21,763 members25,397 posts

RA and muscle pain

Hi, I'm new to this site so please bare with me! I was diagnosed with RA in 2010 when I was 21. I was put on several medications which worked amazingly well. I went into remission and was off meds for about a year. I then had a flare up and went back on methotrexate which caused havoc so I was put on Sulfasalazine which I was also previously taking. I take less than I used to and I'm not prescribed anything else alongside. My joint pain is noticeable and sometimes agonising but what I'm really struggling with at the moment is severe muscle pain, particularly in my arms. I assume it's linked as I almost always have wrist and finger pain at the same time. I just wondered if anyone else has experienced similar? I can't get a rheumatology appointment until may(!) although I'm going to see the OT tomorrow. If anyone has had a similar experience and has an advice, please let me know! Thanks :)

18 Replies

Hi Becky

Sorry to hear your struggling again. I was diagnosed with RA at age 25 and have been on treatment ever since. I do not understand why you were off treatment for a year unless it was your choice. In me the meds only keep me well if I continually take them. In 2003 I stopped all meds to get pregnant and flared badly. It took a while to get back to wellness again after my son was born.

If you have pain in your arms it may be referred pain coming from your wrists or shoulders. If you can't get to clinic until May I would go see your GP. Are you taking regular pain control? Even if it's just 4 hourly paracetamol it can really help. I also have used ice packs and wheat bags for aches in the past. Might help you?

Mention to OT when you go.

Take care



It was my decision to come off my meds, although I had the support from my rheumatologist.

I take naproxen which takes the edge off but doesn't completely relieve pain.

My husband and I are hoping to try for a baby soon, so I'm worried about what my body will do when I come off the medication for that… I think I'll have to go and see the doctor. Thanks for the advice :)



How wonderful you are planning a baby! I came off methotrexate for 6 months before trying to conceive and used ovulation test kits to try and help me get pregnant quickly. I flared ŵithin 6/7 weeks of coming off mtx so was managed with prednisolone which is perfectly safe in pregnancy. I g



I got pregnant after 4 months and had a little boy who is now 10. I wis


Oops again! Darn fingers!!!! Lol 😤

I wish you well.

KiKi x


Hi funny should post this I am getting the same thing I feel like I have done a really hard gym session and at times can't move my arm it's worse when one particular finger is painful will be interest in what is said on this post

1 like

Me too, exactly like you've described, like you've over done it at the gym


This has happened to me quit frequently over the past year even though I have had RA for over 10 years for the past year I have found that my shoulders often freeze up and cause alot of pain, at first I thought it was because I had left a window open, but that was never the case. I try to keep away from anyone who is smoking because I know that can trigger the causes of the stiffness.


I didnt know that being around a smoker made symptoms worse...thanks for the heads up!


First of all Welcome to the site..I too am new, only joined just over a week ago..

Been living with RA for over 10yrs...and in answer to your question, Yes! I too get muscle pain, and like munchkin, I have recently started to suffer with shoulder stiffness and pain..

I always make a point of asking as many questions as I can to my Rheumy..(take notes at every appointment)

One of my questions was just that..It was explained to me, that with RA, your joints struggle to work efficiently and because of this, other parts of your body tend to try and take the pressure off, mainly your you not only have to deal with the joint pain, but muscle ache/painand of course the tiredness as well.. and unfortunately, as RA, is an Autoimmune disease, your immunes system is weaker at times, which then, will cause other issues with your body..

Everybody has different problems associated with RA and symptoms differ in all of us.

That is why , this group I feel will benefit you and definatley me, as you will get advice regarding most symptoms and/or problems as at least 1 person in this group, will have experianced the same or similar..

Hope this helps..


1 like

Welcome Liz!


That's really interesting and tends to make sense, if only all Rheumy teams were as explanatory as yours. Thanks for sharing


This is go number two, hope my post doesn't disappear again.

What you are feeling may be pain radiating up from your wrist, or radiating down from your shoulder. For me if its my forearm then it's my wrist and when it's my upper arm, it's from my shoulder. This kinda pain that goes beyond, for me is a sign I am about to have a major flare, but this does not mean that you are.

I too was a bit concerned when you mentioned you went off your meds. Remission can be achieved if the proper meds regime and good timeing and lots of other factors fall into place, but even in remission you need to take meds, since it was meads that got you into remission in the first place. If you are not taking meds, even if you feel fine, RA works in the background destroying your joints and can cause none erosion without you feeling anything. I guess I was really surprised your Rhuumy supported this. Either way, it's sounds like your RA is becoming active and waiting till May is too long. Definitely seek help from your GP, at least get some pain control, a NSAID or something until you can get in to see your Rhuemy.

1 like



I was diagnosed last summer. My first symptom was a complete frozen shoulder whereby I could not move my arm at all without being in intolerable pain and just lying in bed was so painful. GP diagnosed shoulder tendonitis treated with pain killers, rest and ice compresses. I recovered after a couple of days and then my fingers swelled and became painful and my right pinky was blue over the joint (bruise like). So back to GP and blood test confirmed RA sero positive and then referred to Rheumy clinic. A week later both my elbows froze with the tendonitis shooting pain into the arm muscles - I had a houseful of visitors at the time, so got plenty of help with the house and garden chores ( always looking for the positive). Two weeks later my left wrist became painful causing a shooting pain down my forearm and I was unable to move my ring and pinky finger without making the pain worse. You could actually visibly see the swollen wrist tendon (3 inches long from the wrist crease down the right half of the forearm).

So in answer to your question, the inflammation can affect not only the joint but other connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments, bursa and other structures related to these especially the muscles as they are joined to the bones via the tendons. Anti inflammatory pain killers, rest and ice compresses help to ease this. Once I started the DMARDs, I have not had any severe episodes of tendonitis and frozen shoulder and elbows again, but still do get muscle aches in my arms when my joints are playing up but nothing like I was before starting the treatment. Just need to find the right combo of drugs and hope that I am one of the lucky ones that achieve remission. It might help if you keep a diary of your symptoms and take this along to your Rheumy appointments.


I'm sorry you were diagnosed so young - but I get so excited when I hear that I'm not the only one... and you too kikideelilli!

As you see from my name, I am just 20 years old.

My shoulder muscles have been really sore for a couple years. I never really attributed it to RA, but now I'm thinking it makes sense!

Good luck with everything - I am also kinda anxious about going off of methotrexate to have children. I come from a large family (7 children- 6 girls and a boy!) and hope to have one of my own.

We'll see how that goes :)

I heard that RA symptoms pretty much disappear during pregnancy, but its before and after that could be a hurdle.

All the best!



I too, have this with PSA. I am never sure if it is the joints or the extreme fatigue causing my muscles to be in overdrive! The stiffness is awful too! It does make sense that it is everything else compensating for what really doesn't want to work properly! I hope that you feel better soon!!!


Yes I have severe upper arm pain when I get a flare. I am a late comer to this disease at 69 so feel realy lucky. I realized that something wasn't right all my life but my upper arms have always been a problem.


You may also like...