Rheumatoid Arthritis – is it pain or fatigue?


all medsI have to laugh at myself.  I have been lying here most of the morning.  Last night was an awful night.  I had to get up twice to take more pain killers.  Oxycodone, 10mg.  So I started today behind the eight ball.  Even for me.

Pain is moderate just sitting here. And climbs to severe if I actually try and use a joint.  Typing is hurting, but I need to DO something, so dear fingers, you WILL do my bidding!  And you wrists can just keep it together a little longer.

So back to laughing at myself.

I hurt. Fine. I’m used to that.  But today is a really bad fatigue day as well.  I don’t always suffer terrible fatigue.  But today I feel like my body is made of lead. My brain has been squished into a little corner of my head and the rest is full of some cottony substance.  My muscles hurt and I keep thinking of things I need to do…and then they are gone.  Whatever I should be doing right now is forever lost to the ether.

Wait! I need to buy drinking chocolate.  Best write that down.

Back to why I’m laughing at myself.  I CAN stay on topic. I CAN!!!

The fatigue.  So. Damn. Tired.

So I eat a healthy breakfast.  Bran cereal with some fruit.  Ok, stomach feels better. Settled.  Surely all that good nutrition will give me some energy.

Still tired.

Take some vitamin D.  Take some vitamin B6.  Magnesium.  Surely THOSE will make me feel a bit better?  Give me a lift?

Still. Tired.

Another hour of lying here and wondering what I should be doing.  My vision is blurring. Because I’m THAT tired?  Or is it actually my eyes failing in some way.  I should check when my ophthalmologist appointment is. It’s soon.  I know it’s soon.

But I’ll just lie here a little longer.

And have a coffee!  THAT will give me some energy.  Surely.  Strong. Black. Sweet. Coffee.  Caffeine and sugar.  That will give me the shot in the arm I need!

Snore.  Ooops.  I actually fell asleep for a while.

Ok. Take a pain killer.  It’s overdue.    I didn’t take my morning dose of oxycodone, because I took so much in the night.

I take a pain killer.  Fatigue starts to lift some.  I am sitting up now.  My head is clearing up.  I’m about to tackle that basket of washing that needs folding and putting away.  And I have done the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen.

It wasn’t really fatigue.  It was pain. It was pain that I am so used to feeling that I don’t even acknowledge it as pain anymore.  Oxycodone doesn’t treat fatigue. Opioids treat pain and can cause fatigue

But when I take opioid pain relief for my rheumatoid arthritis pain, the fatigue tends to lift.  Because for me, the fatigue is a function of pain.

I feel fatigue because my body is fighting so much pain. And it’s exhausting to be always fighting pain.  My brain can’t hold any thoughts because its busy blocking pain.

But I hate being dependent on oxycodone.  Hate it.  I know I need it, but I hate any sort of dependence.  And that is what is at the core of my bouts of depression. Being dependent.

Dependent on people. Dependent on drugs.  Especially dependent on opioids.

I have always been a very independent person.  I have always been the kind of person that helped others.  I always had the capacity to carry others with me.  I could always fill in the gaps. Because I had tonnes of energy and got 25 hours out of every day.

And now I’m the opposite of that.  And I have no one to carry me.

But I DO have my oxycodone.


  1. That’s fascinating – awful for you but still fascinating, although I’m not sure that’s the right thing to say! It had just never occurred to me that fatigue could be a function of pain in the way that you describe – but actually now you mention it, it kind of rings true for me too when I’m having a bad flare. I really, really hope things start to pick up for you soon!

    • Thanks Polly. Today is a better day. It can be so hard to sort through this mess…what’s causing what. Trial and error..and make the most of the good days!

  2. WOW I’m in tears this is exactly what I go through every single day since July 30th of this year which was the day after my 32 birthday. But my story has one difference not one of my Dr’s has given me any type of opioid only lyrica which does nothing on my pain and feel if they were giving me some type of pain killer to take when I get to the point I just feel like I’m losing my mind from so much pain and feel completely unable to function properly or even care for my 2 young boys that I stay home with. Some days I have to call/text/fb my friends to see if any of them can come help me till my husband gets home from work because I get so bad some days I don’t feel comfortable being alone with my children in case I were to pass out from the pain or extreme fatigue. I cry all the time just praying one day I will get the relief I so desperately want even if it is temporary , I just want to be the playful pain free mommy my boys deserve and used to have , now I’m just a grouch and have zero quality of life and just don’t know what to do about making my Dr’s understand I am in serious chronic pain and need something else !!


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