Ouch

First day back at work after a 2 week break and I have woken in night with terrible hand and wrist pain. What can I do? I haven't had my first appointment with Rheumatologist yet so not even sure what I have?

Does being active actually make things worse. When I was off I tried to do very little but my symptoms were still getting gradually worse.

Do my symptoms sound like Ra?

Mainly stiffness and pain in wrists,bicep one ankle, In the opposite leg I have a swollen and stiff knee. My tendons seem to hurt more than joints ( but at this moment I can't really tell, so painful) and fatigue.

I am a self employed hairdresser, what can I do? 😢

21 Replies

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  • I want you to understand that you are not alone in this confusing time. I understand your pain and fear of the unknown. I wish I was able to give you the answers that you are looking for to put your mind at ease... The only advice I can give you is to take anti inflamatories and ice your swollen joints.

    When is your rheumatoligist appointment? I live in Canada and when I am not able to see my rheumatoligist I go to the hospital and they give me a steriod injection. This has helped me out alot.

    I wish you peace and a good night sleep.

    Take care,

    Sue

  • Hi, Yes I am on Naproxen from docs, I am sure my symptoms worsened after taking them, my knee swelled up a week after? meant to do the opposite! Perhaps that was going to happen anyway?

    I was born in Canada 🍁, Toronto but my parents moved to England when I was 2 so not much of an accent now.

    My appointment isn't till 28 th and have been preparing some things to say.

    I have a suspicion of Lyme also as I had a tick (or spider) bite a few years ago so I will question home on that too.

    Thanks for your advice x

  • Funny (in a peculiar not amusing way!) - I had my first day back at work after a 2 week break yesterday too, and I also woke last night with the worst aching I've had for ages.

    What you describe might be RA, or it might not. Unfortunately, you may not get quick answers about exactly what it is: several rheumatological conditions have symptoms that overlap, and unless you have clear blood test results, it can take time to work out what's going on. Also, it's possible to have several things going on at once, which confuses the matter. I'm newly-diagnosed after several years of uncertainty. If you can, research as much as possible - not just about RA but also spondyloarthritis, repetitive strain injuries, enthesitis, hypermobility syndrome...

    Practically, you could try some of the following:

    - Thumb or wrist splints;

    - Knee support bandages;

    - Some knee-strengthening exercise, like swimming;

    - Talk to your GP about NSAIDs if ordinary over-the-counter painkillers aren't enough;

    - Ask your GP or rheumatologist for referrals to occupational therapy and physiotherapy. The OT will advise you about splints and other aids (maybe special scissors?) and the physio may be able to give you exercises that will help your wrists and/or knee;

    - Think about ways you could slightly change the movements you make or how you work? For example, could you use a stool and/or sit down more often? Could you put down the scissors and stretch your fingers more often? Do you need to raise customers a bit higher so you don't need to stoop? Could you change your working hours to allow yourself shorter days or a longer lunch-break, to get more rest?

    Most of us have to experiment a bit to find the things that help us most, and that are practically possible... Good luck! :)

  • Like the other have said it may take a while to get a diagnosis and it could be a number of conditions. When you get home try soaking in a warm to hot bath for half an hour with some epsom salts in the bath and before you start to do anything around the house take time out to rest and unwind( i am not saying this will cure your aches and pains,but it might go a long way to easing them) You say your a hairdresser so it will be big stain on your hands and feet and legs,have you thought about support tights for your legs.go to the chemist and see what they reccomend.

    Before you go to your rheumy appointment,keep a diary of your aches and pains,eg; where it hurts and how it feels,when it is at its worse and what you were doing at the time. Also put down how it makes you feel as well as depression goes hand in hand with the diseases we have,so it might be worth putting it down. Also write down what you have taken for your pains as well as it will help the dr dtermine what to give you and also whether it helped or made you feel worse. In other words write down anything that you have had had that was unusual to you.

    Best of luck when you see your heumy and remember if you have any query and you think it is silly we have been there and asked the same silly questions and therer will be someone on here who will be able to answer you.xxxxxx

  • Thanks for your advice, Funny enough I have been living a mile from Epsom they don't produce salt anymore.

    I have trouble getting in and out of the bath, feel like old dear and I am not 50 yet!

    I am not too depressed ( yet) but I have had the most stressful few of years and I think is impacting on my body 😞

    Thanks for your kindness

  • OMG. Epsom salts actually come (or came) from a place called Epsom! That is very cool!! :) Not to be trivial, but thanks for that random fact!

    Definitely take it easy as much as you can. Maybe try to schedule a few minutes between clients or run to the back to massage your hands/wrists/feet or do range of motion exercises while colour is setting... You really can't just push through the pain but need to give your body a break now and again and let it know you're on its side.

    The suggestions of winding down after work are good ones. If you cannot manage the bath without difficulty, try a hot water bottle/heating pad, dim lights, soothing music - you could even try a body scan (maybe this one?

    And don't be afraid to ask for help! Gentle hugs and good luck to you.

  • Oh weird. I didn't realize the link would embed in my message.

  • My experience is that exercise lessens the pain,but must be done on regular basis. Until u get a diagnosis and meds from Dr u must rely on over the counter meds such as tylenol, Ibuprophen, or aleve , using a heating pad and topical creams such as bengay and emu oil products such as Walmarts blue emu.

