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    New symptoms and concerns
    jraustin63 posted:
    I was diagnosed with RA in Oct 2010, I had redness,pain and swelling of my hands, feet and ankles. I saw a rheumatologist then that was very good and she started me on prednisone and then added methotrexate. I am still taking methotrexate but a few things have changed. We moved away, I no longer have health insurance, and now I am having new symptoms that are scaring me and I don't have access to a rheumatologist or the money to see one. My current MD seems not really interested or maybe doesnt know what to do with me. My new sx's are dry eyes, tingling toes, fingers, and sometimes the whole hand and foot. My ankles are swelling more again and my joints are red, swollen and painful. I need to know what to do or where to go. Any ideas out there?? Are there any holistic things I could do to help with the pain and swelling? I also think I am seeing some joint deformity!!
    Scott Zashin, MD responded:
    Patients who don't have insurance or the funds to get proper medical care of a chronic condition can consider the following.

    1, Call Rheumatologists in your area and ask if they that are doing a clinical study for RA..In addition to getting free care, you may even receive payment for your time.

    2. check the county or state medical society for doctors who have clinics for patients without insurance.

    3. consider a city or county hospital or teaching hospital that may have new doctors (residents) who will supervise your medical care under the direction of a more experienced clinical faculty. Often, these hospitals are associated with a medical school, but not necessarily on the premises.

    4.check with your city or town governement to see if they have access to a public hospital if one is not in your community. some towns will pay for you to go to a hospital in another area if one is not available where you live.
    MyVoice responded:
    The MD's suggestions are excellent. Meanwhile, I suggest the following based on my experience of having RA for 25 years, most of that uninsured.

    If your GP doesn't seem interested, he/she might not be the right GP. Look at other Drs in that clinic, if possible. And check around, speak with friends, associates, and listen to what they like or not about their MD. Not getting treatment is not an option, it will make things worse. So get the best possible treatment you can while you explore the other options.

    My biggest recommendation is to take action. Don't let RA make your decisions and don't be satisfied with an unsympathetic Dr. They might be the best Dr on the planet but if you don't connect with them, they aren't really helping you.

    - Get basic eye drops to increase moisture.
    - Move whatever hurts gently when it doesn't hurt.
    - Keep up your whole body range of motion.

    My next recommendation is to relax. Getting knotted up about the situation will make you feel helpless which amplifies stress which - I guarantee - will make you hurt more. Do what you can and remember tomorrow is a whole new day which could be even better then your best.
    Minnie3189 responded:
    I have had RA for 15 years, most of which were without insurance. All ideas listed sound like good ones. My regular doctor can't help me either with questions or problems. As she puts it, she's experienced in general health problems, not specialized diseases, and she's not familiar with the meds I'm on. You really need to find an RA specialist, even if its out of town. I drive an hour to see mine, but I only need to go once every four months, unless I have complications. Also, I've been on my meds for so long that they weren't helping much anymore so I started taking Enbrel. I couldn't afford it, but if you search for the Encourage Foundation on the internet you can get your injections for free if you qualify. It was a great help to me! Good luck!
    DIYSTER responded:
    The dry eyes could be attributed to secondary Sjogren's Syndrome which is commonly seen in patient's with moderate to severe RA. Left to continue, it can cause permanent damage to lacrimal glands as it has with me. For Sjogren's symptoms, I take Evoxac (I am dry all over without it). It is pretty costly, however, without Rx insurance.

