Nightly hand and arm pain

Leanne11 Member Posts: 2
edited 8. Feb 2019, 03:44 in Say Hello Archive
Hi, I'm 38 and recently diagnosed with RA. To be honest I'm struggling, been on weekly methotrexate since diagnosis and probably very naively thought this would all be getting easier to deal with by now (8 weeks into treatment) it's not. Im particularly struggling with my hands and arms going completely dead at night which causes a huge amount of pain but nothing like the pain when the feeling starts coming back, has anyone else experienced this? I'm an expat living in France and feel very alone, tired and tearful all the time.


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 3,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi and welcome to the forum Leanne11.

    Dealing with a recent diagnosis is hard and it sounds as though you were hoping you would have noticed improvements by now since starting the methotrexate.

    I don't have personal experience of taking methotrexate, but I've just checked the information on it on the Versus Arthritis website (I've included the link below) and it says that it may take 3-12 weeks before you start to notice the benefits, so it sounds as though your experience is within the bounds of normal. However, it would probably be worth discussing it with your doctor if you're able to.
    Perhaps other forum members will be able to share their early experiences of starting on methotrexate.

    There's some general information about RA here:

    Good luck, I hope you see some improvements soon. Do keep us posted with how you get on & hopefully you will meet some people with similar experiences on here.

    best wishes,

  • JCR2951
    JCR2951 Member Posts: 7
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Leanne,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your diagnosis - it can be difficult to get your head around!

    I'm not much help, as I have OA, but I do suffer with it in both hands. It is hard, especially if you are used to having full mobility of your hands. I do not know what the weather is like in France, but in England it is cold, which I have noticed does tend to make my OA worse.

    Well done for making the step to talk on here though, no one should have to deal with it alone - and there are many people on here who are taking the same medication as you, that might be able to help. And if not, there are a lot of people on here to talk to in general, which should help with your feeling of loneliness!

    I was diagnosed almost a year ago now, and I still struggle on a daily basis to come to terms with it (and cry a lot!), but it will get better and easier! Everyone has good days and bad days, so do not feel bad about yourself for feeling tearful.

    I hope your medication starts to work for you - if not, I do find that a hot bath helps with the pain and stiffness (if this is something you are suffering with).

    Jess :)
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, I don't think I can help much either as I have never had anything like this occurring so regularly. I began psoriatic arthritis back in 1997 and then osteoarthritis was diagnosed in 2011. I have had the odd bout of numbness but the explanation has always been sitting or lying awkwardly without moving for too long. I have around forty affected joints and years of experience, for you this is must be very new and daunting.

    We are not medicos and cannot diagnose but it could be that you are so tense in yourself that your body is not fully relaxed when you are asleep. Another possibility is that a nerve is trapped somewhere but why this should only affect you at night does not match up with that theory. Arthritis affects the joints, not the nerves, and numbness is usually nerve-related. Do you have carpal tunnel syndrome? I did as a result of my arthritis but that came years after - it is possible to have it without arthritis though. DD
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,209
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi. I'm with DD. This doesn't sound anything like arthritis to me. I'd go back to your GP for advice.
  • Scotchy
    Scotchy Member Posts: 4
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I also have very bad hand and arm pain, my hands and fingers swell, I spoke to my GP who told me he thought it might be trapped nerves due to the weakness in my arms, brought on by my RA. I take methotrexate which really helps my knees but does nothing for my hands and arms, I take it my GP must be right but I shall certainly discuss with my rheumatologist when I see him June.
    The pain is horrendous and nothing takes it away, so I wish you well, it's a good thing you joined this group the people on here will help with your loneliness xx
  • JoeB
    JoeB Bots Posts: 83
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    As regards your night time hand / arm pain - When you next have a suitable opportunity enquire of whoever you see Clinically (GP, Rheumatologist etc.) that they have considered Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as a possible concurrent issue.

    If these consultations are undertaken 'en Francais' then the correct terminology (if memory serves me correctly) is 'tunnel carpien'.

    It is a fairly common condition - particularly in those with Rheumatoid Arthritis and / or in certain occupations.

    Kind regards,

  • Freakyfish
    Freakyfish Member Posts: 1
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I get this numbness thing as well. Only on my two smallest fingers on both hands. It wakes me up at night but also comes on if I have my elbows bent in a certain way eg laying on my back reading a book. I try to lay with my arms straight which seems to help.
    No idea what it is. I’ve only just been told I have OA in both hands, having previously (about 8 years ago) being told it was tendinitis. Numbness and aches and pains have increased over time until I got fed up and went back to the Dr before Xmas . The OT I saw after the tendinitis diagnosis says it’s from trapped nerves and that cyclists often get it in those finger cos of the way their wrists are bent when on a bicycle... apparently

    Xrays show OA now but other than that I haven’t a clue. I’m sure it’s more than just OA cos that doesn’t explain other symptoms.
    It’s a 3 month wait to see ‘trauma & orthopaedic ‘ consultant. What can you do? Just have to carry on doing what I have been doing with no idea if it’s making it worse or not. And wondering if every other ache or pain anywhere else is OA or something else....? 🤷‍♀️
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 3,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Freakyfish
    and welcome to the online community, it is lovely to have you here from you. We are not medical experts but it might be worth you looking at our section on Osteoarthritis which includes a section on hands and wrists
    It certainly does sound like some sort of nerve involvement. What does your GP say.
    I am sure our member will share their experiences with you
    Best Wishes
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,209
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello freakyfish.

    I've never had this (I've had RA and OA for many years) but my guess is that the OT is right. Whenever people write of numbness on here it usually transpires it's caused by nerve problems. The nerve problems can often be attributed to OA but not always. I'm sure you'll get a better assessment once your appointment comes up. It's a shame about the wait but arthritis of any kind does involve a lot of waiting....and wondering :roll:

    Are you making it worse? I've no idea but, if you can manage to do things in a way that doesn't bring it on, that would be a good way to go. Maybe read before bed rather than in bed.

    It's very easy for us to attribute every pain to arthritis. It's not always the case but it often is. Sorry I can't be more precise.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, I had numbness but that was carpal tunnel syndrome, possibly caused by one of my arthritises or possibly just one of those things. I have to admit that as all my life has been compromised by health issues I lack curiosity as to the what and why, it's all just another thing to overcome. I have never read lying on my back simply because holding the book at a sensible angie was never comfortable, once I could not longer hold a book I switched to a Kindle, far easier and much better for all the dead-of-night reading I do.

    Numbness has little to do with arthritis and much more to do with nerves, it could be that arthritis is impinging a nerve but many have nerve issues without having arthritis. People with OA in their hands and wrists have found that soaking their hands in a bowl of warm water laced with Epsom salts can ease the aching. My auto-immune arthritis affects my fingers and elbows, OA my wrists and shoulders; there's a nice mix below the waist too. :lol: DD