Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In The Joint...Part III

Onward and upward on the joint travels!  So far I have covered all my finger joints and today I will be debuting my wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints.

My wrists are probably the worst joints impacted with ra.  And for me they cause quite a few problems in regards to doing anything at all.  Between the swelling, tendon issues, and often pain, I have alot of problems doing everyday things such as lifting anything except maybe a coffee cup. Well having that limit pretty much puts me dependent on everyone and anyone who might be kind enough to vacuum, carry groceries, clean the bathtub, etc. Yup, I have to admit...I HATE my wrists and their lack of fortitude in fending off the attack of ra.

And because of their whimpiness, I am often forced to wear such horrid gear as the "wrist splint". Still no improvement out there on fashion forward sox splints (if you are wondering what in the world I am referring to....check out my blog post entitled RA Junk Art.

Traveling just a bit up the road to the next joint...technically speaking the elbow joint, we find this means that the humerus is connected to the ulna and the radius. Humerus...I wonder if that is what adults were referring to when I was a kid. I was told it was my funny bone that would hurt so much when I banged it the wrong way. I found no humor in that at all!

The Southern Orthodpedic Institute's above diagram illustrates this rather nicely. Their website is packed with different problems we autoimmuner's might expect to encounter when inflammation and elbow joints are involved.

Once again the ra monster has been nibbling away regularly on both my elbows. Right from the onset, my right elbow was completely hit with the ra. It was hit early and to this day suffers from permanent joint damage with limited range of motion. No ra medication has slowed this joint damage for me personally.

I remember when I first went into an elbow orthopedic doctor for a cortisone injection into my right elbow. At that time it was giving me such a sharp pain that I would almost drop to my knees.  After xrays, he explained that the ligament was getting hung up on a jagged joint and that was causing the intense pain when I tried to move it a certain way. He gave me the injection (which by the way helped immensely) and offered me several surgeries to try and not only correct that problem but my elbow extension problem as well.  He did also say that the surgery would not stop further joint deterioration. I opted not to do the surgeries at that time as I was dealing with throat problems which took precedent in my book.

In regards to my shoulder joints, I have not had them xrayed...ever.  But I have noticed I am lopsided lately and their appears to be inflammation in particular on my left side. I am wondering, in my case, which came first, the chicken or the egg.  Or rather, the tendon or the shoulder problem. I am guessing here, but I strongly suspect I have alot of tendon and possibly muscle damage going on and believe it is my tendons that might be causing the lopsided tilt.  During our picture taking, my daughter kept asking me to lower my right shoulder as she said it was sticking up. Ummmmm...well...that isn't possible, that is just my stance with ra.

For all of these joints, the only help I have found to date has been the wrist splint or cortisone injections. However, it is my understanding that these types of injections should be limited to three over your life time per joint.  Based on that information from my old orthopedic doctor, I have been holding off on these injections for as long as possible. If I do the math, that gives me one injection about every ten years per joint based on hitting the 85 year mark or there abouts. about endurance!

But as with so many things we raers deal with...even that number is about as clear as mud. If you want to go in for a mud bath to wash off any doubts, I suggest you further read up on this subject.

I would love to hear from any of you out there that have come up with an easy way to clean a tub. I have yet to figure out a way to do this without having to suffer for days afterwards. Calling all Heloise's helpful hints!

And once again my beloved Moomee just had to get in on the take...
"Lookz Gamz Gamz...Iz canz doz thatz tooz! Movez overz, youz blockingz thez cameraz!"
"Andz herez myz elbowz jointz. Aint'z itz prettyz?"

Further readings on In The Joint:


L."Wren" Vandever said...

Great post, Deb! I'm right there in empathy with you regarding how RA affects the hands and wrists, and how that affects everyday things like, oh, pouring a cuppa coffee or, say, fastening a bra or pulling a sock on. And speaking of socks, I love your splint-sock idea! You're so right that splints are just plain ugly (not to mention uncomfortable). It would be great if we could at least make them colorful!

Moomee is darling. What a little clown!

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Fashion forward design is what I say! A color a day is surely the way! Maybe one day they can figure out a way to regrow the lost portion of our joints :-)

Theresa said...

You are beautiful, inside and out. That's all I can say.
Bless you my friend. You amaze me.

WarmSocks said...

I read, but have not tried yet, that "magic eraser" can be used to clean bathtub rings much more easily than the standard elbow-grease method (have not tried because my method of cleaning the tub is to point to the child who last used it and say, "go clean the tub")

Cortisone injections: number depends on the doctor. I've lost track of how many I've had in my shoulders - when I got the first one, my doctor said he could do one every three months. Fortunately it hasn't had to be that often, but I've definitely had more than three and find that they help immensely. Good luck!

Deb aka AbcsOfra said... kind of you :-) I do know for sure I am lumpy inside and at times on the outside too :-) Ummm...I mean grumpy. Sometimes the pain just gets me that way :-)

Warm Socks...well I am going to have to check here with an ortho doc about those injections. My wrists are a mess anyways, so maybe a shot might help at least with the tendon swelling. So far, my shoulders may be impacted but I don't get much pain there and thank goodness too. I have enough of that already and I am hoping my ra is trying to burn out so to say. I heard this term years ago and keep wishing mine would do exactly that. Burn out and hit the road.

Christine said...

Although I know about RA, I don't know many people personally with it so this was a helpful post for me in regards to the photos. Thank you for sharing.

Christine said...

Although I know about RA, I don't know many people personally with it so this was a helpful post for me in regards to the photos. Thank you for sharing.

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Christine...I am glad the pics helped with how ra impacts many of us. What the pics can't show though is often the pain associated with ra. I found that, for me, the deformities aren't as painful as when I first got ra and I couldn't see any damage. The early years were the worst for me with the pain. But I do take pain meds now also :-)

Electronic Medical Records said...

Good that you have a good understanding of the disease which will help you get cured with the right treatment.Thanks to all those who are eager to know more and correctly.

Happy Body Happy Life said...

Deb I always am touched by your painful honesty, your optimism, and your wonderful sense of humor. Hang in there my RA sister!

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Tonya...I try to say it as it is and be real. I so appreciate your comment :-) And I really do laugh at myself alot.

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