Sunday, September 15, 2019

Psoriatic arthritis pain described


What does psoriatic arthritis feel like? There isn’t really one answer for this question. It feels different depending on what’s going on. 

For example, I’ve had terrible hip pain the past couple of weeks. When I stand up from my chair at work or get out of bed in the morning, I struggle to walk. My hip is stiff and doesn’t feel like I can move it. As I start moving, it loosens up and movement becomes a bit easier. Each step hurts, but it’s bearable. With this type of pain, sleep is very difficult. I take a very low dose muscle relaxer to help ease me into sleep. Before I go to bed, I also use a CBD muscle balm that I bought while in Seattle. It’s the best!

In my opinion, pain in the larger joints like my hip feels more tolerable than pain in my hands or feet, or other small joints. I have arthritis in my toes, and when they start throbbing, I literally can’t even think. It’s hard to put a sentence together. My husband, Scott, will ask how I feel and it’s difficult to articulate my answer, so I usually say, “I’m okay.” Scott probably knows this, but I’m not okay when I say I’m okay. The pain is just too intense to describe. In those situations, I might use heat and/or ice, more of my magic muscle balm and often I will take two muscle relaxers before bed. I might even take a bath, though things have to be really bad to get me to this extreme. Remember that episode of Friends, The One Where Chandler Takes a Bath? Chandler says he doesn’t find baths relaxing because “You just sit in there stewing in your own filth.” I agree with Chandler, but sometimes I have no choice and I’m willing to go to this extreme.

When psoriatic arthritis first became part of my life, even before I had been diagnosed, my little finger was the target joint. It was so swollen and painful, and, during the night, the pain would wake me up. I always described this pain as feeling like someone was jamming an ice pick into my joint. So sorry for this shocking and graphic description, but that’s how it felt.

The moral of this story is that, even with psoriatic arthritis, no two pains are exactly the same. My pain over the past couple of weeks has been so intense that I have felt it necessary to apologize to my family for not being as involved as I feel I should. I forgot to make Nora’s lunch a couple of times. Scott has been trying to get our new home set up and get our boxes unpacked. And guess what I’ve been doing? I’ve been in bed or on the couch feeling guilty.

Tell me, what kind of pain is the most bothersome to you? Do you struggle with the feeling of irrational guilt?

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