Hurting please

Hi all. Basically I started on mtx about a month ago, and seem to be getting worse. Is this normal?

I have bad joint pain in my hands for the first time, and for the last week, my right hand is swollen, hot and I am having a hard time holding things and doing things with it. I'm right handed and make my living typing so I'm freaking a bit. I've gotten used to the joint pain everywhereelse, but this is really upsetting me as I live alone and if I cant use my hands, well, thats obviously not good.

Any suggestions for me to help me with the pain/swelling? Should I try not to use it, or try to keep using it? I try to use ibuprofren for pain, but its not touching it.

Any advice please, thanks!!

Hi Roe,
When I started MTX last year the same thing happened to me, you will probably find that the drug hasn’t really started to kick in yet, but your inflammation is still charging ahead. I’ve heard others say that pafafin wax baths help hands…I so wish I’d found this site when my hands were at their worst! My job is heavy on the hands so I was off for about 4 months until MTX had kicked in enough for my hands to improve enough to return.
I had to learn how to leave things that weren’t essential to ‘Save’ my hands (my thumbs and index fingers were the worst) bought pre prepared veg, grocery shopped online and had it delivered, pretended I didn’t have a garden. Only wore clothes that were easiest to get on.
My doc referred me to Occupational Therapy and the hand specialist was excellent, she taught me exercises for hand mobility, provided splints to help protect my MCP thumb joints and a wrist resting splint to wear at night.
I too was frightened…I know it sounds still but you don’t appreciate how much you use your hands til you can’t!
Good luck with the meds and hope they kick in soon x

Heat helps me (hot pad), The doc said Voltaren gel. I wear gloves that fit (not loose, not too tight) and it helps a bit. Then, I call out for food. These hands hurt for cooking and doing dishes!--good excuse to cater or eat out.

I massage them, exercise them (push and pull in all directions) and pamper them. Gee, when my hands hurt I embelish them with a manicure. A positive attitude helps the pain. This way, I can look at the polished hands and not see the pain. I tell myself that beatiful hands should not hurt, and all this does lessen my hands' pains.

Pain is an activity of the mind. The busier we keep the mind, the less it hurts. And now you have my secret.

Sorry Roe, that was meant to say paraffin wax baths lol

those are great except they come with a warning for diabetes and emboli patients.

I use hot pads, hot water, Voltaren gel, massages (pull in many directions), gloves to keep warm, hold everything with two hands, thick at the base eating utensils, changed all door knobs and faucets to those that can be worked with the arms as well as the hands.

Last, I get a manicure. I tell myself so many times that beautiful hands cannot hurt, that I end up believing it. Call it self hipnosis if you want. What's funny is that my family sees my polished fingernails, and they know I had "that-kind-of-a-day" day.

You’re right Gelita, about beautiful hands, I can’t have polish as I work in healthcare but I always look after my hand as much as posible had have some lovely hand creams (Lush do some lovely ones) and then wear some of my beautiful rings that were handed dowm generations, not always on the fingers they were meant for, but which ever fit that day :slight_smile: the sparkle catches my eye and I see the beauty

Roe, If I were in your position I'd ask my doc for a round of prednisone. (Actually, my doc would suggest it...) It works wonders for inflammation! Hoping you feel better soon.

Hi Roe, I had a flair up in my feet and toes a while back, swollen, hot, incredibly painful... I'm sorry I cant remember what my Rheumy said it was called but he gave me a steroid injection in my arm which he explained would work on all affected joints. It did help. I still have a couple of red, sausage like toes but they arent angry and hot anymore, more like an ache ive learnt to live with. As for my hands I cant type or write for any length of time but I find keeping them warm helps prevent the constant ache. Like many of the ladies that have posted already - I too have become very into making my hands as pretty as possible, I cant wear rings due to the up and down swelling throughout the day but pretty nails appear to be a very good distraction.

Hope you feel better soon x

Put in a good chick flick, sit back and relax! I too have hand issues as well as other joints. I have learned from this site to relax and it will subside. Take your meds, believe in them and do things you can do.

Heat helps a lot sit with them wrapped in a heating pad, or dip them in a wax bath, or just heat up a bowl if dry rice to dip them in. Once they are warm start moving your fingers around open and close your fist, bending and pulling it will help loosen them up and take some of the ache away!

You may be having a flare as my Rheumy told me I had to give mtx at least 3 months before giving up on it. Make sure to let your doctor know as they really do want to hear about this. I started as one who never wanted to bother my doctor, he now gets after me if I don’t let him know what’s going on as they really do want us comfortable if possible.

My doctor told me that whenever you start or stop or change any medication it can cause a flare. It should resolve if not call your doctor back. Don't stop the medication on your own though.

Look for cans that open with a pull tab and invest in an electric jar opener. These things can make life a little easier. As far as pain goes you may have to see a pain management doctor. I did and it made all the difference in the world. Hope you feel better soon!

My body couldnt tolerate that medication at all. I had all the side effects of chemotherapy from it and as a mother of a 7yr old and a full time working graduate student, I couldnt wait for th horror to end. I switched to just the biologics and it made such a wonderful change in my life. There are plenty of other side effects to deal with from them too, but it fit my lifestyle better. Good luck!!!

