Newly diagnosed

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Hi all, after about 7 weeks of swollen, painful joints i have just been diagnosed with RA. I have been put on 2 different DMARDs and was given a steroid injection in my bum to tide me over until those start working. The day after the steroid i felt so much better and was able to walk and use my hands without pain. However, that seemed to be short lived and the pain is back. I need some advice on how to reduce the pain. Rest? Gentle exercise? Anti-inflammatories? Heat (I have an infrared lamp)? Cold? What about diet (I am vegan)? I have never smoked, rarely drink alcohol and I am not overweight. I am new to this, so any advice on managing the pain would be welcome.

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  • Posted

    hi suki, im so sorry you have had this diagnosis, unfortunatly you are on a long road and what it seems to be is trial and error, they try you on the weaker cheaper drugs at first as these may be enough to control your sysmptons, these also have less side effects that the other heavier tings like Methotrxate and biological therapy. If you can arm yourself with as much information and research as possible and what works for others may not work for you, take each day as it comes and take plenty of painkillers as you need then, you might have to take other supplements for eg you may need laxatives from the painkillers, listen to your body and if says rest then rest, if you maybe feel a little better try a gentle swim or walk. Dont expect others to understand as they will not!!! good luck on your journey and by the way there is very good new stuff on the market that may put you in remission and be low disease activity so things may not be all doom and gloom x

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  • Posted

    The consultant is starting me on methotrexate plus hydroxychloroquine. Perhaps he is treating is aggressively? He said he had never seen such extreme swelling and i will probably be elevated to biologics.

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  • Posted

    Hi. Sorry to read of your trouble.

    First I would say go back to the doctor. They may consider whether a course of oral steroids would help bridge you through to where the DMARDs are working. There may be a reason why they are avoiding this. For example, if it makes it hard for them to see whether the DMARDs are becoming effective. I found prednosilone very good for the pain etc but I also experienced changes in mood and behaviour - but we all respond differently and for you there could be no issue. Steriods are not a long-term treatment option, as they just subdue the symptoms but do not stop the disease activity. So you and your doctor need to weigh the benefit to your daily well-being versus some masking of response from more sustainable treatment. You also need to safely taper off these.

    Only some time will tell whether you respond to DMARDs or progress to biologics.

    For pain I agree with the standard advice of gentle exercise when you can. I highly recommend something like aquajogging. Water exercise is supportive and non-impact. Some pools have group exercise sessions if you're into group things. If you find one, talk to the instructor about your condition. I find exercise is very good for my mood and my confidence as well as pain.

    My country has a charitable trust that is a source of advice and can guide patients to resources and support for arthritis sufferers, find out what you have available. They enrolled me in a hospital run hydro-therapy class. I found it was really for an older age group. Classes were during work-hours, which I found it tricky to get to. It was sobering and humbling for me, as although I was suffering, I could see the great variety of suffering and disability experienced by many for large parts of their lives. But anyway, it was well guided exercise, from a qualified therapist, with a group who understood the challenges of others.

    DMARDs. It took me some months before DMARDs became effective. Take pain relief, take anti-inflammatories. I suffered from nausea from diclofenac and coped better with naproxen. I also went from oral methotrexate to subcutaneous, again to reduce nausea. Talk to your doctor, if there are other resources, talk to them.

    Best wishes for your progress.

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  • Posted

    Hi, biologics are your best hope, I've had Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 15 years, was put on sulfasalazine and naproxen, sulfasalazine worked ok for the most time but about 2 or 3 years ago inflammation started rising, sulfasalazine basically stopped working well, so was put on Benepali biologic as well and works brilliant inflammation right down and still working great with no side effects.

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