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!