Question - is anyone's pain minor/minimal or is it always a strong pain?

I recently saw my doctor who sent me for a blood test for one of two suspected diagnoses: calcium deficiency or rheumatoid arthritis.

I have a stong family history of arthritis from my grandparents and great-grandparents hence why the Dr suspects RA. Honestly, I'd welcome the diagnosis as I've suspected it myself for about a year so it would be nice to have confirmation. However, I'm unsure whether my level of pain is that of an arthritis sufferer of whether it's just normal aches and pains (I'm 22 female for reference so not likely to be "growing old" pains).

On a scale of 1-10, it's usually only about a 2 or 3 that I experience. It's enough for me to notice it and it gets uncomfortable but is rarely (maybe once a week) enough for me to need to stop what I'm doing and try to massage the area to reduce the pains. It's a fairly dull ache/cramp that I feel typically in my wrists and knuckles.

I'm wondering whether there's anyone with arthritis, especially RA but also osteo (my family history is all osteo), who only experiences relatively minor pain. I'm wondering whether I'm just exaggerating or if it's actually common for people with arthritis to not have strong pains most of the time.


  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 406


    Wow your so young to have to cope with this, mines osteoarthritis and sorry to say the pain is constant in some part of my old bod, I hope you get your results through fast so you can get on the proper treatment

    stay strong sending gentle hugs

    love Jona 😊💐

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,389

    With the inflammatory type (including RA) we usually have 'flares' which are extremely painful (for me at least 8 out of 10) and can last days/weeks and for some even longer. They are associated with a fever and genuine cannot stay awake exhaustion. Not just feeling worn out.

    After a flare has died down I am left with what you describe....a dull pain which I am able to ignore most of the time with the aid of distraction.

    I hope you get some answers soon

    take care

  • airwave
    airwave Member Posts: 579

    A symptom of OA is that it comes and goes and each person suffers at different levels. I oft complained to my mother when I was little and was told it was growing pains and wasn’t diagnosed tillI I was twenty five. It’s been life on a slippery slope for me, gradually with increasing levels of pain and more joints joining in with operations and early medical retirement at forty four on the way to sixty five. Life’s a bugger isn’t it!

    There is absolutely no reason to be defined by any type of arthritis, there are so many things to do, a whole life to lead but we do need to pay lip service to arther so we can control it.

    Keep searching and reading the topics on here.

    it’s a grin, honest!

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    A symptom of OA is that it comes and goes 

    Not in my case!

  • airwave
    airwave Member Posts: 579

    And not in some of my joints now Mike. I was trying to get across that OA is different for everyone, it doesn’t always come rushing along delivering instant high levels of pain and discomfort.

    I’ve had pain in my hands for donkeys years not constant, then one day last year it came on at a very high level, I thought I’d broken some bones and ended up in casualty only to find its arther. Both of my hands are now swollen and hurting, I use this as an example to show that arther is and does change for everyone.

  • Hey old body! 😁

    So sick of this now. I don't actually get that much pain. All I get is swelling. Fat fingers. So the pain is I can't play the guitar like I used to for 30 years because my index finger just won't bend. I'm thinking about playing now but my fat finger won't do what my brain tells it to.

  • stellabean
    stellabean Member Posts: 307

    Hi old body, OA and or RA is different for everyone that is one of the maddening things about old arthur you can never tell what is going to happen or perdict what the future will hold except maybe pain in some form for sure!

    I hope you get answers soon as you are so young to be dealing with this. I have a strong family history of both OA and RA both my mother and grandmother had it but out of 4 children I was the only one to be lucky enough to inherit all the fun!. As a young child I had joint pains and it was put down to calcium deficiency, when I was pregnant with my daughter I started with knee problems and this was put down to my Crohns disease and the pregnancy. But when I was 40 I was assaulted and it was found that I had damage in my neck from it but the tests also showed I had advanced spinal degeneration and OA in my neck and spine. So my life was changed almost over night I could no longer work I wasn't able to ride my horse and the doctors wouldn't operate as it was too risky. I now have damage in many of my joints I have given up keeping notes on them.

    Pain is subjective I have varying levels of it and it doesn't seem to matter what I have been doing. I get pain and stiffness if I sit too long, I get it when I walk and potter in my garden but I have to keep myself distracted with craft and gardening or I would go just plain crazy.

    I try to keep my joints moving as much as possible and find the help and advice of my physio great, I hope you find the help and advice you need. There is so much information on this site and everyone is so supportive on here.

  • Loggiemod
    Loggiemod Member Posts: 219

    @SausageFingers I understand your frustration. I have for some time thought about learning to play guitar, but just as i get some time to do it my arthritis in the hands has now spread to both. Like you say a lot of the time it is just a dull ache and the fingers aren't as flexible as I would like, so I've had to give up.

    @stellabean I to end up gardening and then pay for it the next day when my hands can be really painful

  • N1gel
    N1gel Member Posts: 160

    Always 'makes my teeth itch' when the medical profession ask me to rate pain on a scale of 1 to 10! (I once calmly sat on a Scottish hillside with a fractured tibia - I knew it was broken, but I couldn't convince anyone else: not til it was x-rayed. Then they all said 'oh it must hurt' - er, no).

    Anyway short of going into a philosophical debate about logic and empiricism (how many angels can dance on the head of a pin etc). It can't meaningfully be done, to describe pain on a scale of 1to 10.

    I often go to bed thinking this pain is something new, tomorrow will be the end of the world. But that was last week and probably next week too.

  • Hi all, thanks for the comments, I forgot I posted this so haven't been checking!

    I had my blood test yesterday so I'm now waiting for results and see what the next steps are but it's reassuring to hear everyone's different experiences as I've been questioning myself all week. I would just generally describe what I experience as aching rather than pain but as others have pointed out, what I consider not too bad may be some of your bad days. It's more about weakening and slower restricted movements for me than pain (though I do ache literally all the time, but only a small amount for my own subjective pain measures) so depending on what the results say, I might bring it up next week as I think I focussed too much on the pain side thinking that's what would get me taken seriously. I'm not trying to get diagnosed, don't worry, I'm not looking for something that isn't there! But it's been good reading the responses so far that pain isn't always the main symptom I should be focussing on during my appointments.

  • stellabean
    stellabean Member Posts: 307

    It isn't just pain that you should mention as the loss of joint range and the stiffness are important to mention. Not all medical professional take pain seriously but at least if you get a idea of what is going on you can get help with referral to physio or pain management .