Help!!! Swollen arm and really bad pain

Hi All I am new here and have been given a diagnosis of "we think you have RA and possibly lupus and maybe also sjogerns. No meds yet and don't go back til August after a whole lot more testing. They said to ring if I have any problems and well after cleaning today getting ready for a house inspection I cannot lift my right arm and am in terrible pain from my shoulder to my fingers. Am having trouble picking anything up or holding anything. Not sure if I should ring rheumy or just go to GP. I need some advice from you experienced people as to whether this is in the I will get over it in a few days basket?

12 Replies

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  • Have you any pain killers you can take? ideally anti inflammatories such as ibuprofen providing they are safe for you ir not asthmatic, or having stomach ulcer, high blood pressure etc ? x

    If not contact out of hours or go to a health acess centre

  • I have huge chemical allergies and can't take any nasaids. Best I have is panadol osteo and it's not touching it. I think I am in for a long night. I will have to wait until I finish work tomorrow to see GP just wondered if it warranted calling rheumy as I have no experience with this.

  • It's always worth ringing rheumy as it means that they realise that you're not stable and need attention - even if they don't do anything obvious straight away. But if you don't ask, then you certainly won't get anything!

    If you can't take NSAIDS, then try alternating ice packs and heat packs to try to bring the inflammation down. And rest if you can! Polly

  • Thanks for that I just have no experience with this and don't know whether it warrants calling them.

  • If your arm is swollen, and its only one arm, then I would normally say that you need to treat it as an emergency, as there is a vague possibility that it could be a deep vein thrombosis or something like that. I'd be phoning NHS24 or getting down to the emergency centre to get it checked out.

    However, you do say that it came on after cleaning. If you are SURE that this has flared because of that activity, then the remedies of rest, gentle stretching movements, ice or heat, heat (alternating if necessary), and taking over the counter doses of NSAIDs (if you aren't already taking them on prescription, or have been told not to take them) might get you through to when you can phone someone easier. NHS24 can be really useful to make that kind of decision though - if you make sure you tell them that you have a rheumatology nurse and rheumatologist, and wanted their advice about how urgent it is.

  • Yes it has been painful for about 10 months but is now to the point of agony and I can't lift it or hold anything after doing some cleaning. I live in Australia and we don't have the NHS24 here. It takes months to get in to rheumatologist. but I think I will go to GP and see what he says.

  • I think you should ring the Rheumy - it's a quick thing to do so won't prevent you making a GP appointment. I know you want to be 100% sure that your condition warrants this but you can't be - only a medic can decide whether or not you need urgent treatment and a phone call is surely warranted as you are obviously in a bad way. The fact that you haven't got a definite diagnosis yet makes it all the more important that you seek advice from a doctor because as you say, you are not yet experienced in what is happening with you.

    Pain is pain - there's a tendency to put up with all sorts of things with these auto-immune diseases but I don't know why we do that 'cos it doesn't help.

    Luce x

  • Hi I would be concerned as I haven't heard of a whole arm swelling, just joints really with RA, so I would phone the docs or emergency docs to get a check rather than wait for Rheumy to open on Monday. You do need to check what's causing this one sided swelling. Let us know how you get on. Xx

  • Thanks guys. I will go to GP this morning and ring rheumy at hospital to see what they say

  • Thank you all for your help. It appears that I need to hire a cleaner as I have acute tendinitis and now on prednisone for the next 5 days.

  • Since getting RA I've found that over exerting any of my joints tends to make them flare up, so do be careful not to overdo things. but if you're getting these sorts of problems, maybe you should be trying to get your appointment with rheumy brought forward? August is quite a long way away. Sometimes you can get a cancellation at short notice.

  • I am wondering if it worth letting them know. All I did was some housework, vacuuming and washing floors seriously if I can't do that then I am getting really useless.

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