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Bracing effect

Hi does any one else experience this feeling - as if wearing a dental brace over most of joints - especially hands and wrists - a brace that feels like its been tightened by a screw driver every few days? I don't have much pain but usually wake feeling as if I'm all out of sync with my joints - not just very stiff but as if I had some acid injected into joints and as if I've been realigned and everything is fitting together awkwardly? It wears off a bit over the day but worsens if im still for too long. Is this just getting older (post meno) or part of RA? I keep thinking I'm going to flare up but I haven't done for many months so is it just an echo of previous flares perhaps? I don't think I'm imagining it but could be wrong!

14 Replies


In my first couple of years, when I was a full time teacher and mother of 2 small children I was exhausted with everything plus RA too!

I would come home from work, sit in an armchair for half an hour, drop off to sleep and then when I woke up I found I had set solid! I would try and will my arms and legs to move and the first couple of times I was quite scared. Then I realised it soon wore off after 5 minutes, so I got myself back into gear and carried on carrying on.

So I assume its part of what is labelled "early RA", as opposed to plain old "long service" RA?

Maybe others have felt this "joint locking" too?


Yes maybe that's it Phoebe - still early RA stuff. It's not so much locking - which I did have quite badly for a few months last year at night and which was scary I agree but GP explained it was inflammation and have me ibuprofen which helped. This is more a tightening sensation everywhere. I never really know what's just normal ageing stuff and what is RA these days - used to be more clear cut before I started the DMARDs. Thanks. Tilda x


I stiffen up like Phoebe but once that eases the opposite applies - the joints that are affected but not badly feel soft and rubbery. Knees (damn, first time I've used that word today, hopefully the last) just feel like this: AAAaaaargghhhhhh!!!

I don't think what you are describing is down to ageing. My disease appeared 'properly' about 2 years after the menopause and I now think that most, possibly all, of the joint stiffness and fatigue I'd previously blamed on the menopause were nothing to do with it.

On the other hand I kind of think that the menopause and RA can be, in a sense, one and the same. What I mean is that the symptoms of many auto-immune diseases and the menopause are quite similar. And I wonder whether RA is THE sign of hormonal change for some women, which is all that is meant by the word menopause. Brain aches now.

Christina xx


Yes I'm not surprised your brain aches Christina and sorry for causing it to so relatively early in the weekend! These days I find all the more excruciating pain has disappeared thank heavens but I'm still very stiff after any length of time sitting or lying still and recently it's become more than stiffness - as I have tried to describe - a sort of feeling of being re-aligned rather badly and I spend an increasing part of my day trying to jiggle and wriggle and stretch my way out of this? And just as the feeling of really bad pain was similar to really bad toothache on a grand scale - so the improved version of me feels as if I'm now wearing a brace on all of my joints and it's being tightened and adjusted so my joints feel all wrongly placed a bit in the way that the teeth and jaw often do after structural dental work? Maybe the brace analogy is just down to middle son who is shortly to be fitted for one of those big railway track ones and I keep going with him to see the orthodentist!? Tilda xx


Ageing? Give me a break, you're not yet 50 and old is always going to be way older than I am. I reckon RA is the guilty party, and is still active. Mine isn't a tightening effect, but burning. What sometimes amazes me is that I peer at my feet and they look completely normal, but they feel as if they should be hugely swollen and bright red and pulsating. But yes, days of lazing on sofa are long gone as all too uncomfortable after 10 minutes. I now have a really ugly plastic garden chair that's quite high and very upright stuck in middle of sitting room as all the comfy chairs are really uncomfortable. Px


ageing tildat

my old gran who had rumi bad in 1956 used to say to me as a kid

JUST BECAUSE THEIR IS SNOW ON THE ROOF lad DOSNT ME THE FIRE HAS GONE OUT!! in an old lancashire dierlect i miss me gran

yep ive had this round me ankle feels like ive got a strap round me ankle then when i get up move it about it goes and i know what feather means re spongy knees.

why cant things go wrong in ones then you can fathom it out instead of two's

me i think its the old adage of when you break an arm you can deal with it better

when you do a foot or ankle it has a knock on effect all the way up.


