)   
I was a very healthy person until my mid 30's about 24 years ago. In the early years I felt like I had the flu and the aching was excruciating. These spells got closer together until I was having them weekly. The first time I fell due to a joint giving way was also mid 30's. My rheumatoid arthritis first diagnosed in my mid 40's. This diag confirmed when I had to have both knees replaced due to severe damage. ( should have replaced about 3 years sooner.) I also have osteoarthritis. Confirmed in spine MRI's. Have degenerate spine disease - lumbar disk rupture with removal of some disk and bone - cervical disk ruptured and replaced. I also have fibromyalgia. Lumbar surgery is a partial failure. I am no longer able to work for past 2 years. However, due to exercise, meds, and high pain threshold, I have a wonderful life. Good days are always followed by 2 to 5 really bad days. On good days I do as much of things I want to do as possible. It is worth a couple of bad days to dance at my sons wedding, or now years later play with my grandchildren, or go down a few water slides, or walk my walker all over a festival ( taking a lot of food breaks LOL). if you are going on a cruise take a scooter :). Out of 7 days I only spent 1 1/2 day in bed. I have been taking same meds for years: methotrexate, prednisone, cyclobenzaprine, lyrica, percoset plus tummy meds and sleeping pill prn., and supplements like calcium with d, potassium, folic acid, etc. One of my secrets is spreading meds over 24 hours; the other is my soaking bath tub and a good book while soaking. I have a rheumatologist, and a spine Dr. / pain clinic for over ten years. I live a happy life in spite my disabilities. Hobbies, maintaining rehab exercise, and a wonderful marriage are my secrets. If you feel so bad u need to go to bed - do it, BUT only for one to three days. Longer and you will lose this battle. I am also a Christian, and this is my biggest secret for rebounding after surgeries and a few bad bouts with all of this. I wish all of you great mental ability, love, and happy lives. I am proof that it is possible. I hated retiring, but have learned to measure my success on a daily basis. Cooking a great meal is a victory.

gypsysgrounded
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 8/20/2011 9:07 PM (GMT -7)   
MY pain is very similar to christina with shooting pain almost like a mix of adrenaline shock meets electrical shock hers in arm ...mine in lower calf to ankle and all over foot. my metatarsal bones =small bones on top of foot feel like they want to snap in two when i stand. ,and my feet dont want to bend at all when i walk so i feel very unatractive & flat footed bull in a china cabinet. I to am waiting patiently to see a rheumy and get on meds.                                                                       

jperkin4
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 8/22/2011 8:33 AM (GMT -7)   
I have Crohn's which is accompanied by severe arthritis. I've been seeing a Rheumy since I was 20, about 20 years ago now. Hard to believe I've been living with this for that long. I can't really remember what I felt like before it.

My arthritis also jumps around as others have described. I tend to get a more dull ache with stiffness in the bigger joints. My knees are pretty bad and get really swollen, but the pain is worse in the smaller joints. My fingers, ankles and elbows tend to get the shooting type of pain. Those tend to be my bad days, when it decides to attack those joints. I got off of Prednisone a few months ago as I was putting on too much weight. Happy to report that I've lost 30lbs since then and my face no longer looks like a balloon. The pain is worse though, I'm hoping if I lose more it will take some stress of the joints and the pain will be better.

Texas Lady
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/22/2011 10:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello jperkin4,
I have had IBS since I was in grade school. Once they upped it to Crohn's, and then changed it again with the definite diagnosis of all the arthritis' - rheumatoid being primary. I was weaned down to 5 mg of Prednisone a day many years ago. How much prednisone were you taking every day, and how long were you taking it. I am wondering if I stop the 5 mg a day, if my weight will drop. I get fussed at by my husband because he doesn't think I eat enough. Truthfully, I just am not hungry until I smell food, but I fill up easily. I exercise each day - low impact rehab exercises. MY weight needs to come down, but it just is not happening.
My pain ranges from aching to knife sharp also. Living down here near the water, the humidity and barometric pressure are my worst enemies.

jperkin4
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 8/22/2011 4:59 PM (GMT -7)   
I've had the IBS since I was a kid as well. I had some embarrasing issues when I was a kid. It wasn't until my knee sweeled up to the size of a canteloupe that I was diagnosed with Crohns. I was 20 at the time. I'm 41 now. It definitely explained why I had such bowel issues, but noone knew about these things 30 years ago.
 
I was on prednisone for the better part of 5 years. For the first few years it ws on an as needed basis, I wsa allowed 15 mg a day. I probably averaged taking about 15 a week for the first year or two. At that point I hit a wall and I seemd to have nothing but bad days. My rheumy put me on 15 mg a day every day. I stayed on that for 3+ years until this past May. I had just the opposite reaction to the steroids, I was hungry all the time. No matter what I ate, I was hungry a few hours later. I've got a much more normal appetite now.
 
