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any ideas how i can ease the pain from Ra?

diagnosed with ra 3 years ago.prescribed methotrixate which i gave up on due to feeling lousy all the time,last 2 weeks aching/hurting the most ive ever.last 2 weeks wrist feels likes its broken when leant on knuckles swollen ,knees/ankles very sore,also achilles heels in pain,is this all to do with ra?seems to be nobody to talk to who knows what im going through with the pain,hate not sleeping at night very lonely me and the tv all night

13 Replies

Hello there bigstu,

I hardly feel qualified to answer as I've only been diagnosed for a couple of weeks but the pain you describe sounds like what I've experienced so far. I'm not in much pain at all now as long as I'm careful - but if I put pressure on my wrist it feels as if it is broken or going to break - that's exactly how I describe it, too.

But quite apart from my experience, even a quick trawl thru' peoples' blogs suggests that what you are suffering sounds just like what others are going through with RA.

One thing I would say is that the provisional diagnosis of my illness is Psoriatic Arthritis which is basically very similar to RA. I've researched Psoriatic Arthritis quite a lot & I think that Achilles heel pain is one of the specific symptoms of that condition. But don't trust me on that - probably goes for RA, too.

You sound as if you are feeling very alone with all this at the moment & I'm wondering what your Rheumy thinks you should do. 'Cos if the Methotrexate doesn't work, surely you need something else? I'm on steroids - Prednisolone - and am going to start the Methotrexate tomorrow. (Probably why I'm up so late, it's a big step & I'm not too happy about it.) I've noticed that a lot of people in this group find steroid tablets or injections very helpful - PeteC blogged yesterday about using them when he has a flare.

Well, you've been battling this thing longer than I have so I've probably been telling you what you know already! Perhaps my earnest attempts to be helpful will give you a laugh?

Hope that pain eases up and the loneliness too & that you get some kip. And I hope the doctors come up with some answers for you. All the best to you.

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Hi, it's a long night when you cant sleep because of the pain. Hope by now (06.00) you have managed to get some sleep.

A lot of the aches and pains are probably due to coming off of the mtx. you should see your GP or rheumy team and get an alternative as soon as you can. (Even a call to your emergency cover GP might be fruitful - as it's the weekend) Meantime, ice packs help me - others find heat packs helpful (or hot water bottles) - you have probably tried these if not give either or each a go. Possibly go to or ring a chemist and see if the can advise you what painkillers you can take, (dont know if you are on any other meds so I cant suggest anything). Soaking my hands in cold water helps my fingers and wrists and wrapping cold wet towels round my knees and feet (wrists and fingers too) has also helped me

when I haven't been able to sleep.

I was diagnosed back in 1993 so I've had many nights like you - screaming is not always possible when everyone else is asleep!

Hope this helps.


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Like the others I think that the sooner you speak to your rheumy team or the GP the better. You don't say whether you have pain killers, if you do, take the prescribed dose whilst waiting till you can better help. If not as Judi said go to the emergency out of hours chemist - they should be able to help with over the counter pain killers. Hope that you feel better soon. Wendy x


Hi bigstu, I feel for you. I have been diagnosed a year and I was like you initially, at one point I couldnt feed myself. I sympathise completely. Take paracetamol 4 hourly and an anti-inflammatory (naproxen or similar) as well as a good painkiller like tramadol. This will dull the pain, so get this organised monday with your gp as a matter of urgency. The gp should also prescribe some oral steroids with such inflammation. Chase up the rheumy appointment to get seen asap before the pain spirals even more out of control.

In a year, following good treatment, I am now pain free and can lead a normal life. I have the occasional flare, but I can cope now. There will be another DMARD to try so dont give up ok!!

Good luck and take care but start hassling the docs for appropriate medication ok.

Pet x


You don't say if you have been given another medication instead of Methotrexate. If you have not then PLEASE go back to you GP and get an appt to see the consulant ASP. It is important to get medication for RA. You wll only get worse. Also your GP should prescribe pain relief meanwhile.


Hi bigstu, I agree with magglen. I know these drugs are lousy but they do work. It's just a case of trial and error until you find the one that works for you. If you've read my profile then you'll know I've had this for almost 40 years and when I was 1st diagnosed there was nothing available compared to the therapies there are today. Consequently, I have extensive joint damage. Try and persevere with it. I know it's hard. Go and see your GP tomorrow and see if he can give you some stronger painkillers to tide you over.