    To the main point, it sounds like your RA isn't entirely under control. Maybe your Rheumatologist needs to re-evaluate either your metho dosage or consider prescribing a biologic. I have taken Humira with great success. In my case, however, my RA was caused by an underlying issue that I eventually figured out - Celiac disease. I have been on a gluten-free diet for a year now and I no longer take any RA drugs, nor have I had any further symptoms. Something to ask your Rheumatologist about.
    bettie72 replied to DIYSTER's response:
    I am starting to have dry eyes. I have RA and on Plaquenil and seem to be in remission. No swelling or pain. I read on this site
    about RA and dry eyes. NO one ever put a name to it and my
    Romey has never talked to me about it. I will be seeing her late
    in Oct. and I plan to bring this up. I may be coming out of remission because last night I woke several times and felt ache
    and stiff today. I dread going on new med's because I have such
    bad reactions to many medicines. But trial and error is better than being in RA pain.I'm 76 now and just had a big back surgery
    came through that just great. God has sure been there for me and so has this site. I learn something here everyday.
    kellywic responded:
    DIET DIET DIET!!! I have been eating a whole food, plant based diet and have seen tremendous results.. I have come off of all meds except Hurmira. Gluten free as well - even if you don't have celiac disease. Also try calling Humira because they offer a lot of help if you can't afford their shots. good luck
    arroubi responded:
    have RA and I m taking leflunomide 10 mg a day , its helping me , i get falres up , but it s not expensive trough walmart if you have a discount card .i use olive oil and ginger roots , it does help too ; good luck .
    candeekisses responded:
    have the same problem when my symptoms started i went to er after a month of suffering the dr there told me he suspected ra but couldnt give me anything for a long term problem recmended a free clinic which ended up not taking any new patients now i see a dr that doesnt care wont even send me to a rheumatolgist cause i guess he dont wanna lose my money he has me on steriods and mobic which helps some buts keeps me constantly sick from having no immune system im 32 and can barely put my shoes on at times being in pain for so long has wore me out physically and mentally i dont know what else to do if i cant get relief soon i might go crazy
    candeekisses replied to candeekisses's response:
    just read about the dry eye which i complained to my dr about he said it had nothing to do with my ra im glad i looked on this site not only my eyes but i just feel dry is that weird
    Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to candeekisses's response:
    Hi Candeekisses and welcome here,

    I encourage you to start a new discussion on your own so others can more easily find your post and respond with their support and insight.

    To do that, hold your cursor over the orange Post Now button and choose 'Discussion' from the drop down menu which appears. Fill in the subject line and body of the message (you can ignore the poll part if you want) and Submit.
    We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
    Mamijen responded:
    Hi jraustin63, just wanted to let you know that here in NC we have mobile medical units. Most states have them available, and it is only for non insured patients, and they don't charge for the visit or bloodwork, and offer discounts for rxs. Go to your local public health department of social services to get info. Hope this helps!
    vernajane replied to DIYSTER's response:
    Thank you for mentioning Celiac disease. I do not seem to have it but have found I am very sensitive to gluten products, including soy. When I am strict about staying gluten free I do better in every way. I am especially careful when I travel as that is stressing my joints as well. Easy Spirit Anti-gravity shoes are all I wear anymore and with my Humira shots and a little daily Prednisone I can travel the world! I am SO grateful I found a wonderful doctor very early in my RA journey.
    vernajane replied to candeekisses's response:
    Candee. If your doctor said your dry eyes have nothing to do with RA you need to find another doctor. Look up Sjogren's syndrome on this site. It goes hand in hand with RA. My first clue when I am having an RA setback is dry nose and eyes. Slight bleeding in my nose is my "canary in the coal mine" to get extra rest or up my prednisone for a few days.
    karzola replied to kellywic's response:
    From one Kelly to another - I agree wholeheartedly that DIET plays a big part in reducing the pain and swelling that comes with RA. I am down to only 7mg of prednisone a day (started out close to 20mg about 6 months ago). I no longer eat red meat/pork/chicken (or any other 4 legged animal) - only fish or shrimp on occasion. I do stay away from gluten although I was tested and did not find a sensitivity. My head is just clearer and I'm able to focus better if I avoid it. Eating a plant based diet helps remedy so many diseases - it's too bad most MD's dont even mention diet during appointments - they just move right on to giving out pills. Best of luck to all on this site - RA pain can be debilitating - I hope you all find the releif to help you manage your pain.

    Helpful Tips

    Dry eyes and dry mouthExpert
    Patients with RA may develop dryness of the eyes and mouth due to a condition called secondary Sjogrens Syndrome. The dryness is due to ... More
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