A different kind of pain

This is my first blog written using voice-activated software, so please excuse me if it doesn’t always make sense or if there are some strange words in there. It is a strange program which sometimes seems to have a mind of its own!

The reason I’m using it right now is because I have been told to totally rest my right hand and arm. And therein lies a lesson in what happens when you ignore pain. In about the second week of January, I got, what I thought was, a flare in my right wrist. It was more persistent than usual flares but not at that time particularly painful. With my arthritis flares, it doesn’t make much difference whether I rest the joint in question or carry on. I mean, yes it may hurt to use it, but it won’t necessarily make it worse. And so I carried on as normal.

Yet the flare did not go and, in fact, started to get worse. I also noticed a weird swelling about a centimetre from the base of my thumb. It did not appear to be on my joint. After three weeks of constant pain, I decided that this was no normal flare and went to see the doctor. This wasn’t my usual GP nor my rheumatologist and he sent me to A&E for an x-ray in case there was a break. Thankfully there was no break, although the first doctor I saw was completely mystified by my swelling and pain. This did not inspire me with confidence. Thankfully, she called on a more senior doctor and he was able to diagnose tendinitis. I was relieved that it was something identifiable but dismayed to find out that it might be hanging around for a while yet.

The doctor gave me a splint to wear and told me that I needed to completely rest my wrist. Carrying on as normal had probably aggravated it and prolonged the condition. I now needed to rest.  No cooking. No cleaning. No cycling :-(. And no typing. The voice-activated software that I had been sporadically using suddenly became my best friend. Or at least, the type of friend who will help you out when you need it but makes a point of letting you know how much they’re doing for you, acts passive aggressively and then sometimes refuses to do what you want them to do for no apparent reason!!

Yes it’s frustrating, but it’s better than not being able to send e-mails or do any work at all.

10 days on and there still seems to be no discernible improvement to the swelling or the pain. It hurts constantly and then there’s a really fierce, sharp pain when I’m doing something I clearly shouldn’t be doing. I’m trying not to worry about how long it’s going hang around for, and yet at the same time, I’m quite disheartened and fed up of constant pain. A couple of friends have suggested I seek a second opinion in case there is more I could be doing.

I am assuming that this tendinitis episode is related to my PR because I can’t see any other cause. It’s not as if I was doing a lot of typing or using my mouse on the computer for long periods of time before this happened. mind you, these days I attributed almost everything that is unexplainable to my PR.

Thankfully, actual arthritis flares have been quite mild and short lived while I have had to deal with the tendinitis pain so I suppose there’s always a plus side to everything!

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4 responses to “A different kind of pain

  1. You could try voltarol cream to rub on it, maybe check with the chemist if you aren’t sure of the stuff. You could also try the hot and cold treatment which might give some relief and I don’t see how it could do any harm, but I’m not a doctor, just a fellow sufferer of an obscure, though different, form of arthritis 🙂

  2. Oh goodness – I do hope that complete rest gets rid of this for you sooner rather than later! I’m guessing (maybe wrongly) that there’s not a lot you can do until the swelling goes down a bit ,but after that maybe physio or something might help? Might be worth getting a second opinion if it’s been going on for two weeks since you’ve been resting it – maybe you can take something else to reduce the swelling or something? GOOD LUCK with getting it sorted. My worst nightmare is losing the use of a hand, even temporarily!

  3. I suffer a lot of pain in my shoulders and knees. I have lived with PR for about 15 years. My Rheumi assures me this is Tendinitis which is not a flareup of my PR but people with RA and other related arthritic conditions will often suffer with it running along side. I am prescribed extra pain control meds to help control the pain at manageable level when this occurs. I need to avoid things that aggravate such as carrying a shoulder bag or any shopping as an example. Physio have given me a few exercises to do and I do Tai chi as I am able. It can be very painful. I have been given the occasional steroid injection but these are not recommended for the longterm. A mixture of rest and gentle exercise with some added pain control meds is how I manage. I wish you well.

  4. Thanks for your comment Hilary. Yes, people with PR are definitely more susceptible to tendinitis. Luckily, I have not suffered since this horrible bout last year, but I am very careful and wary of things that might cause a relapse. I thought that my elbow flare last year was tendonitis too, but that has also gone – mysteriously overnight. So perhaps it was a flare after all.
    Glad you are able to manage yours okay, and that Tai Chi has helped. I’ve always wanted to try it, but can’t really fit it into my life as I already do yoga and pilates.
    thanks again for commenting and reading the blog. It really means a lot.

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