I am a dry needling physical therapist. I generally advise people to stay away from steroid injections and too much ibuprofen. But at times these things are necessary. My Rheumatoid Arthritis is in full flare. My knees are the size of melons. My right thumb is so painful I've lost the ability to open jars, door knobs, screw tops, and pinch anything with any grip strength. This happens. This has been happening intermittently since I was 15 years old. I have started taking ibuprofen before bed so my joints don't get too stiff and sore overnight. I know when my flare ups arrive that cortisone injections will enter the treatment plan. I put it off as long as possible. I put it off until I can't exercise comfortably, or work on patients without pain. I know my body will feel and perform so much better once I make the appointment with the rheumatologist and get at least one knee drained and shot up with cortisone. Usually, the effect is systemic enough to relieve a lot of my other symptoms.
I am a dry needling physical therapist. I like to think I can solve many pain problems with dry needling. RA is not one of those things I think I can solve with needles. However, three days ago, I worked on my right thumb area hoping I could find some relief of pain. I was only able to stick two needles into the back of my hand in the webspace between my thumb and first finger. I would have liked to insert needles into the palmar side as well, but I couldn't do it to myself. I was too much of a wimp to handle that kind of self inflicted pain. But I've had a good result anyway. Immediately, my grip strength improved and I could open my house door again with my right hand. Today, I was able to maneuver a heavy vacuum cleaner through my house without pain. These small things make me so happy. Today I will go to yoga. My knees still won't bend fully and I will not be able to do the kneeling postures, but I will do what I can. I will try to get to the rheumatologist soon. And yes, I will allow whatever amount of cortisone is appropriate. I really am excited for that. Tonight, I will take more ibuprofen. Tomorrow, I will dry needle my thumb again.