 I'm a big guy and have been for a while, can't blame it all on the prednisone or the arthritis but they sure didn't help. I was a hyper active kid and now I'm more of a couch potato. Hard to be super active when every step you take hurts.  I'm 6'2 and 250 now, I got up to 280lbs when I told my Rheumy I had to get off it. He said OK if I could take the pain.. The pain has gotten worse, but at least I'm heading in the right direction.
 
 

Texas Lady
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/22/2011 8:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for responding. I remember being in the emergency room with my knee swollen like that in my 30's. I thought I had water on the knee. The doctor told me it was arthritic inflamation. He also picked up my high heels and dumped them in the garbage. I fished them out and continued to wear them (bad girl). No way I could walk in those 4" stilts any more LOL. I am going to talk to my Rheumatologist about getting off of the prednisone and see if my weight comes down. I weigh 172, and need to lose 42 lbs. I carry my weight better than most, and my doctors always say I am okay at my weight. I just know if I got back down to 130, that I might be able to put off hip replacements for a few years. I wont let it get as bad as my knees were before I had them replaced. The bottom of my femurs was "pudding" and I had zero meniscus when I finally did it. I was scared of that surgery - the back surgeries were nothing compared to the knees - very painful. I had them both replaced at the same time, and at 6 weeks I almost had a normal range of motion. I did my own rehab at home - twice a day - religiously. Cried through them for weeks. But, the results were fabulous - and my doctors were ecstatic! Thanks again for your response.

mjgb8
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 10/12/2011 7:09 AM (GMT -7)   
I haven't been to a Dr yet I'm waiting for our new insurance to take affect. But, I can't stand the pain and I was wondering if these symptoms sound like RA.

It started in my fingers. If I were to touch something against the outside of my thumb (for example) The pain is just awful. It feels like someone is just tearing my thumb out of place. The hot stabbing pain is so intense all I can do is grab the finger hunch over and cry. It is now affecting both wrists, hands and knees. The achy pain is always there and my hands feel like they are all swollen up. Can it come out of nowhere? Last month I was fine and now it seems to be taking over my body! Am I going insane or is this real?????? Thank you so much for any insight you can give me!

Nanarita
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Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/3/2012 4:37 PM (GMT -7)   
I think I have had RA pain for over 10 years, but just this month have shown a RF factor of 7.99 & have been diagnosed with RA. I can't get into rheumatologist 4 months. My regular DR put me methotrexate, but I am in so much pain. Any thoughts or suggestions??

shanbr
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 103
   Posted 4/5/2012 7:16 PM (GMT -7)   
my pain is different by how much fluid is there. Bone on bone gives me a horrible feeling like a butcher knife is stuck in my knees, other times i have this shooting pain like someone has an ice pic and is stabbing me over and over in the same spot while other times i just feel like a tree fell in my leg and won't get off, a heavy pressure pain.

pamir
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Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/21/2013 11:59 AM (GMT -7)   
shersmam

you said it feels like the flu ache. That is what I feel like when my vit D is low. I am constantly very low (normal is above 30 and once upon a time I was at 7 now am in the low 20's) When my D is low I truly feel like I have the flu. Maybe try taking some vitamin D and see if it helps that part at least.

Pamir

pamir
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Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/21/2013 12:08 PM (GMT -7)   
For me I feel like my hands are weak like the grip is weak I can close my hands but can not squeeze them, my hands swell at night and I feel like I need to crack my knuckles (I don't of course) not half cracked but like I need to crack them to release the pressure.

Does anyone else have multiple locations of tendonitis? or what they say is tendonitis? I also am finding during this flare up (currently) I am very tired.

I am diabetic so can not do the steroids as it sends my sugars through the roof. a few years ago they checked my blood and I was neg at that time but I know my doctor is planning on testing for it again soon. Writing with a pen or pencil is darn near impossible and causes great pain, so I prefer to type. The shooting pains mentioned I had not thought of but I do have those so at least now I know what they are.

Thanks all
Pamir

Chartreux
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Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9657
   Posted 1/21/2013 2:33 PM (GMT -7)   
pamir, nice to meet you hun, However, you have responded to an older thread and I'm not sure some of these people are here anymore, sorry..Please if you would start a new thread introduce yourself, as we'd like to meet you and give you a better welcome on here this is a good forum, so welcome.
I find that most of us here do have a vitamin D deffincey, I also have low D levels and that can be a part of it, but maybe have your Iron levels checked as well as low iron can cause tiredness as well...
Many well wishes and hope you post a new thread...
**********************************************
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...
********>^..^<********>^..^<*******

jeanneac
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 1882
   Posted 1/27/2013 5:39 PM (GMT -7)   
It sounds like for some of us, the pain is similar and others not. My joint pain started when I had colitis. At first it was in my knees and feet but then my hands and shoulders. It makes me feel achy all over and very fatigued, sometimes feverish. When it first came on me a few years ago my ANA and sed rate were positive but now the ANA is negative. The sed rate and CRP are still high. Mine comes and goes like the wind. I can be in remission for a few weeks then it comes back. I keep hoping one day it will go away and not come back. lol....... Sometimes it will lift and I will feel like I did years ago and it taunts me for sure. But, so far, it always comes back.
d 1/09 with colitis sigmoid colon with some diverticular disease as well, Colon resection Nov. 2010, now in remission!
seronegative RA, type 2 d, asthma, skin scleroderma, VSL#3 probiotic, Vit. D, nexium, synthroid,
Positive ANA speckled pattern 1:180, high sed r

