Referred pain - anyone else experienced this?

Hi everyone,

My name is Rachel, I'm 34 with RA.

I was diagnosed in 2020 and was prescribed Methotrexate and Hydroxychloroquine. Besides the nausea this combo worked well and I had a good 6/8 months pain free.

In Dec 2021 I swapped out the Methotrexate for Sulfasalzine in order to try for a baby.

For the most part my symptoms are suppressed however I have persistent pain in my right shoulder/neck and a pain down the right side of my abdomen which mirrors my shoulder pain (when my shoulder is worse, my abdomen is worse). I've had all kinds of screenings for liver/kidney/gallbladder and all clear, there are also no other digestive problems/indicators.

Any flareups I have all seem to be on my right side (right shoulder, knee, hip, right big toe on rotation) - all of these I recognise as RA pains. The pain in my abdomen is the anomaly however the only conclusion I can draw is that it is a referred RA pain?

Has anyone else experienced this sort of referred/unexplained pain and do you have any advice? Could it be that the sulfasalazine is just not doing a great job?

Thank you!



  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,782

    Referred pain is common but in the abdomen? I've never heard of it. Maybe you're pulling a muscle because of the shoulder pain. Did you have pain on both sides of the body when diagnosed? RA doesn't just affect one side. Maybe shoulder exercises will help. I find exercises essential and, believe me, you'll want to be fit once that baby arrives😉 I did it twice.

  • RachelD
    RachelD Member Posts: 6

    Thank you! Yeah I had pain on both sides in various joints and yep to exercise, I swim and try to do yoga etc when the body allows! Just puzzling this abdomen pain!

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