I have RA, but am relatively early in the disease. I have daily pain beyond what my rheumy was willing to treat. I have started to see a PM doctor. Between the Tramadol, Cymbalta, Pennsaid, Motrin, Aspercream and Icy-hot gel I am starting to have times when I am comfortable at rest. I can do some errands and chores, but with plenty of time in between and not bending, squatting, lifting much at all, if any. Anymore than that and I "pay for it". This is not where the treatment is supposed to end. I'm supposed to be able to do more and still be comfortable. I look forward to that.
So, at the times that I was comfortable I felt some really weird things in the places that typically hurt. In my knee, when I move it I can feel the "thickening" of the joint itself. I believe I am feeling the synovial membrane (the "balloon" that surrounds the joint) thicken from the inflammation. At times I can feel a "gritty" feeling in there like when a lubricated joint gets sand in the lubrication. This feeling only happens when I have increased pain and the breakthrough meds and the topical make it comfortable. At that point anything more than walking across the house to refill my drink will breakthrough the breakthrough meds. At that point I believe I am feeling the inflammation under the pain.
The continuous discomfort in my hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders has been interesting as well. I have started to have times when instead of pain, I could call it something else (I really don't know a good word for it. "Aware" would be the best I can think of. I am aware that that part of the body is there. It captures my attention even though would not necessarily call it a "pain") What I have started to feel is the difference in the "pains".
I have the joint pain. This is a warm, ache, pain sensation caught in the places in the joint only. There IS a break in the pain between each joint.
There is a "not warm" ache running from the base of my thumb down the side of my hand into my wrist. it is not connected to the joint pain but sometimes shows up at the same time.
There is a "tightening", pulling sensation on the top of my hand below the middle two fingers in lines going to the wrist. Like the "strings" are shrinking so are pulling tighter. I have the same sensation on the inside of my wrist running from the wrist up my arm on the palm side. This is happening more on my right hand than the left, but I have a similar but less strong feeling on the left hand.
There is a sore something on the inside of my elbow. It is not a warm pain. It will hurt without touching, but hurts much more it I lay my elbow on a hard surface. It feels like a foreign ball inside my elbow on the right side. On the left it just feels like a sore spot inside. The right is much worse than the left. When I have lots of pain elsewhere in my body my elbows sometimes will beel like I have hit my "funny bone" but instead of lasting a few moments it can last for hours or even once for days. All the other pain pails to that when it happens.
I sometimes get what feels like a "lightning bolt" of pain that starts in my wrists and shoots over the inside of my arm, through my elbow and up into my shoulder. This is not warm pain, it is cold, electric pain. (I am sure that something pinches a nerve in my wrist to cause this) It only happens on my right hand. This can last from moments to days at a time. It happens more when something in my hand is swollen.
There is more, but my fingers hurt from typing right now.
What do you think? And what do you think I should do with this new information?
And which Dr do I tell if I tell one?
PCP? Rheumatologist? PM Dr?