JimK
New Member


Date Joined May 2013
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 5/27/2013 9:49 AM (GMT -7)   
I often feel a general malaise . I always have burning pain in my wrists, fingers, feet and ankles. I also have a 4 CM mass in my lung not sure yet if it is RA lung or something worse. I just had
a Cat scan the other day. I got the hospital report but have not talked to my GP. I also have symptom of sojourns burning eyes
and dry mouth. I just got blood work back my c-active protein
was 3.78 very high and sed rate was 46. I just went off prednisone which elevated some of the pain. I am on Arava and sulfasalazine and don’t think it working. I work out 6 days a week doing a spinning class and other things which I feel really helps me cope with the pain, however, I am lucky because I have been doing that particular work out routine for years so, I have no trouble continuing it. Well I got that off my chest. later

jeanneac
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 1882
   Posted 5/27/2013 12:38 PM (GMT -7)   
My sed rate and crp are similar to yours jim.... I sure wish I had the energy to work out. They have to find something that I can take long term besides prednisone. Prednisone and tramdol are helping me through this current flare, 10 mg of pred isn't much but it sure helps. I can get my household chores done, I have energy to clean and might have energy to even work out a bit. It's heaven. I would like ( i think) a definitive diagnosis though, but if it's RA, I probably won't want it, if you all know what I mean. Answers are good sometimes b/c you know what you are dealing with. It might be a relief. Gotta go get the MRI on my hands in the next few weeks to see what that shows. I am thinking it might not be RA even though the doc at mayo thinks so. I think it's some other connective tissue dz. Whatever it is, it responds to prednisone, so it has to be auto immune or inflammatory. It doesn't respond to regular doses of motrin or ibuprofen.

spammy
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/28/2013 2:18 AM (GMT -7)   
many of my knuckles also feel like they need to be cracked. i accidentally cracked one yesterday out of habit. i immediately had a searing pain of fire and razor blades burning in my hand! i'm still adjusting to this new diagnosis and that taught me a quick lesson.

RNwithRA
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2013
Total Posts : 57
   Posted 5/29/2013 12:28 PM (GMT -7)   
I can totally relate to having trouble getting moving. I'm 44 and was running 10 miles a day less than a year ago. Now, my grandmother could kick my butt getting going in the morning...or after sitting for even 30 minutes...except she's dead from complications of RA.

I find the knee pain crucifying, personally. Explosive and just plain awful. It's like your worst sprained ankle (or knee) times 10, except it's in several joints. And you can add to that feeling like a bad case of the flu. My feet usually just burn (like they are on fire) or ache. Same with my hands. Elbows are just stiff without any pain.

I guess the trick is to keep moving. Lol

Carrot top
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/1/2017 7:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi yalinda and clam I just got on and I read the text and it hit home I have had osteoporosis and Rhe for 20 some years and the doctor always laughed and asked if I really had it because I was doing so great with my infusion pain was almost nothing but now I hurt all over and not just my joints. I mean all over. It hurts to touch my skin. Sometimes when my husband scratches my back it hurts too bad. The doctor doesn't get what I'm trying to say. It's really upsetting So they say don't do this or that but I'm not one to sit and do nothing I'm one that keeps going if I stop I hurt and if I work it hurts I've had 6 back surgeries and shoulder and knee and albow and I'm still going Thanks for listening it really felt great to talk to someone who understands. Carrottop

jeanneac
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 1882
   Posted 2/28/2017 7:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Back in the day when Vioxx was still on the market, it made me feel like a new person! But, it's off the market and I am allergic to Celebrex.
Mine started with swollen achy fingers, it was sausage like swelling. Also my toes and feet hurt, shoulders, hips and knees. I felt extremely tired. I also have Sjogrens. I don't seem to have any "disfigured joints". I am RF negative but had a positive ANA and sed rate.
Sometimes it is an achy pain all over, sometimes it's specific joints. Right now my knees are killing me. Mine can move from one site to the other and it is also very sensitive to the barometric pressure/storms. The sunlight can also make me flare.
It really helped so much to read others descriptions here. Nobody else understands.
Sjogrens syndrome 2/15 via lip biopsy:depression, fibromyalgia
colitis-resection 11/10, hashimoto's thyroiditis, morphea, GERD
Meds: plaquenil, synthroid, metformin, nexium, restasis, estrogen patch, prometrium, VSL #3, evening primrose oil, alpha lipoic acid.
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