Methotrexate is horrible, I can relate. I'm on it with enbrel and I have only recently come to terms with the idea that the sickness it gives me is better than the disease. There are other options though, talk to your Rheumy about other medications, I tried a few that didn't work for me but they might work for you. Ask about enbrel, I'm not sure how bad you have to be before they will give that to you but you sound pretty bad to me, since I started taking it my life turned around. Tell them you can't stand the idea of methotrexate if they try to convince you, utlimatley your treatement is your decision. doctors can forget that some times you have to remind them.

I hear you about the lonelyness to, it's a hard thing to go through, make sure you talk to your GP about your mental health too it's just as important and will help you to get better if you are in the right frame of mind.

for now get some anti inflametories that will help with the swelling and ease the pain somewhat but it's not a long term fix.

I used to take some pain meds before bed to help me sleep but it doesn't always work, if it becomes a serious problem for you make sure you stress that to the doctors and talk about ways to help you sleep.

I wish you the best of luck. It will get better, hang in there.


I'd also like to urge you to see your Rheumatologist if you are not on a drug specifically to control and damp down the progress of your RA.

Quite apart from the pain caused by the inflammation, if it left uncontrolled RA can do no end of damage to your joints and other organs. It is usually treated with a cocktail of drugs: DMARDs (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) of which Methotrexate is only one - these damp down or slow down the progress of the disease; NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatories) help damp down the inflammation and painkillers to help with the pain.

When you find the appropriate DMARD or two, for it might be a combination that you need, then the likelihood is that you will need fewer anti-inflammatories and painkillers. More importantly you will be able to sleep and enjoy life again.

Apologies if you are already aware of this. I have given below a link to the NRAS website to the page which lists the various medications available. On that page there are links to other information on pain management etc.

If you'd like to talk with someone about the drug options the NRAS Helpline is very helpful 0800 298 7650 but do see your Rheumatologist soon if you are not on any DMARD.

I was diagnosed with RA about 36 years ago and apart from a few wobbles when a change of drug was needed I have managed to live a reasonably full life.

I hope it won't be too long before your pain is eased. Best wishes.

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Hi, I agree with everyone here, as I was in your situation just a few weeks ago, had to push for a steroid injection last week which has now kicked in and I feel so much better I am waiting for my Rheumy appt to be brought forward from Aug but haven't got that yet, But like someone else said paracetamol + ibruprofen and possible tramadol on a regular basis untill you get a DMARD I still am not on MTX as it made me feel awful and I still had pain, but I am not on anything else either, but after reading what everyone on this site says to preserve your joints we do need to be on something, they don't promise to get you painfree straight away but we all live in hope. hope all these blogs are helping, it done me the world of good. all the best....


I am hoping you have taken some advice and are feeling a little better.

When I was first ill I couldnt sleep either, and spent many a night in a padded recliner chair with a tens machine strapped to me( it had a timer). I coulsnt get into bed. With the right medication and it can take a while things can get a lot better, amitryptyline is good for pain and will help you sleep too, do have a chat To Gp re pain/ sleep if you have a wait to see a rheumatologist x


I agree mtx is horribble. It makes me go so sleepy and spaced out the day and the day after i take it. It has also meant my teeth have crumbled and also a piece a jaw bone has broken off and worked it's way to the surface.


Hi- I'm so sorry for your pain- isolation & constant battle..

It is an invisible demon!!!

- anyway there is a phone line you can call for advise through the ARC.. Arthritis research campaign..

When I was at my lowest I called them for a chat.

I felt so alone and isolated- my marriage had ended & without my daughter I honestly don't think I'd be here today.

Please talk to someone about how you are feeling- get some advice/support.. Knowledge is power! You really have a battle ahead of you with finding the right treatment but you will get there.

It seems like you'll never be 'well' but you will... Believe me..

The best relief for me was water.. Hot Epsom salt baths/hot shower to relax the muscles..

I used to swim... Even 1 length...then sit in the steam room/jacuzzi.

Your body is fighting massive amounts of inflammation - that's why you are so tired all the time! I used to go to bed at 6-30pm-

It's so important to sleep.

I hope you are on the right path soon-

Take care


I'm sorry your feeling down I know those feeling of feeling very bone in your body is broken and I feel like I've run a Marthathon

I'm on methotrexate and plaquenil and foci acid. I know you really won't eel lik moving at this point I really understand but going fora swim an a sauna and your local baths really makes me feel better the water massages and loosens up , it's only and idea but for me it really helps to keep moving when I'm al achy wish you better xx


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