Moving around

One of the weirdest thing about PR is that it can hit any part of the body, at any time. When I tell people that I suffer from arthritis flare ups, they tend to assume that it’s in the fingers.  While it might hit my hands, fingers, or wrists more than other joints in my body, it certainly doesn’t confine itself to there.

This weekend I’m having something of a neck flare up. The last time it flared there was last December, so it’s certainly not that common for me to have, but it’s pretty unpleasant. It hurts to move my neck in any direction, and so sleeping is particularly difficult because it’s agony in my neck every time I shift position in my sleep.  It isn’t hurting too much just so long as I don’t try and move my head position but then when I do, it’s incredibly painful. As with all my other flare ups, taking painkillers is pointless because they don’t work for my PR pain.

On the PR facebook page, there was a discussion about the worst place to have a flare. I think it was a toss up between neck and shoulder in the end. I definitely agree that the shoulder is pretty excruciating, probably because it’s one of the bigger joints. It’s the hardest to cope with and often causes secondary pain with my nerves being affected, shooting pains down the arm and pain in my wrists, fingers and hands too.  It’s important with these flare ups to relax as much as is possible; the tensing only makes things worse and only exacerbates the secondary pain. But that’s easier said than done.

The jaw’s quite an odd one. I’ve had that a few times too and then it’s hard to eat anything solid as chewing is quite painful.  Obviously ankles and knee flare ups are problematic because they can impact on my mobility, but thankfully the toe ones aren’t so bad.

The thing that’s also weird is that the pain is actually quite different depending on the location of the joint. Elbow flare ups feel like the pain you get when you’ve hit your funny bone – only continuous. Wrist flare ups feel more like a strain or sprain, as do ankle ones.  The shoulder flare ups, as I’ve mentioned, are very sharp in pain, and seem the hardest to cope with, while my reaction to the small toe and little finger flare ups is often “Is that it? Is that all you’ve got?” as they’re so minor in comparison!

Today is day two of the neck flare up and as I’m also ill with a virus, I’m confined to bed.  I’m being patient with it because I know that it will go. I don’t know when, or if it will just migrate to somewhere else when it’s done, but I do know that it won’t last forever exactly where it is now.

This neck flare is the worst flare I’ve had in about two months, since I started keeping the food diary in fact! I’ve had a few minor flares, but nothing too painful or too long lasting either. Sometimes I can’t help but give my PR a personality. It’s like a petulant child and on discovering that it was going to be monitored and observed decided to go into hiding for a bit just to spite me! Naturally, like a child, it couldn’t go and hide for too long, and so now it’s reared up again in one of the most unpleasant places, as if to say “hah. Thought I’d gone forever? Well, I’ll show you!” I’m hoping now that I’ve acknowledged it and accepted that it’s still around, it’ll slink off again for a while and I’ll be rewarded with a few more pain free days, or even weeks. Here’s hoping!


8 responses to “Moving around

  1. Oh Ruth its not fair you have this my friend. I hope that it will slink off (I like that expression 🙂 and you will have less pain soon. Cris xx

  2. Thanks Cris. It’s certainly not fair, as you know yourself! Wishing you well too. xx

  3. Hi…
    I was diagnosed with PR 6 months ago..and I hate this disease..I’ve got all the flares that u mentioned above and I do agree with u, shoulder pain is the worst.. I did try to change my diet to more vegan food and it helps lessen the pain but sometimes it’s hard to cope with the pain because it can attack you at anytime and any place and it limits my activity…:(

