Tuesday, November 04, 2008 Julie Harnett, Community Member, asks

Q: Is it normal for Rheumatiod Arthritis to move from joint to joint from one day to the next

My husband has RA. I was wondering if its normal for RA to move from joint to joint from one day to the next..Sometimes its within hours.. He will wake up and his elbow will be killing him, and by the end of the day, his hand on the other side of the body will be killing him, and the elbow he had the pain in is gone. We are questioning the doctor now, and we are thinking he has something else wrong with him...

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Answers (3)
Feels like the TinMan, Community Member
11/ 5/08 9:54am

hi julie..

you bet that's the way it goes.  that's how it was with me before i was diagnosed (in july).  i couldn't understand why my left wrist would hurt, and then it would move to my fingers, then to my neck...gahh! i couldn't figure out why i had this 'migratory' joint pain. i got online and typed in 'migratory joint pain' and up popped RA (and other stuff) but i ruled out other stuff (no, i'm not a doctor, i just like to be informed when it comes to my health). the pain would 'jump' from place to place. i'd wake up in excruciating pain in one of my shoulders and by lunchtime, something else would hurt just as bad.   i went to see my doc about another issue i was having and the joint pain was incidental.  he did the labs and called me the day before my 43rd birthday with his DX....the only thing that differed from the RA info online is that it said it was bilateral (both sides at the same time).  i'd NEVER had the pains in the same joints at the same time.  if my wrist hurt, only one did.  if my shoulder hurt, only one did.  even to this day i very very seldom have pains in both sides of my joints.  so, yeah, it is possible.  i'm doing well now since i've been on plaquenil and prednisone.   i feel human again.  still have some pain but on a scale of 1 to 10, it's probably a 2, if that.  much more tolerable!  hope your husband gets relief.  ~Desiree

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mia, Community Member
11/ 4/08 7:24pm

hi, and oh gosh yes! this is an awfull way to spend our days, i find myself singing, the hip bone is connected to the knee bone lol, and so on. i feel for you because i have this same problem only im the rhumie one. this is a symtematic thing with us rhumies and it doesnt seem to go away. ive been rhumie for yrs and hate when my left knee hurts in the morn and by noon my right hand wont clasp things and by dinner time my left ankle is singing the blues. tell your hubby that i will say a little prayer for him and best of hope for you both. mia.

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HaveMercy, Community Member
11/ 5/08 11:59am

For me, that is exactly the way it goes.  It moves from feet to knees to fingers to elbows and even to your jaw bone.  There seems to be no set schedule for it and it sure does keep me guessing every single day as to what is going to hurt the most.  I never realized until I was diagnosed at age 36 two years ago that RA was as painful as it is.  I cannot imagine what it would be like for people who cannot afford the medical care that is required to control this disease.  Tell your hubby to hang in there and to speak up with his docs if things don't get better for him.  My doc started me on a very low level of meds when I was diagnosed but with the progression of the disease has had to modify my treatment many times.  I am not sure about your hubby, but I would take about any kind of med to get rid of the pain RA causes.  Also, it's great that you are there for him, some people would not have the patience and understanding to do so.

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By Julie Harnett, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/22/14, First Published: 11/04/08