Shifts and RA

Posted , 7 users are following.

Hi people.

I'm a 34 year old guy. I was diagnosed with RA last year and have been taking methotrexate for 3-4 months now. I been through some hi stress levels over the last 10 years...but in recent years a lot happened , prem little one and dad dying at the same time. Also I work week of day week of nights rotating and my sleep pattern is terrible!!! I'm also on call at weekends. I work on the motorway in a big lads environment. The outcome I guess has been a heavy bought of RA. I now seem to live on codeine which I feel I'm addicted too. Only take 2-4 a day but they do help.

Any other shift workers out there? How do the shifts impact your RA? Think I need to re - train in another career eventually.

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    last thing you need is stress, our system is struggling as it is.

    Having been there with family illness and deaths I can sympathise with you, very very difficult, specialist did say to me you have to reduce your stress, I laughed at her.

    Husband has heart faiure, and is slowly sliding backwards, we had a very bad week last week news wise, and I can feel a flare starting.

    My mother died on Xmas eve, so this time of year always a reminder, and Dad although he died many years ago, every Anzac Day is a reminder of the day he collapsed and died a few days later.

    I have tried diet restrictions, getting rid of wheat products, for me Weetbix, and Sausages that are made with Wheatmeal, (thats the usual base) are two of my big NO NO's.

    Have tried re-introducing them to my diet a number of times, and not a good idea at all, have shared my experience's with the specialist, and her reaction, is if you find something that works for you go with it.

    I love my wheat based products, but have learnt the less of them I eat the better I feel.

    I also take Odourless Fish Oil, by specialist recommdation, 6 x 1000gm a day, 2 x breakfast, 2 lunch, 2 dinner, with food, otherwise you get reflux, careful if you are on blood pressure tablets as well.

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    • Posted

      Hi lyn.... Thanks for your reply. I'm new to this and the condition stuff. I'd been suffering symptoms for years without knowing it. Then eventually I had a massive flare up in a lot of major joints and it put me hospital. That's what kick started the diagnosis.

      Do you take daily painkillers? Codeine seems to just relax my body and mind enough to be comfortable. I just get paranoid taking them everyday.

      I've got a one year old and another on the way now. Just hoping this RA doesn't play up along the way.

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    • Posted

      Richie - Similar to yours, GP telling me I had post viral syndrome, finally slipped and fell on floor of bedroom, and coudn't get up, result very long couple of days in hospital, while they did lots of tests.

      I don't have to take daily painkillers now I have had both hips replaced, alot of my really severe pain was coming from stuffed hips.

      But am struggling with, now diagnosed, facet joint (spinal) severe arthritis, bulging dics and one ruptured disc in back, the more I try to walk to more pain I am in. so I go swimming in a heated pool, very little walking.

      I know I am doing myself no good long term, seeing physio tommorrow, so hopefully am going to learn enough to help myself with new challenge, long term probably spinal surgery, but specialist has told me to leave as long as I can stand the pain.

      Codeine, good stuff, very rough on your stomach, I cannot take them, just too much for my stomach, also have a tendency to make you very constipated, are your Codeine prescribed by your Dr, if so its just a balancing act, don;t worry about being addicted, not when you have RA.

      I was addicted to Morphine, after Cancer Surgery, 10 years or so ago, nightmare at the time, but there is a way to get off them if the motivation is there, its called STEP DOWN, and a young Dr gave me a sheet fo paper with the steps, if you are taking painkillers every four hours, you need to step in down to every four & half hours, and then every five hours, then every six hours, but you only do the step down on a weekly basis. I was really scared, thinking I couldn't do it, as I was having such strong cramps and sickness when I tried to stop taking morphine, but it did work over a period of weeks, magic.

      Try to be gentle with yourself, Remember to take your folic acid the day after your MTX, have your blood tests to watch your liver function.

      How big a dose of MTX are you on, I am on 35mg, once a week, injectable, as I was no longer taking it up across my stomach barrier, Specialist rheumo could not understand why I was getting no response to MTX, even when she upped the dosage. Blood tests were going up rather than staying stable. I am also on Leflunomide, amazing that liver is coping, but blood tests still come back OK. Leflunomide is a recent drug on the Free lists in Australia, and it worked wonders for me, at 20mg, arthritis disappeared, but my blood pressure sky high, known but rare reaction. So whats new with me, I have been through the chemists shop trying to get some control of arthritis, and have now reached a happy medium that I can continue to live with I hope.

      When I was taking painkillers the Dr's had me on Panadol Osteo, 650mg of slow release Panadol. Maximum daily dosage, that was then upped to Norspan patches when they realised just how much pain I was in, just before my surgery.

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    • Posted

      Hi lyn...

      Bloody hell what you've been through is unbelievable! I just hope the swimming does good which im sure it will as exercise in any form for anyone is good for you. I'm not that bad at all. I'm on 20mg of mtx and listening to others, I've hardly had any reaction to them. And they seem to be working ok.

      Touch wood things are ok... I'm definitely learning fast there's no time for being stressed. It'll only kick my own arse!!! Lol

      Thanks for replying to me.

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    • Posted

      Richie - I started swimming, or a modified form of swimming, really should be called treading water, when my hips gave way, and had a long wait for surgery, welcome to the public system, in australia.