  4. I have PR, was diagnosed in March of 2012. Although when I first received my flare ups, they have subsided somewhat. Sometimes I think it’s because I changed my diet up. I am a Sarc victim as well, and while on Prednison, I decided I wanted to learn how to cook, since it keeps your hands pretty busy using the knife chopping up whatever. I started cooking pretty much what people would refer to as “bad” foods. I usually eat more fruits and vegetables because theyr’e easy to prepare and I don’t really like salt or sugar, but some canned foods I do buy………so I had been doing this since, like 2011, never had a flare up because the Prednisone had it at bay I guess. Once I got off completely, two weeks later, My neck was killing me like the way you described in your blog. I called in sick for three days becasue I literally could not move my neck. When I saw a Rheumatologist, all he said was take Motrin forever. I have been reading about treating it, and I’m ready to do it just to lessen the pain. like I said, I don’t have it as harsh anymore probably because my natural Prednisolone(from my liver) is working on it and the Prednisone is slowly leaving my body. I am hoping to make a full recovery, but what bothers me is that the doctors couldn’t explain what was going on with me. Anyways, I like your blog, and I’m going to continue reading it as it is very informative for me. Thank you very much. 🙂

  5. I’m not sure if my last post showed up. If it’s duplicated, I apologize.
    I just came across your Blog and am enjoying reading it. I was diagnosed with PR last June 2012 after suffering for at least year if not longer. At first I attributed it to getting older, later I blamed things I did at work, such as stapling and hole punching large amounts of paperwork. Finally I noticed that specific joints in my fingers would suddenly get red and swollen. The worst pain was/is in my elbows, shoulders and hands.
    My Doctor prescribed Prednisone but the Rheumatologist I was referred to weaned me off them and prescribed Minocin and Mega Red Krill Oil capsules. Neither of which has been helping.
    I’m going to see an Accupuncturist next week. The flare ups have been occurring more often and at times I feel like I can’t take any more of this pain.
    At any rate, thank you for letting me rant here. It’s somewhat reassuring to know that I’m not the only one with this supposed ‘rare’ syndrome.
    I look forward to reading more of your blog.
    All the best,

  6. I noticed you didnt mention hip flare ups. To me definitly the worst. Ive had flare ups in hands,wrists,shoulders,jaws,neck,and hips. It was the hips that finally got me diagnosed. I woke up one day and found i couldnt walk or even stand. I went to the doctor who thought my intestine had twisted and sent me to the emergecy room. After a MRI they came to the conclusion that my hip joint was infected and rushed me into surgery to clean it out. The next day I was up and walking around like nothing had ever happened. That was short lived, by sundown the pain had moved to the other hip and this time it hurt 10 times worse.Another MRI showed the same thing. I thought I was a dead man since I was on powerful IV antibiotics and the infection was spreading. Agian I was rushed into surgery to clean out the other hip.The surgon was at a loss as to what was going on,he told me he only performed this proceedure about once a year and never twice in two days on the same patient.I was checked over from everything from cancer to aids and no conlusive cause for this .There was even infectious disease specialist trying to figure out what was going on t no avail. Finally after 8 days in the hospital I was being prepared to go home when my right hand started swelling and hurting, it just happened that the rheumatologist was doing the paperwork to release me came in and I showed her my hand and ask her if this was tied to what was going on with my hips. She ask if I had fallen and injuured myself. I replyed no that it startede hurting and swelling about 30 min. earlier.She ordered somemore bloodwork which led to my diagnosis of pr. Now when I hear women say that giving birth is the most pain you can experiance I tell them this story and reply if having a baby hurt that much there would only be one child familes world wide. Even the morphine did not help the pain,though it did produced hallucinations which provided a distraction from the pain.

  7. I have had hip pain before, and it can be pretty disabling. But I have never ever had anything as bad as that. I’m really sorry you had to suffer that much. 😦

  8. So glad to have found stories mimicking mine! While it’s not good to hear others have the same pains, it does help to know we’re not alone. Funny hearing all the diagnosis stories. I remember various doctors thinking it was gout, or infections, and even one doctor said I was having a panic attack (it was in the intercostal joints of the ribs at the time and I found it extremely painful to breathe) – she told me to go home, and have a nice cup of tea with a shot of rum to help calm down!! Makes me laugh thinking about it now, but I was furious and frustrated at the time 🙂

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