Working with RA

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My husband has just been diagnosed with RA and severe carpal tunnel in his hands currently on methotrexate , the doctor said he can carry on driving his Lorry for work, how is this when he is in severe pain?

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  • Posted

    Because the doctor has never driven a lorry - he thinks it is the same as driving a car. Nor does he have any idea what the pain is like if he has not got either condition himself.

    What he means is that there is no medical reason for DVLA to stop him driving as they might if he had diabetes. Theory and realisty are far apart and someone should give this doctor a reality check!

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    • Posted

      I know! My husband wants to work but at the moment is in a lot of pain, he had the crp test and it was 225, I believe thisthe inflammation in his body?
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  • Posted

    Hi P., so sorry to hear about his condition. It's dr dependent really. If he needs days off, you should tell this to his dr explicitly. Pain management is individual. If he can't drive and the painkillers don't help, you should tell the dr. It's a sh*tty illness to deal with but I hope that the meds will finally bring him back on track. Note that it takes time for the meth to start working and that it does not work for everyone so monitor his sympthoms and condition until you find one that works. Good luck!

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  • Posted

    Hi Plonker . I have RA and also suffer from carpal tunnel .

    I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand 4 months ago.

    The surgeon (while an very nice man) advised me that after two

    Weeks I was good to go . NOT SO . It has taken me three and

    A half months to return to work and I am back on a part time basis

    As while the surgery was successful, I still have to build up the

    Strength in my wrist and when I did much of anything the RA flared again

    . .. Driving a car was particular painful . Physiotherapy was particularly

    sore. FYI . My job was clerical

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    • Posted

      Push to see a rheumatologist. Gp's dont have the experience to

      diagnosis RA in my experience. It can unfortunately take a while

      to get definitive diagnosis. Carpal tunnel is very common with RA.

      On the other hand I have a friend who was a hairdresser and she had

      Carpal tunnel from work and no other disease.

      I will tell you that the surgery while has risks and I am still

      recovering from it , it got to the point where I couldn't sleep without

      Putting my hands in ice water at night , I don't regret getting it done.

      Best of luck to your hubble


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  • Posted

    Please push your husband to go to is doctor again I know it may be hard (ask my wife) but how the nhs is organised these days he must be refered by him as with anything he must keep pushing to get results
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  • Posted

    Here in Australia the workplace health and safetly laws are pretty strong, and if you knowlinly put other people in danger because of your medical condition you can be in a very big pile of do do, in England do you have place of work laws, and if you husband is unable to control his truck because of his carpal tunnel, you may have to report yourself to firstly transport dept, but be careful when they pull your licences it is permanent.

    So in my husbands case when he was told he could go back to work by the govt employment agency, even when I pointed out his specialist letters, told they were of no interest. 

    I sent those same specialist letters to workcover, dangerous as they pulled his ability to work totally and cancelled all his licences, and notified the employment agency.

    How do we know, we were called back into the employment agency about a week later and the red carpet and cups of tea and chairs were offered the moment we gave our name at the front counter, and staff were running for the manager, no apologies but I like to think somebody got a right kick where it hurt.

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  • Posted

    Hi Plonker

    I have had both carpel tunnels nerves cut so that cured that

    problem for me.

    However I still have severe pain in both wrists and claw like

    constriction to both hands.

    A few years back I switched to an automatic car but I find

    gripping the steering wheel and putting the hand break on very

    painful during a flare up.

    Does your husband have some resting splints, if not he needs to ask his rheumatologist or doctor for a referral they do help immobilise the joint while leaving his fingers free.

    Has he been referred to a hand specialist for the carpet tunnel if not ask his GP to refer him you can have them both done at the

    same time as a day case and he will be out of action for about 4 weeks, but it does help.

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  • Posted

    He'll be in a vicious cycle of pain and the only relieve to my findings is Prednisone, but it won't go away nor slow down the disease.  Methetrexate is most common prescribed to anyone with RA, but I knew it's only work on a few people as our genetic made up are different.  There are more than 70 or more RA medication, but lately the two new biologic drugs seemed to be the most effective in which I'm waiting to try, but the price is $12,000 a year and insurance might not cover for it.  Your doctor has to work with your husband on this.  See a nutritionist and physical therapist and reduce any alcohol if possbile.

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    • Posted

      Methotrexate is one of the first line approaches for RA - and it works for many people, not just a few as you imply.

      In the UK for most illnesses there is a list of medications which must be worked through to get to the biologics and that is also the case for many insurances in the USA. It is also pointless to go straight to biologics - many drugs stop working so well after a time even biologics. If you start at the bottom of the list you won't have any reserves.


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    • Posted

      Methotrextrate is wonderful stuff, for arthritis, specialist could not understand why it was not working for me, no downward adjustment in my ESR, and some other drugs she tried also had no effect.

      Eventually she worked out maybe I was not taking it up across my stomach, and had me tested if I remember 24 hours after my dose, nowhere near the dosage I was taking in my bloodstream, so changed me over to injectable MTX, that worked.

      As i understand it in Australia to get the biologicals via the hospital syst you have to show a pattern of three different drugs not working or having a reaction to make it unusable as in leflunomide 20mg in my case, blood pressure, a rare reaction but so high it became life threatening.

      Also you have to be free of tuberculosis, and some other tests for liver function to be able to be given biologicals, I have a positive TB tests, from many years ago when I was given as a preventative, so biologicals are out for me.

      Biologicals presently are the last bullet in the arnesal of medications presently they can give you, they are going to try to using other medications first to see if they get any result.

      As in my case over many years now, I have been chopped and changed, presently off even MTX for a short holiday as I seemed to be having a nasty reaction with itching, and sweating at night, seems to be caused by MTX, as since I have given it away the reaction has stopped. Specialist has talked to me about it, to see how I go.

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    • Posted

      Exactly - my point to benjawan was that methotrexate works for a majority of people when he had implied it doesn't. The most common reason for it apparently not working is inability to absorb the oral version - and then injections come in. And yes - most countries start small and work towards the big boys. Not just in RA either!

      Good luck with the next steps - itchiness is horrible!

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