Update - Help please. I'm in agony and don't know what to do

Update: I've been to see my GP and was told I have acute severe tendinitis and have been signed off work for a week and given naproxen. Still in pain but happy to have a diagnosis and treatment! Thanks for your help and understanding!

Hello lovely people. I don't know what to do and hope anyone here might have some idea about what I am going through.

I haven't got a firm diagnosis yet but probably have osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Had a particular hard week at work (chef in school kitchen) but up until Tuesday actually was almost pain free and quite happy. Then my right wrist and thumb started to ache a bit but with some ibuprofen was quite manageable. By Friday work had calmed down and I got lots of rest yesterday so hoped I'd feel better today. Instead I woke up in agony and even trying to lift my right hand/arm hurts like hell. It seems to me tendons rather than actual joint as it's going from the base of my thumb down my arm. I took a full dose of painkillers ( ibuprofen, paracetamol and codeine phosphate) and got a splint on but I am basically useless. Had husband help me dress and only barely managed the loo by myself. I'm due an mri scan of spine and feet but not heard anything yet and next scheduled appointment with consultant is end of August. I haven't got a Rheims nurse as they said they don't know what I have yet. I'm due back at work tomorrow and just don't know what to do. Shall I try to do things with my left ( like I'm typing now) and have my colleagues help me, hope for it becoming better overnight, go to gp or what? To clarify, I don't seem to have much if any swelling and the site is warm but not really hot. Please help.

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5 Replies

  • Hello, I recall my very first rheumatoid arthritis symptom was excruciating pain down my right arm, couldn't sleep painkillers didn't seem to help it….I guess this could be something similar… Even if you haven't been diagnosed yet, go to your GP, it is not right to be in so much pain and something needs to be done to address it, who knows perhaps your GP can somehow speed up your appointment with the rheumatologist…

    Wishing you all the best.

  • Yes, so go see your GP and talk about more effective pain control as well. Also, don't forget that simple things like ice and heat packs can really help.

    It's very hard at the beginning, and if it is RA you'll need to find a balance between keeping moving and not over-doing it. Easier said than done! My rule of thumb is that if a joint really kicks off I do rest it for 24 hours if I can, and only then start to use it very gently. So you may need to discuss how you handle this with the GP. If it is RA once properly managed you should be back to near normal, so might also be worth discussing with your employer that likely to have a difficult few months, but shouldn't be permanent, and try to get them to understand and be supportive in advance rather than just getting annoyed if you end up having to take odd days off sick.

    If you could attend an appointment at short notice, you could also try to ask the hospital if they have a waiting list of people for cancellations as that could get you seen earlier. But do keep a diary of symptoms in preparation for your appointment.

  • I agree with above, I'd go to your GP and get it written down and you are in the pain you are in. Not good at all. Plenty of rest but movement too to keep the movement. My Rheumy nurse told me that if I need to wear a splint then I should remove every hour and move my fingers and wrist in warm water, like hydrotherapy, which helps. Discuss amytripltaline with your GP as its a very good pain relief and will help you sleep too. I also use paracetamol as a base for my pain relief and then add in tramadol when I need it (a lot atm!) paracetamol works well in combination with stringer opioid pain relief. It is such a pain when you haven't got a full diagnosis yet and you are playing a waiting game but I'd look at whether you can do either light duties tomorrow or take day off to see GP. Keep us posted and gentle hugs.

  • Thanks so much for your replies! As the day has progressed it's gotten a bit better but my fingers are swollen and stiff and I will go and see a gp tomorrow. I'll still try to go to work and do what I can but will request help because I doubt I will be able to do it all. I had a sleep midday which is very unusual for me but might have been my body trying to rest and also the painkillers doing their job. Thanks again, very much appreciate hearing from others as I felt so alone and helpless!

  • If its RA it will probably be worse first thing. And with the painkillers dont stop taking them them just because they start working, it sort of works in a cumulative way. I agree with the suggestions to get to see GP asap and really hope things can get under control. If you work in a school does that mean things ease up soon? That would give you a chance to get on top of whatever it is (hopefully it isnt RA, its no joke). And as you work can you practice pacing yourself? Task, then rest, then next task or bit of a task. Its amazing how much you can get through like that. But being on your feet so much cant be easy.


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