What does RA feel like?


This was a question posed to me by one of my guy friends recently and one that I don’t think I’ve ever talked about here. I will go ahead and  preface my answer with the fact that I prefer odd similes and metaphors to explain RA rather than to admit out loud that my body gets bored with the hobbies I so carefully select for it and prefers to attack itself. Because that is mutiny. On second thought, mutiny IS related to piracy…and I definitely don’t mind the thought of Johnny Depp mucking around in my joints.  Maybe I can develop a new explanation….something to do with my joints being the Black Pearl?  HmmmmmmmAnywho.

My answer: It feels different day to day. On one kind of so-so day, it feels like sumo wrestlers are sitting on my joints. Lots of heavy, dull, throbbing pressure. On other so- so days, it feels like muay thai fighters are pulling on my joints. Lots of sharp pains and sucker punches, no holds barred. On really bad days, it feels like the sumo wrestlers and the muay thai fighters are having a gang fight and at different points, both sides are winning. It feels like, on different sides of each joint affected, a sumo wrestler is bear hugging the muay thai fighter and the muay thai fighter is pulling in all different directions trying to get the sumo dude off of him. On better days, I don’t feel anything except the joint feels more fragile and brittle, like it’s recovering from a really bad sumo/muay thai gang fight. So to sum it up, lots of pulling, pushing, and then just not feeling 100%.  Oh, and in my imagination, the sumo wrestlers are wearing much more than man thongs.  And the muay thai fighters have mohawks. Because that is how I roll.

Out of curiousity, because I’ve never considered this before, what does RA feel like for you guys? Do we all have the same sensations?

7 responses »

  1. For me I have it in mostly hand and feet but have recently had quite a flare in my knees (ugh!). For the feet it feels like my feet used to feel after wearing too small high heels, if somebody then stepped on my feet and kicked me in the ankles. In the old days if I changed into fuzzy slippers and took some time off my feet they’d get better, but RA doesn’t work like that. It just hurts until it is done or until meds finally kick in or enough time passes (I guess?). I’m new to all this (8 months in) and am still trying to figure it out.

    For my knees it feel like my knee caps will pop off. Both sitting and standing hurt. Some walking helps loosen them up, too much hurts them worse. I’m desperately waiting for my remicade to kick in.

  2. When people ask me what RA feels like, I tell them it feels like having the flu every day of your life – the drained feeling you have, the fatigue, aches and pains etc, and on top of that, it feels like every joint in your body is sprained. I find that to be the easiest way to describe it to them.

  3. For me, it feels like someone has inserted a butter knife between the joints and is flexing it up and down in tandem with my heartbeats.

    I also used to feel, most days, like the bottoms of my feet had been beaten with canes all night, or like I did as a teen when I stood all day working at the fast food place. Fortunately, the soreness in my feet has stopped.

  4. Today is one of those days that I just want to curl up and cry. I am so emotionally drained from years and years of constant pain. I have taken every drug under the RA treatment plan and am still awakened by pain. I am exhausted and weary today. My pain ranges from sharp stabing pain to throbbing, to a dull constant ache. I am 46 years old and have had RA for 14 1/2 years. I am the third generation of family history. I feel fortunate to live in this day and age as my grandmother was crippled from it. I am not deformed from the RA however I do have some joint erosion.

  5. It feels like someone is tearing apart every small joint in my body and that they are all filled with air pockets…pop pop pop every time I stretch or shift positions. Every time I work out I by body feels like its on fire, yet I push it because they say I have to. I am contstantly tired and feel like I can stay in bed for days. Frankly, RA pisses me off. I have grimaced in pain having to shake hands at business meetings, or dropping large things I can no longer support with my wrists, having to give up my beloved high heels, having to buy huge grandma purses so my hands dont hurt having to dig around to find keys in a tight designer bag..the list is endless. I had to give up manicures and pedicures because those folks hurt me, I have given up massages, too. All the things that used to make me feel better I cant do. Oh and having your hair done, no more washes because putting my neck in the sink hurts. I can only wear leverback earrings now, or the kind that glides into the hole because I cant hold earring backs anymore. The days of eyeliner, gone. False eyelashes…nope. Squeezing into sexy jeans…forget it. I cant handle the button. Thank God for front clasping bras. How much more do you need to know, the list is endless. Suffice it to say all the things we take for granted are a thousand times harder now. And all I have to look forward to are the inevitable nodules I see my mother fighting with. The good news is that nobody has a clue how rickety I feel. My wrists are bumpy, things swell, getting on your knees to find something you dropped under the bed is now a chore. Pop, pop, pop. Yoga helps. If I didnt have it, I would be crippled by now. Oh and one blessing, I no longer dread getting into a hot car in the summer. Twisted as it sounds, it provides relief. It felt good to let that all out. Thanks, blog.

  6. Has anyone ever experienced the following? It’s happened to me twice now and I don’t know if it’s related to RA. Both times I was trying to do some shopping in. Department store. I start out feeling warm, then hot. Sweat starts to drip off my face and hair. I’m thinking I have to get out of here. Fatigue is getting worse. Pain doesn’t seem to increase. I just look like I’ve gotten out of the shower. Sweat is running down my face and my hair is wet and sweat is dripping off the ends. I make it home and collapse in bed. Usually a bad headache follows. I get a cold pack and try to cool down and eventually fall asleep. It’s the weirdest feeling, like I’m melting. Thanks, blog.

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