Is this RA or just overdoing it?

Hi all just wondered if those of you with only RA know whether the kind of stiffness and ache I always used to get after exercise might be RA? Or have I just been overdoing it - or getting stressed about this rheumy apt cancellation subconsciously?

The pain is not acute like previous flare-ups but everything aches and feels deep heat and stiffness in all joints - especially side and balls of feet and both shoulders. It won't go away and I feel like I've run a marathon but I definitely haven't. And the shoulders keep waking me up at night as hard to get comfy - just sore though not full on pain - could this be RA? TTx

21 Replies

  • PS it feels more muscular than joints although it includes joint tenderness too?

  • It could be ra as after exercise pains ease off. I ache in my joints and surrounding areas. Are you having any treatment for ra? By the way your describing things it could certainly be ra.


  • Thanks Sylvi yes I'm on the MTX 15mgs - haven't had RA for long enough to understand it's subtle twists and turns yet but it just feels like a mild all over ache really and is much worse in the mornings by p.m it's much fainter. Normally my RA is quite specific and just hurts so this is a new one and I did just wonder. TTx

  • Yes. RA starts the day at a high level then subsides. OA is the opposite. According to my OT.

  • Tilda, I was diagnosed the same month as you and, like you, have most trouble with my hands and wrists. I am not well versed on the nature of ra pain or it's various manifestations but I think I know exactly what you are describing! Someone on another site once described the pain as "acidy" and that's how it feels to me - all my muscles ache at times and the pain is deep and hot but it certainly doesn't feel the same as, say, backache. This is the type of pain that truly gets me down and I'm sad to say that, for me, it has become a daily occurrance. It was for this reason, along with my usual swelling, that the nurse saw me in such a state on Thursday and agreed that something must be done. I have had a steroid injection but it has made me feel even worse so far though I am trying to stay positive and am hoping for relief. I was told to get in touch if it doesn't work and will do so on Monday so it must be hit and miss as to whether it works. I am sorry to hear that new and bewildering symptoms are cropping up for you, especially as I know that you don't have the "immediate" access to help that some of us enjoy. This sort of muscular involvement has caused me so much despair and I have been "Googling" like mad to try and work out if it could be Fybromyalgia but I am just confusing myself even more - I just want the pain to stop - as do we all! I hope you feel better soon and I hope that you can continue to class the aches as "mild" - will you ring your GP if it doesn't improve? I can't recall what pain meds you use but Tramadol is the only thing that takes the edge of this type of pain for me. Sorry to go on for so long but I remember how upset i was when this type of muscular involvement kicked in and wanted to offer you some support.

    Julie x

  • Julie that is all really interesting re acidy pain - that does some up the usual RA pain for me but this is more like being really stiff and sore after exercise or the beginnings of flu without the head stuff. The strange thing is i can carry on doing all my exercises and it doesn't seem to get worse - in fact it appears to improve in the immediate aftermath of exercise but then just comes back with a vengeance as soon as I stop moving about.

    Yes I was secretly worrying about Fibro too as am aware this is more general and muscular so Scouser's rheumy nurse's advice is extra helpful thanks to you both I feel a little less like I'm going nuts now! TTx

  • Sorry I meant to add that I had a steroid injection and later oral steroid last year and both times I got quite bad / mood swings the first week and also found that initially the pain got significantly worse before it started to improve. It was as if when the swelling went away all the stuff that cushioned me had been stripped off and I was just left with the pain if that makes any sense? But then after a week or so it did get much, much better and the mood swings settled down. It's put me off steroids a bit though - though we are all so different of course in our reactions to drugs. TTx

  • Tilda, just wanted to say that I know the fluey feeling without the head stuff so well - it's one of the things that I mentioned to the nurse on Thursday (I have fevers with it too). I am going to research exercises for my hands as I have not been given any advice so far and I'm sure it must help. I do hope you have a better week ahead :) - I wish it for all of us!

    Julie x


    Did you see this when I put it on a recent blog Julie? These are the ones my physio gave me anyway. And to help prevent ulnar drift that I've got slightly she said to put hands face down on a surface (could be a thigh even) with fingers splayed out and then walk them in one at a time towards the thumb to counteract the deviation towards the ulnar joint (below little finger). These have helped me a lot but I find if I don't do my exercises everyday I get the most terrible stiffness and ache so just have to keep them going in order to remain reasonably mobile. TTx

  • Yes thanks Scouser it does. I'm feeling really low about not seeing the rheumy this month and thought it might be all a product of my mind - especially as father-in-law is dying at a distance and my OH is constantly on edge and I can't think about me too much just now.

  • Hi again Scouser, we must have been posting at the same time. Your answer to Tilda has helped me too so thanks for that! I have had an awful pain down the outside of my left leg and your description makes so much sense to me now.

    Julie x

  • Tilda, can you get an appointment to see your GP as you are waiting for an appointment with your rheumy team? I try not to bother my GP with my RA but sometimes it's necessary. (Even if they only give you help for the pain)


  • Thanks - the Father IL situ is really pretty grim and my OH isn't too fond of any of his family to be honest but I actually think that makes it much harder for him in some ways and he's always tense just now.

