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Hi disasterbk, welcome to the forum! Thank you for your post -- what encouraging news that someone felt that major of a difference in only 4 days! 25-50% reduction in pain is HUGE!
From my research, I'd have to say that the improvement you got was from the hot, dry weather and NOT from the increased elevation. In fact, increased elevation is worse for RA. Every increase in elevation decreases the absolute air pressure, so high elevation can feel like a storm is constantly approaching -- and we all know how people say they can tell when it's going to rain by the pains in their joints! I visited Albuquerque and Santa Fe last October to see if the dry weather there would help me, but I think with the higher elevation (5000' and 7000', respectively) it was a wash compared to the humidity at sea level. I felt the same way visiting Denver (5200') in the summer a couple years ago.
I posted a question on the Santa Fe forum to see if anyone knew anyone who had moved to Santa Fe and gotten relief from RA. A week later there were no posts. Finally someone wrote that they didn't know anyone, but since it got quite cold there in the winter, it might not be a good place for someone with RA. By comparison, I posted the same question here on the Phoenix forum and got multiple positive responses within HOURS of posting! That was very encouraging to me! And the good news keeps coming in! How exciting!
disasterbk -- where are you living in SoCal? I live 2 blocks from the beach in Redondo and the humidity and cool temperatures are killing me. Even tho I'm on Rituxan (an intravenous chemotherapy) and do some Pilates 4 days a week, I still deal with pain in multiple joints 24/7. I'm sure the answer CAN'T be more toxic meds, so I'm trying everything else I can outside of that.
pirate0202, I have to admit I was pretty surprised myself that I even noticed a difference in such a short time. I think everyone reacts differently to the weather changes. I also believe you were right about the improvement being temp and humidity related rather than elevation. One thing that I have noticed in Socal (Irvine) is that when I am driving up and down through the foothills I can feel the change of pressure and it causes more pain. Over there since it was fairly flat I didnt have that same experience driving around, which was a nice plus. Whenever we have increased humidity or drops in temperature here I feel like my joints are on fire, so I am in the same boat as you. I was on Methotrexate and Enbrel for several months and unfortunately the side effects were making me quite sick. I asked my doctor for alternatives and wound up switching to an Antibiotics Therapy, and went off all the nastier drugs. With a high dose (200mg) of Minocycline per day I am able to keep everything in check and avoid any more damage. Just wanted to offer it up as an option since it seems like the toxic meds are bothering you too. Thanks for welcoming me to the forum as well.
disasterbk, I'm amazed that you can feel the pressure difference while driving in the foothills. I live near the beach where it's flat, but drive up into the hills of Palos Verdes for work and haven't noticed the change in elevation making a difference... I figured I just felt worse when I was at work -- doesn't everyone?!! LOL
Over the past 18 years I've been on almost every medicine there is for RA at one point or another (except the 2 newest ones, Cimzia and Orencia.) Some worked for a while and then decreased in effectiveness or caused me major side effects. Some didn't work at all. I tried Minocycline (Minocin) for about 5 months and it made me way WORSE -- to the point where I had to take 12.5 mg of prednisone every day just to function. Ug. Now the Rituxan I'm on is already losing effectiveness; it should last for 6 months but it's only been 3, and I've only been feeling mediocre for those 3. A couple years ago it used to make me feel like like a super hero! I'd give anything to have that feeling back again.
I plan to move to Phoenix in mid-October, and that can't come soon enough for me.
disasterbk, I'm amazed that you can feel the pressure difference while driving in the foothills.
I plan to move to Phoenix in mid-October, and that can't come soon enough for me.
That reaction to a pressure difference doesn't surprise me. All my life I've gotten headaches any time dramatic barometric pressure occurs. No matter where I live. When I was still a kid, I used to amaze my family members by being able to tell them when it was going to rain. Now I know why I can do that. Here in Arizona, I have terrible headaches at the beginning and end of the monsoon season. People here use the bloom of a Texas Ranger bush as a sign of the monsoon -- I can tell when the Texas Ranger is going too break out in its purple flowers. Why couldn't I have a talent that's worth something?
