Does this sound like RA?

Hi all

On Boxing Day 2016 I suddenly developed pins and needles, numbness and tingling in both hands, fingers, wrists and feet. It came on very quickly. Followed a couple of days after by joint pain and stiffness. It affects my sleep and I'm worried now.

I also have Sjögren's Syndrome and Hashimoto's thyroid issues.

I'm concerned that these symptoms are RA.

I will see my GP and ask for a blood test but I'm freaked out by the sudden onset of these new symptoms😕

Thankyou.

Tracy

12 Replies

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  • Hi , please check your vit d and vit B levels. Deficiency in either leads to such sensation.

  • Thankyou Padram. I'll get my levels checked.

  • This sounds like neuropathy - most likely an inflammatory neuropathy that is a component of your sjogrens diagnosis. Neuropathy isn't commonly seen with RA, unless in the case of vasculitis, as seen with long-term, erosive RA, but would not come on quickly after a short period of joint pain. If symptoms persist I would recommend seeing a neurologist that is familiar with autoimmune mediated neuropathy. If you have neuropathy + a sjogrens diagnosis, you can typically be put on a round of prednisone, or trial IVIg to stop the neuropathy.

  • I also want to note that this could also very well be swelling or inflammation pressing on large fiber nerves, but if symptoms are bilateral, that is less likely. If you had this pain and stiffness in BOTH wrists/hands and BOTH feet/ankles, it is possible. It could very well pass, but like I said above, if it persists, I would go down the avenue of looking for neuropathy.

  • Spot on Karilynn85. The small fibre neuropathy (SFN) arrived for me at the same time as RA symptoms but was mild and I assumed they were part of the same thing. Then, after being diagnosed and treated for RA, the bilateral joint pain and stiffness eased away after a few years but the SFN got worse and worse as I came off DMARDs for severe intolerance reasons.

    Since then it has been my main problem along with tendinitis and GI problems - and was the reason a new rheumy decided I should have a lip biopsy - which was 100% positive for Sjogrens. I'm under rheumatology and Neurology and over the years my tiny nerve fibres have died off in their droves so the pain is much less but I'm quite numb. I can't help thinking that if I'd been correctly diagnosed then I'd have been allowed to try the immunesuppressant I'm on now or IViG and the neuropathy might have slowed down and I would have seen less irreversible damage.

    But Primary Sjogrens can mimic RA very often with bilateral synovitis so it's an easy misdiagnosis - or it can be secondary to RA, but the more active and severe disease. And often neuropathy is the worse symptom, starting well before the dry eyes and mouth. Raynauds can also join in and affect the temperatures of extremities too.

    Maybe the RA type bilateral pain is actually a symptom of your established Sjogrens? Im Hypothyroid too - this often goes with Sjogrens as the disease attacks the thyroid.

  • Thanks twitchytoes. I've got Primary Sjögren's too. What a minefield it is to negotiate and manage these autoimmune disorders.

  • Pins & needles must be investigated, don't rely on self diagnosis and unprofessional opinions. Irritated and trapped nerves can go from mild to extremely painful symptons but if nerve problems are not addressed and they becone damaged it can become permanent..

  • Thanks juneann. I will see my doctor about it next week.

  • It doesn't to me, RA means swelling/pain in joints/burning sensation in joints but not tingling or numbness as far as I know. See what others say I think.

  • don't freak but see your gp for proper diagnonsis. Breathe deep, relax and take care xx

  • I want to also mention, there is a very specific antibody test for RA called anti-ccp (Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide) and you might want to ask to look for them if you are suspecting RA. Not finding them doesn't mean you don't have RA (in the case of a seronegative RA) but if you did have them, they are pretty specific to RA. I am more inclined to think that your pain and stiffness is stemming from sjogrens though. As twitchy said, aspects of sjogrens mocks RA.

    Autoimmunity is a mixed bag of fun (not) but primary sjogrens can cause both the pain and the neuropathy symptoms, where as RA typically would be just the pain unless swelling was compressing a nerve.

    I have seropositive RA (anti ccp antibodies) AND small fiber neuropathy. I do not have sjogrens (ruled out by all testing) nor do I have MS, lupus, or hashis, and my neuropathy is completely unrelated to my RA. It's just a separate autoimmune malfunction at this point. Just goes to show you that the immune system can cherry pick different systems to go after without diagnosable antibodies.

  • Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Please see my response to Granamie.

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