Hi Roe...I feel your pain! I have had swollen fingers for more that the last year. My Rheumy had me try 3 months of Sulfasalazine and then MTX for 6 months, but at 4 months of it doing absolutely nothing (for me, I have heard that it does work for some other people), I went to her in tears with my fat little sausage fingers and stiff spine and swollen ankles and demanded a biologic. Had my first shot of Humira last night, so we will see how that goes. I can't really tell you that there is much that will help your pain in the long term, however there are a few short term things that do is a medicated cream that my family doctor gave me that has 8% diclofenac in a gel in it and you rub it on your hands. I think Lamb had another magic recipe that was great as well. THe paraffin wax baths I know have helped some (my mom uses them, but I have not tried them myself as I do not have the equipment). Heat feels great on them, but I don't know long term how great it is for the inflammation...but it certainly does help with the pain!!! Good luck to you, I hope you can find some relief. There are pictures of my fat sausage fingers in my profile...they are even fatter now, but hopefully this humira will kick that down! I sincerly hope the MTX works for you...Hand pain is the worst. By the way, the more you use them, the worse the swelling will get....I know this from the personal experience.

My hands were the symptom that started this journey for me about 15 yrs ago. I also had a clerical job (sec’y to a police chief) that I was able to hang on to for 12 yrs. with a variety of interventions and this was before being diagnosed with PsA. Mtx was a later help. So this is what I did: physical therapy for hands and arms. Wax baths were wonderful but so was using a moist heating pad wrapped around both hands with towels on top to keep hands warm but not hot when the heating pad comes off. I cannot stress enough working through the pain to do the exercises

every day, all day, to keep dexterity. I mean, doing whatever exercises you can manage in the morning or anytime during the waking hours. I still can’t do Some things but I can write for a few minutes at a time. I don’t drop dishes or coffee pots etc. as much as I did in the beginning.

Gardening the way I once did is a fond memory But! I can do some digging in sift earth w/padded, ergonomic tools. I worked as a secretary prior to diagnosis and I know it was the p.t., anti-inflammatories and exercise that got me through it. Good luck. Hope I helped you as I have been

helped tremendously through this site, although I am one of the quieter ones. I tune in here

almost everyday just to read and be enlightened and encouraged. I almost forgot! Massage is also key here, whether it is w/manicure or independent, it is one treat you could benefit from. Keep at it.

So sorry to hear! Have you tried changing your diet at all? Gluten, dairy, sugar and alcohol are among the top inflammation yielding foods. It can take a while to feel a difference, but so worthwhile!!!
Good luck!!

I don't know if any of you have tried Voltaren Gel. It can be sold only with prescription and it is quite potent. If and when my hands are screaming in pain, it magicly helps. My thumb cramps some days adding to the regular pain. My Rheumy told me last week to use the Gel also on those days.

If I were you, before I take more steroids orally, I would go locally with the Gel.

Do go and see your doctor or get in contact with your Rhuemy.

I am in a flare right now and this is my sixth day on Prendisone and I am getting relief, not as much as I would like or as fast as I hoped, but I am grateful that I have improved. I now only have this flare in my fingers, the knuckles in my hands and the heals of my hands, my ankles, feet and toes. The pain has gone from my hips, shoulders, neck, ribs, knee and elbow.

I am writing down where my pain is and what level it is so I can see the improvement and this tells me how I am going as sometimes I don't realise how much I am actually improving because I still have pain annoying me. The good thing about pain going is I quickly forget about how bad it was.

I live alone and I keep a pair of pliers in the kitchen to help me open tops of bottles. I have a can opener designed for arthritis and I use this thing that I brought at the hardwear store for opening tins of paint which works on jars which looks like a short bent screwdriver with a triangle handle.

I order my groceries on line and have them delivered. I am resting as much as I can and doing some gentle exercises while sitting in a chair. I have stocked up on DVD's, books and got my crotcheting out to exercise my hands and if I feel up to it I paint a picture. It is important to distract your mind from the pain and do what you can to help yourself feel good to avoid feeling down.

Every time I leave a room I take a look around to see if there is something I can take to another room to put away. While I wait for the kettle to boil I do a little bit in the kitchen and little by little the state of my house improves to an acceptable level and that helps me not become so frustrated with what i can't do.

I am also trying to eat healthy as I feel that helps boost our immune system. Plenty of fruit and vegetables and I avoid processed food with chemical additives and refined sugars or saturated fats. I am learning to prepare quick and easy meals and cook more so I have enough over to freeze to give me a stockpile for when I am not up to cooking.

I wish you well

To open jars, use the good old pop opener to let air in, then twist.

Bella, you and I have a lot in common. I am always looking for ways to make my life comfortable, or livable. You described my life.

To feel myself useful, I volunteer at my church by working in the computer for them. They bring me work home, and I do it in my "leisure" time.

Please keep using your hand, When we are in pain we tend to want to protect the "joint" or not to cause further pain. With arthritis the less you use the joint the more discomfort you will feel. If at all possible get to a heated pool and gently move around in it. Do range of motion exercises. You can look up the american arthritis foundation website and get some great range of motion exercises. Also the AAF has wonderful arthritis pool classes all around the nation. I would try to find one. When I started the classes I could barely move. After 9 months I can barely move If I DO NOT go to the classes. If you cannot get to a heated pool do the ROM exercices at home. Do a few reps then rest and ice. do again. The point is to not let your joints seize up. Winter is always the hardest times for us with Artie. Ice/ Rest/ ROM/ Heat do what feels the best but do not stop moving. Also talk to your doct. about something stronger than Ibuprophen. Naproxen 500 is a great start though if you have it bad you may eventually need something stronger. Keep working with your doctor to get you on enough pain killer to allow you to keep moving as that is the most important thing.

Best of luck!