All the best to you with your move. I hope it helps your situation.
I live in Minnesota and have suffered with Rheumatoid Arthritis for years. We have sold our house and will be moving to Arizona by the end of the year! Not sure exactly where - probably Phoenix area. This is my last chance at being pain free! I'm really looking forward to nice hot weather!!
Hi everyone! Thanks again for all your comments!
marce -- good luck with your move and be sure to let us know how you're doing on this thread when you get there. I will do the same.
AnnK78 -- Where are you living? What is the chronic illness you have that causes inflammation in your joints? Are the allergens specific to the region you live in? Have you gotten any relief when you've traveled away from home? Thanks for any specifics you can give us!
First of all, a big THANK YOU to everyone who has posted on this thread and others on City-Data. I've found this site invaluable in the relocation process.
2nd, I took a short trip to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area and got a great apartment near Kierland Commons. I move in in early November. I will post again a few weeks after I arrive there and let you know how I'm feeling. I have to say that even in the short 4 days I was there, I *thought* I could feel a difference - in a good way! Since RA is so variable from one day to the next, I hesitate to attribute the lessening of pain and stiffness completely to the weather, so that's why I'm going to give it 6 full months of evaluation.
I can't wait to hear from you again. I just saw my Rheumatologist today and he is extremely unhappy with my inflammation... I will be moving to Phx once my house sells and can't wait to see the improvment in my joints!
lucygirl1 -- i rented an 1156 square foot 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment in the Kierland Commons area of Scottsdale for $867 a month! It has all the things that are lacking in my current apartment -- a dishwasher, a washer and dryer inside the unit and an assigned parking space. It also has 2 heated swimming pools, a workout center, business center with free use of 2 computers, printer and fax machine, as well as free wi-fi in the clubhouse and at the main pool! I move in on Nov 9th.
This has been a long time coming for me, after a lot of research to find the right mix of climate and desirability of the city. It will be difficult to leave all my friends and the life I've built here for the past 14 years, but I'm really looking forward to the move! I had a great time while I was there for 4 days scouting out apartments.
One thing I plan on doing a lot of is swimming. lucygirl1 -- While you're waiting to sell your house, you might want to check out the YMCA in your area to see if they have a warm water pool for therapeutic exercise. I think exercise is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and I plan to make that my singular focus for the first few months of living in Phoenix.
Of all the things I've tried to help the pain and stiffness (other than traditional toxic medicines), like mega-doses of all different kinds of vitamins, acupressure, chiropractic, vegetarianism, gluten-free diet, gin-soaked raisins, etc, etc.... the only thing that has consistently helped me is exercise. When I first started an aggressive exercise program, I had to go thru 2 weeks of sheer h*ll before "breaking thru to the other side," but when I did, I had 60% improvement in pain levels!!! That is a HUGE number! The thing is that it has to be done daily and has to be of sufficient intensity to make an impact -- walking alone does NOT work. I'm talking about heavy weight-lifting, power-walking/running/hiking and serious swimming.
I have a friend who has Ankylosing Spondilitis really bad for over 15 years, but you'd never know it. (AS is basically RA of the spine.) He looks like a guy who could be on the cover of a fitness magazine, because he found the only way to keep the disease at bay is by REALLY heavy workouts -- and he is on NO medication except occasional ibuprofen. He lifts weights and runs almost every day. He told me he can miss a day or 2, but after the 3rd day, he looks and feels like a 90 year old man.
So I've been saving my money and for the first 3 months of living in Phoenix, I'm not going to look for a job, but just make exercising (and settling in to my new place) my full-time job.
Good luck to you and everyone else out there struggling with RA. May you find relief in something other than immune-suppressive drugs, which obviously are not a good long-term solution!
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