Not sure about the adage Minka but get your and Polly's drift re being a mere strippling of 49! It's just that I've heard strange things happen to joints around and after the menopause so thought maybe just that but as its mainly bad in the mornings first thing then goes eventually when I do my exercise or dog walk I guess it's more likely RA.

I think having pain in hands and arms is more fundamental for me than my feet in the way they make me feel overall. Legs are further away and the joints are less delicate and more replaceable but the pain that was in my wrists and shoulders last year, while not more severe than in my knees and ankles - felt like the world had dropped on me somehow. And backs - ugh when backs go that's just the total pits! Xxxx


I've described this feeling as wearing lycra, or a wet suit, that is too tight. Sometimes, it's more like a vice being tightened around and into the joint. It goes gradually with movement, but, for me, takes about two and half hours in the morning to loosen up whenever I have a flare up.

The length of time it takes to free itself up on movement is apparently significant - the longer the time, the more likely it's due to RA, the shorter the time, more likely to be OA.


Woke up, as I often do, in middle of night as feet and hands burning, and spent quite a while working out how else I could describe the sensation. So have come to the conclusion that having a very tight acid wrap on my joints is equally valid description.... Well it passed the time anyway, ta. Px


Well I did say acidic too (or injected with acid - injections being on my mind just now!) so we are singing from the same song sheet it seems and it's really just about degrees i think. Sometimes it's vice like and sometimes it's more lycra and it doesn't usually take quite so long to normalise but when I had that pins and needles episode it set me into major slow motion for much of the day. But it's good to know I'm not just imagining things or am only in some post menopausal state. Although as Christina says I think these things are all bound up in each other for many of us - there has to be a reason why RA so often gets better during pregnancy and worse after for many women and also why two thirds of sufferers are women. Tilda


Hi Tilda,

I know you are feeling much better, which is great and feel that the methotrexate is doing its job. I think that RA is a deceitful disease, and is sneaky,and we can feel ok by times, there seems to be no certainty, even when our bloods are normal, and inflammation low, I think that damage is still being done.

It has taken me a long time to realise, the hand that RA has dealt me, and while I am fine mostly, I can also be achey by times, the aches are the damage done or being done and there seems to be no getting away from that fact.

We are supposed to be grateful if our hands are'nt all deformed nowadays, but as I have learned, when an mri is performed, suddenly you are missing a ligament or a muscle that should be in a joint, and this is because RA is systemic, it takes much longer to miss a ligament than a bone!.

I feel sad and not so optimistic today, sorry if this is a downer, but I dont know what else to say...



Well I'll try and brighten your night for you Gina. I've been Blues festivaling this end and feel great - have had a whole day either walking dig in windy sunshine or listening to blues being played all over our small town - amazing Hendrix support guy tonight - my dentist singing classics with her proper Blues voice, spirit and shapely shape and lots of hairy man in old leather jackets, roll necks and pony tails from places like San Diego and New Orleans. My son's band played last night and lunchtime today and it was great! I have touched a drop of liquor but nor have I thought of RA once?

Poor you feeling the stealthy one today. I felt like that yesterday but asked this because I really don't know if a lot of this is hypersensitivity on my part. I've kind of lost my bearings and unlike you have never been scanned or x-rayed so have no idea if I've got any damage yet - if I do it would be to my hands and wrists but they seem okay - just a bit achey and tight all the time but not that screaming pain I had last winter.

Take care Gina - all will be right in the end I'm sure and meanwhile I blow you some Orkney blues through cyber space across the Chanel. Tilda xxx


Thanks Tilda, sounds like fun, with all the Muzak, lucky you. Yes I'll be ok, jst a bit sore at the moment have been ok and very busy for ages.



Oops sorry for all the typos ie dog and haven't touched liquor! Blame the wee iPhone. Xxx


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