      I find the non-weight bearing very relaxing, in a heated pool, I know a nonsense when outside temp is 30 degrees + already, but that extra couple of degrees warmer make it like taking a warm bath, and you are inside a building so you don't have to worry about sunburn.

      Important that you keep your joints moving, even the specialist reminds me every time I visit her.. she gets me to show her my flexible body.

      Physio today, very pleased with my muscle tone, she said I am amazingly strong for someone who is not walking very much at all, she held my legs and got me to push and pull, do a situp, from lying position, no problems, did my rag doll pose, head onto knees, that I felt helps my back, nearly frightned the living daylights out of her with that one, well into breaking the 90 degrees post hip surgery rules, but I have no problems with it, never had even before surgery, when I shocked a Dr, with that little trick to show him I could put my hands flat on the floor, can't do that any longer, still too tight in the back, and legs, explained to her my swimming regiem, and she told me not to give it up, as it is doing me alot of good. She then got me to show her what I am doing, and sugested a couple of more exercises to help with strength in my lower back and pelvis, and she found one muscle in my buttock that is a little weaker than it should be, an exercise (clam Shell) that I thought I had mastered, but not using the correct muscles, or the muscles that I am supposed to be using to do it, have found my own little way of doing the clam shell pose, she also gave me an exercise for pineformus muscle, (sorry spelling) that with practice will make me even more flexible. Hopefully as she suggests all of this will help with spinal arthiritis, apparently keeping your muscles strong and flexible will keep me out of surgery, I hope.

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  • Posted

    Richie, this is a bit unclear...

    "...but in recent years a lot happened , prem little one and dad dying at the same time"

    "prem little one"?

    But it does sound as if you went through a major stress phase and RA does have a way of knocking us when we're down....

    I canlt speak for night shifts from my own experience, but I can from my goddaughter's and it was pretty heavy stuff for her.

    I don't know how long you've been on rotating shifts but I'd guess from all the reading I've done that a year is enough and then it's time to go off them. Night shifts can mess with your body clock, your sleep patterns and therefore your stress levels.

    RA sufferers need to love themselves and give extra value to their bodies – after all it's always going to be the only one you have!


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  • Posted

    Hi Richie.

    I have found that you will need to wait 3 to 4 months atleast to

    See the

    full impact of methotrexate. If you feel you still need additional pain killers everyday , I would revisit the rheumatologist as

    maybe you need it increased. That's not to say I don't need pain killers but thankfully not every day the methotrexate seems to be

    currently keep symptoms at bay

    You will need to watch out for things. . Stress food tiredness

    that trigger the ra. And not to put a dampener on things for you but irregular sleep patterns are a real trigger for me so depending on your shifts this may be a factor for you . Best of luck

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    • Posted

      "you will need to wait 3 to 4 months at least to see the full impact of methotrexate"

      Not sure that's quite accurate, Sinnead.

      Some people may have to wait that long, but my MTX kicked in after 6 weeks, and I understand it varies enormously. Perhaps 'at least four weeks and maybe as long as four months' might be closer to the truth.

      Someone on another RA thread is recommending high doses of fish oil to keep the pain at bay while waiting for the pharma stuff to kick in. I gather she's taking 2000mg 3 times a day and is praising the results.

      Sid effects? Better skin!

      Can't go wrong there..

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  • Posted

    Hi Ritchie, I get where you're coming from here, seems to me ur struggling with a lot of things. I was 36 when I was diagnosed with ra and TBH it took me a long time to come to terms with it, I had two young children at the time and it was very difficult juggling work with family life with the symptoms being as bad as they were. Everyone reacts to dmards and painkillers differently that's why if something is not working that try u on something else. End goal is to have us all on a dmard to stop joint deformities in the long term with painkillers for breakthrough pain. 7 years later for me I've tried 3 different dmards and now I'm starting a biologic next week. I've had periods of very little pain allowing me a "normal life" and periods where everything gets put on hold cos I'm out of action due to severe pain. Be good to yourself and eat a well balanced diet and talk to family members and friends that really understand. Have you tried morphine? It's a good pain killer. I also work nightshift, it's hard going at times. Keep well. G.
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  • Posted

    hi richie, as regards to feeling addicted to painkillers it is perfectly safe to take them as long as you are in pain, sometimes i can take 8 co codamol, 4 tramadol and morphine in between but its fine, im still on the road to remission and currently injecting 25 mxt and waiting to go on anti tnf,s, so im still taking maximum still now after a good few years of pain, i have a particulary aggressive form and have given up a year ago as coulnt cope with it, im also on 25mg amiltriptaline which helps me sleep. it may be you will have to change jobs or even have abreak but hopefully yours may not get that bad. relax about only taking 4 codene hun that is nothing compared to some having triple therapy and painkillers, enjoy ur children and make the most of being able to actually move, yours may not be a severe form. good luck buddy xx


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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. It's good to talk to a few people with the same conditions. Sounds like you've got it bad. I wouldn't know but mine seemed to hit me quite hard too. When it put me hospital... I was in agony... I couldn't hardly move and get out of bed. The ultra sound on my shoulders and other joints were pretty bad that's what the scanner said.

      Taking mtx now and things seemed to of settled but still get a few bits and bobs.

      Love having my little girl... She's turned our lives around.

      She definitely gives me the kick arse I need to feel good!!

      Hopefully there's something on the horizon to cure us all!!

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