Getting a Grip on Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Even When My Hands Are Sore
Posted Oct 08 2008 9:31am
The deep aches and sharp stings of Rheumatoid Arthritis pain are things I’ve learned to live with over the past few years. The first few months after diagnosis were terrible, I was incapacitated with pain. My feet and knees were so terrible I needed a cane to walk and my hands were useless to open jars, and buttons were impossible. I was quite an unhappy camper.
As I’ve said over and over, I dove into researching RA. Food became an interesting topic as I discovered that many others had noticed that certain foods caused more pain and discomfort than others. I thought I would give it a try; I had nothing else to lose.
Red peppers, red wine and shell fish were quickly noted as pain triggers and were begrudgingly eliminated from my diet, but still there was pain. How could I keep up with my young family? I had to find something better. I found weather played a big role and heating pads and hot baths became more frequent and favorite friends.
I noticed that stress would set pain switch on and if I wasn’t active for more than an hour, stiffness set in, so walking was put on the schedule, which also helped with relaxing stress away.
One particular thing weighed heavy on my mind and that was the dependency of pain meds. In the past, with other health situations I had gone through weeks and weeks of extreme pain and had been given copious amounts of narcotics, morphine, Vicodin and Demerol. But at the most I was 3 weeks relying on them because the pain was temporary and an end was in sight. This was different, I would be living with RA for the rest of my life, how could I get through without abusing drugs? Who in their right mind wants to live 24/7 with no pain relief? And narcotics certainly help deal with that, and wow, they make me feel great! It was a big decision to dig my heels in and be determined that I would do all I could to better this situation before relying on mind and body numbing drugs. So far, I have been doing a pretty good job of keeping pain away, and in dire situations I take a couple of Tylenol 3’s.
When living day in and day out with chronic pain, a person learns how to cope. I began to keep an eye on the weather in order to prepare myself for pressure changes, I always make sure pain meds were handy, heat sources close by and diligently keep my immune system as healthy as possible. But even all this doesn’t entirely remove it.
I barely notice it now, unless it’s a bad flare, or really take the time to think about it. I supposed I’ve gotten used to it so much that it doesn’t register the same as it did even 2 years ago. I deal quite well with the daily stiffness and aches, but the sudden flares still send me for a loop, probably because they are so infrequent now. The sharp pains that feel like bee stings in my fingers, elbows, knees and feet are horrible, and because I’m on blood thinners, the inflammation usually causes quite a bit of ugly bruises which makes me look like I’ve been beaten with a ball-peen hammer.
Yes, Rheumatoid Arthritis pain definitely gets on my nerves to say the least, but the more I live with it, the more I learn to fight it; and the stronger I get, RA’s grip on me gets weaker. Until a cure is found, I’m quite prepared to fight tooth and nail. Bring it on!