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Trapped nerve

Just developed ra and will be starting tablets when I decide best day to start them. Only received them yesterday after meeting with the consultant for the second time but late yesterday I started to have muscle spasms in the top of my left arm and this morning i have had to miss work because i couldnt lift my arm to shower. This is a common problem i keep getting over the last few years but didn't mention it to the doctor because to be honest I hadn't had it for a few months. Does anyone else get this, feels like a trapped nerve and is it a symptom of ra ? Hope you are all enjoying the sun and I look forward to reading your replys.

12 Replies

Hi Merlin - welcome to the site. I can't help you on the trapped nerve front - I did have something that sounded similar last year in my shoulders and upper arms but it's long since gone thankfully. The person I generally ask when things like this crop up is my physio because she seems to know everything. Have you been referred to a physio yet? If not you should ask your GP to refer you asap.

I do know RA can affect muscle and soft tissue as well as joints so it would be really good if you could get an answer and some exercises to help with this problem too. Otherwise do you have a rheumy nurse who you could speak to perhaps? If you are starting Sulphasalazine or Methotrexate then you will need to have frequent blood tests to monitor the effects of these drugs so perhaps you could ask your GP or rheumy nurse then? Tilda x


Hi Merlin

I would agree with Tilda on this but would suggest that you ask your rheumatology nurse to refer you specifically to the rheumatology physio. (Assuming your hospital has one and that you're not stuck in the back end of beyond like Tilda)

It's probably a bit quicker than going through your GP and it keeps it all in the department so that notes are easily accessed. It may be just a bit of inflammation but it is always worth getting these looked at sooner rather than later.

If you haven't been assigned a specialist nurse yet then just phone the rheumatology department and ask the receptionist how to go about getting a referral.

Good luck



Thanks both

I have been given the number to the nurse who I will be seeing in 6 weeks. I have to return for blood tests in 2 and then 4 weeks. Starting on methotrexate but put it off today because i am feeling sick from having to take painkillers to deal with pain in my arm. I will ask to be referred to a physio if they have one. Thanks for the advice very much welcomed.


I wouldn't put the MTX (methotrexate) off for too long Merlin as it takes between 3 weeks and 6 months to make a difference and it shouldn't clash with pain meds if they are prescribed - most people are in pain with RA when they start. You may want to bear in mind that it can make you very tired the next day and sometimes a bit nauseous so Friday night is probably best if you have to work during the week.

Re back of beyond - watch it Creaky! I'll have you know I've had more access to physio, both hospital and through GP than many others on this site so perhaps you are really in the back of beyond and this is the centre of the universe?! TTx


Hahaha. Centre of universe.......... doesn't that mean that you are standing still while the rest of us are moving? Very pretty centre of universe though. :-)


Well Dartington isn't much more central than Orkney if we are orbitting London is it Creaky? So let's just say we all find our own centres and everyone else seems to be way off in the sticks sometimes, and this includes London, Glasgow and even down your very remote way!

Centres of universes aside I do feel I've been very well served in terms of physiotherapy here compared to many. I even had some sort of short wave therapy for my wrists and knuckles in the pysio/ rehab part of our hospital back in Spring - and although it felt like some kind of emperor's invisible clothes at the time my wrists and knuckles are transformed now so who's to say it wasn't absolutely spot on and state of the art in fact? Plus I've got a locally made night resting splint and many different exercises to apply whenever the need arises so I think this is a good place to start as anywhere on the physio front. I'm now a real fan of physiotherapy for RA that's certain and think it should be more readily available to everyone who is diagnosed. TTx


Haha - You are so right Tilda. ps I'm thinking of moving to Orkney. xx


Thanks Tilda

I was debating what day to take it on because of work, I will take it tonight before bed.

Again thanks a lot it really helps to have people to talk to and seek advise from.


You are very welcome. I'm sure you'll feel the benefit of MTX before long as I have done. Good luck. Tilda x


Definitely ask for a referral to physio. A lot of areas now you can self refer. My shoulder "freezes" up quite badly at times, meaning its incredibly difficult to move it, and can result in sharp pain. But, a couple of sessions with physio to gently mobilise it again (with heat or ice first) and its back to usable. I also got taught a range of stretching exercises, and by doing them every day, several times a day, I seem to have managed to avoid any serious problems for a couple of years now. Stretching (full range of movement) exercises are definitely well worth doing. I don't have a set exercise time - I just make sure I take every opportunity to push all my joints to a full range of movement regularly.


hi merlin

do you have access to a pool for free through your council we sort of have at a certain age might be worth going and just putting yourself throught the motions with your arms etc you cant hurt yourself in water or d\so they say it might help

just getly flaf on your back accross the water see how you go.

this is what i do if it hurts stop you will find your limitations.

you dont say weather your neck cracks at all as it could be trapped here which gives you frozen shoulder

regards john


Hi John

My neck does crack quite a lot, but I didn't link this with the arm pain but see how they could be connected. I'm sure we get free access to swimming at certain times and I have just fininished a 10 day pass I brought to access a private gym and their spar facilities which I found very beneficial. Although i didnt want to sign up for a year and pay 40 pound a month to use the pool, sauna and steam room. I may reconsider if it keeps me active and mobile.

Thanks for your comments and I hope we speak again soon.


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