  • I have always been very active aerobics, yoga, spinning, swimming but I find now even some gentle exercise is wiping me out and making my symptoms a bit worse. Very frustrating.

    I live in the UK and don't know some of those products I am on Nsaids from the doc. Not sure if they are affective at all. I have started adding supplements to my diet, fish oil, magnesium, multivitamin to start.

    I really think I should start a food diary. I will make this my new years resolution!

  • You should make a "You" diary and include everything - what you're eating & when, how you're feeling energy wise, what exercise you're able to manage and whether you feel better or worse afterwards, and all of the aches you have each day. You might be able to review weekly to try to ascertain connections between diet and soreness/inflammation, or use it to be able to tell your rheumy what your symptoms are and how they have gotten worse or moved around over the past month.

    Sometimes it's easy to focus on our hurts rather than noticing improvements. Like for me, I still felt "in flare" until I realized that I was no longer struggling with the toothpaste cap or shampoo bottle. When I realized I could once again do those things without thinking about how I'd do them, I realized I must be better and started to act better, rather than focusing on the one finger that still wasn't straight, or the wedding ring that still wouldn't (won't) fit...

  • Thanks. I will definitely try and compile what I eat and how I feel.

    I have seemed to have had increased symptoms in the last 2 months.

    I am not sure about 'flares'

    At the moment seems to be pretty consistent not really having any good days unfortunately.

    But trying to stay calm and am taking rest when I can.

  • I don't even know what a flare is. So far the only "flare" I've had lasted 12 months. Good luck to you!

  • I do feel for you, as others say it's hard to get a definitive diagnosis as symptoms do overlap. I must have been so lucky as I saw my GP on the Tuesday I was in tears, saw the Rheumatologist on the Monday. I had X-rays, blood tests and a steroid injection and an appointment for two weeks later. Very efficient and quick, I live in Scotland. Fingers crossed it all gets sorted out for you x

  • I am hoping the Rheumatologist can diagnose me quickly. So I can know what I am dealing with and get treatment.

    It's not knowing that is frustrating.

  • I cannot imagine how you must feel, I was fortunate & only had symptoms for less than a month before I saw my GP & another fortnight when I had a firm diagnosis & on meds. My thoughts would be whatever the cause you have inflammation that seems to have worsened with more use of the specific joints. I would see your GP, explain how you are & that the naproxen isn't helping (it didn't do much for me), he may be able to prescribe something else or additional pain relief, often the two together work better.

    Other than that rest when you can, sounds easy though not so in reality but it will help.

    Oh, a few days before your Rheumy appointment stop taking whatever your GP has prescribed, NSAID (naproxen) & pain relief, you really need to be free of anything that could make inflammation & you need med free baseline results for him to diagnose accurately & decide which meds (& dose) he prescribes. It was the best advice my GP gave me though I didn't think so those few days, necessary evil & all that!

    Do keep in touch & I hope things don't worsen.

  • Thanks good advice . I have ( I think) had symptoms fir a long time but put them down to many other things.

    I did however question one Gp if my various issues were related and he dismissed this which delayed things by months! If he had sent me for a blood test I am sure I wouldn't of got to this painful stage 😞. I think he thought I was being a hypochondriac?

    I am seeing my new Gp next week shall I ask for blood tests and perhaps xray( bad knee) before my Rheumatologist appointment? If so shall I stop the Naproxen soon?

  • Wrist problems can be aggravated by the way you sleep. I the past I have found it useful to use a wrist support when sleeping as it prevents you getting your wrist strained by the way you sleep. There are two types, simple elastic supports and those with metal braces normally used for carpal tunnel. I have found that my RA caused carpal tunnel symptoms and got relief from the wrist supports. I have used both types. for the simpler type I suggest the ones which have a hole for the thumb and wrap round the wrist like a bandage and are secured by velcro. I have used the Thermoskin brand with success.

  • I may try supports, good idea. I don't know what I do in my sleep to make them so painful?!

  • Hi Millie I too was a mobile hairdresser, started in my feet my arches then my wrist and hands started playing up! Shoulder would stiffen but all would go away and come back again! ... Had a diagnosis of RA but bloods dismissed this first! So had blood test when hand were claw like!!!!...... Then had rheumatologist who I see regularly.

    Good luck!! ... I'm sure it has something to do with products seeping into blood stream as I often didn't wear gloves!!(no proof of this!) but makes me wander? Xx

  • Hi It's difficult to know what's what after many years of hairdressing I put things down to repetitive strain etc. I had a op for a frozen shoulder 2 years ago (after 2 years of agony😞) This worked well but have had tendon issues for years in arms feet mainly.

    When you say playing up what do you mean? What kind of symptoms?

    Never thought about the chemical connection but I have always worn gloves as I had dermatitis.

  • Hi Millie

    For me it started in my feet my arches would ache!( put this down to hairdressing!)

    Then my shoulder would freeze and could hardly lift! That went, then hands would ache! ( put it down to hairdressing!!)

    My hands would be stiff on awakening! All different all at different times!

    As said before was diagnosed when blood test was taken when hand was claw like and then told I had RA! Gutted! As all I knew was to use my hands!

    * claw like ( stiff achy felt like I had flu in hands!!)

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