    I will see my GP tomorrow afternoon having had my MTX blood tests in the morning. Part of my concern is that I have no choice but to regularly bother my GP and my OT and my physio for splints, drugs and advice when none of them are at all expert. I think others up here with RA - and I know of people rather than knowing them personally - must just get on with it without too much thought and I wish I could too - perhaps I will just get used to it eventually. But while coming here and getting info, support and advice is really great, it also shows me what others are getting that I'm not and that's a little unsettling for an impatient, proactive person like me! I don't need pain meds as got plenty in the drawer. I've been going to one or other of my two GPs every two weeks when I have bloods taken recently because I feel I need reassurance and have questions I really want to ask. But I think it must be a bit of a pain for them because they don't seem to have many answers for me as they admit they aren't rheumy experts. Just wish I didn't have to keep bothering them but they are all I've got. Sick of me having to do all the work and ask for this test or pester people to find out more about ulnar drift and get nighttime splints made? I would just love to not have to think about being pushy but instead to know it's all in someone else's capable hands and I can just forget about all this stuff from month to month and get proper advice from someone who really knows about RA for once but you guys do that really so I'll quit my moaning. Sorry to vent my frustration so much! TTx

  • hi tilda,

    i hope your aches have subsided.

    i find i get the muscular aches and pains alot also.

    i think it is muscle damage from previous flares :(

    supposidly light exercise, muscle strenghtening strectches/ exercises and massage helps!

    hope your good x

  • I'm sorry to hear about your fluey generalised ache. I think this must be ra and to do with build up ofcertain things in the cells. I find that a combination of rest and exercise is best to shift it. Sometimes though there's like a curtain of fatigue that drops and you know youhave to find somewhere to rest. It happened to me at somerset house yesterday and we had to struggle across Waterloo bridge back to the car park. Do you think you could

    make a curtain of fatigue? I'm with my father who is sleeping and I'm trying to do some drawing which is where the idea has come from.

    David Jones, I'm copying a drawing he did of trees

    Hope family matters can improve somehow it's more difficult at a distance I'm sure


  • That sounds fascinating Cathie re a curtain of fatigue - or a quilt perhaps? Do you know the work of Suzie MacMurray I wonder? Might be your thing too (I'm a fan). I'm thinking that lots of our current work is about RA and managing pain - although for OH it's about other things so perhaps the secret of really good art is that it can be applied or disregarded or open to interpretation as the viewer finds it? I have just returned from dog walking and made a lentil soup followed by taking middle son for maths coaching - and all this after at least three terrible nights caused by teens and aches - oh and a good night out at friends last night too so not all bad. Good luck with London, my home city. Sun's out at last here and wind has finally dropped although I'm too tired to do much about it now!


  • London was yesterday today it's semirural Wiltshire tomorrow back home. It's sitting and drawing while elderly father sleeps

    Yes a quilt of fatigue sounds more work is more aboutescape


  • Thanks for the website lovely work I'll look properly when I get home c xx

  • Hi Laney - no they haven't subsided - just seem to tick away without making me feel I should take painkillers but never quite feeling great or pain free if that makes sense? I'm getting this deep heat in joints and around limbs too which I haven't had for ages. in arms, shoulders and elbows in particular - the left one is particularly not quite right and has a strange lump next to the elbow bone about the size of a large boil - weird.

    Mmm massage - now that sounds nice but I can't bring myself to ask OH as he's in a bit of a gloom just now poor thing. Feel I should really be giving him one more but wrists and fingers wouldn't cope really as have no strength these days. It's a relief to know that it is the RA just idling away like a car rather than something new to think about at least. And it really isn't terrible pain or even pain - just twingeing in the ankles, feet and upper body that's all I will just ignore it now I know that I'm not the only one who gets this. Hope you're well post holiday and still doing good with the Simponi? TTx

  • morning Tilda, if I over do it I feel it like you describe after exercise, one day at work I was up and down stairs all day and suffered for 4 days, back togym last week after not being there for 10days, stiff the next day but back to normal again shortly.

    Could it be muscle weakness due to being in pain for such a long time and now that you have been feeling better, over doing it? then again, you always seem to be so busy! xx

  • Hi Williby. I don't think it was the exercise or muscle weakness because I hadn't actually done that much compared previous weeks and anyway all my exercises were ones I've done for months and months. I just spent the 2nd half of last week and the weekend feeling low, achy and stiff for no obvious reason.

    Feeling so much better yesterday and today though - aches and pains have lifted and so has the low mood. This morning I went in early for my blood tests and the practice nurse, who is also an old friend, said "you've lots absolutely tons of weight even since I last saw you?" and quizzed me about how I'd done it to try and coax some of her other patients to try the same methods as me. It was very gratifying I can tell you! Then I bossed her and told her I wanted my ESR taking as well as the mtx tests so will find out from my GP in about 45 mins if the raise dose might be working on that score or not. I will ask him for a plan B re not seeing the rheumy and what happens if the RA gets worse suddenly as don't want further damage to joints - my hands are bad enough!

    Then I saw the physio and she had found me better splints that are black neopreme and she heated them and moulded them to fit me. They are my hand shaking deterents. Also this morning a new job was advertised which OH heard about on the radio - one day a week and well paid for that and not art related at all. I'm all over-excited as would love this job so the thought of going for it is giving me a spring in my step - although it's completely out of my zone of experience - ahhh!

    But if I do get interviewed (wouldn't be until May) I will at least be able to sport my new black splints as hand shaking deterrent!

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