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Can arthritis strike overnight?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
We have so many medically-savvy people here -- can anyone tell me whether it's possible to suddenly develop arthritis in a particular area overnight?

I woke up day before yesterday with pain in my upper back, just below the neck, and it's very distinctly joint pain rather than muscular. At first, I thought I'd just slept wrong (I hardly ever sleep right, actually), but two days later, the pain remains.

I don't have a fever or headache, so I'm not thinking spinal meningitis. Even if this is arthritis, I don't know what I could do about it anyway -- I guess I'm just curious! Any ideas?
post #2 of 14
At this point it could be anything. I suggest you take some ibprofen on a full stomach, and do some gentle stretches.
post #3 of 14
I have arthritis in my neck and it hurts everyday. Some days are worse than others. It really bothers me when we have weather coming in. It travels up my neck into my head and gives me migrane headaches. So, my question is do you have weather coming in that would aggrevate it right now? I hope that you don't have arthritis and you feel better soon.
post #4 of 14
Rheumatoid arthritis can definitely strike overnight. Or close to it. That's how it happened to my grandmother, and how it happened to me. However, it usually strikes pairs of joints on both sides of the body - both wrists, toes on both sides, etc.

There is a blood test that can be done to tell if you have it, but if the test is negative, it doesn't mean you DON'T have it, if you know what I mean.

I hope your neck feels better!
post #5 of 14
Also, most people by the time they're in their 40s, have some DDD. Many walk around with it and never know until some little injury sets off the pain. Of course you can have DDD/DJD a lot earlier too - mine started in when I was 14.
With me, I'd be fine for weeks and then suddenly have a bad backache. The ""fine for weeks" slowly turned to "fine for a couple days".
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Strange_wings, I know DJD = Degenerative Joint Disease, but what's DDD?

I felt really, really awful yesterday in a nebulous, generalized way that I can't even describe... but today, I feel considerably better, and the pain is far less focused than it was. I sure hope it's going away for good.

I'm not sure what was going on, but I really appreciate everybody's input! Thanks so much!
post #7 of 14
DDD = Degenerative Disc Disease. Usually goes along with DJD. As people age the discs that cushion between their vertebrae do as well, some rupture (herniate), others may be lucky and only get small tears, and some lose disc height as the disc basically dries up. There's a bit more to it then that though.
Keeping one's back and neck muscles in good shape is one way to help prevent it. Not doing stupid stuff to injure one's self is another.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
...Not doing stupid stuff to injure one's self...
Hey, now there's a philosophy I can get behind!

Y'know what -- I think the problem was my pillowcase! I use two pillows stacked, and the other night, I tried one of my mom's fancy satin pillowcases on the top one. It was slippery, and it kept sliding off the other pillow while I was asleep, so I'd wake up and the whole pillow assembly would be squished between the headboard and the top of my head.

I'm figuring it was that downward pressure that compressed my spine and caused the pain -- because I put on a plain old cotton pillowcase last night, and today I feel fine.

That'll teach me to try to get fancy!
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Hey, now there's a philosophy I can get behind!

Y'know what -- I think the problem was my pillowcase! I use two pillows stacked, and the other night, I tried one of my mom's fancy satin pillowcases on the top one. It was slippery, and it kept sliding off the other pillow while I was asleep, so I'd wake up and the whole pillow assembly would be squished between the headboard and the top of my head.

I'm figuring it was that downward pressure that compressed my spine and caused the pain -- because I put on a plain old cotton pillowcase last night, and today I feel fine.

That'll teach me to try to get fancy!
Them satin linens aren't for everyday sleeping, if you know what I mean...

Let's face it, Carol. We are that age.
post #10 of 14
My neck isn't that bad yet, but bad pillow sure set it off. More of an instability issue. I use a memory foam contour pillow on top of another pillow - that helps a lot. I suggest you try one if you can use them, and whenever you travel take your own pillow.
Back in January when I was in the hospital overnight, they provided one thin dinky little pillow. That combined with the bed (and them repeatedly taking blood) was torture. So are far as pain goes, it definitely helps to be in a good bed.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
We have so many medically-savvy people here -- can anyone tell me whether it's possible to suddenly develop arthritis in a particular area overnight?

I woke up day before yesterday with pain in my upper back, just below the neck, and it's very distinctly joint pain rather than muscular. At first, I thought I'd just slept wrong (I hardly ever sleep right, actually), but two days later, the pain remains.

I don't have a fever or headache, so I'm not thinking spinal meningitis. Even if this is arthritis, I don't know what I could do about it anyway -- I guess I'm just curious! Any ideas?
Carol, I am afraid I am going to answer your question YES because it recently happened to me in my hand. I just woke up one day and it was there and it has not went away in about two months. My wife tries to console me with "we're just getting older" but that didn't help me a bit, needless to say. I can tell you it IS arthritis and I could have never imagined it could have came on so suddenly. Oh well, this is something they can't blame Persi for! For my hand I found something that really helps a lot or else I would not even be typing this; a hand squeezer that I use throughout the day, it could be something as simple as a rubber ball, anything that will get you to exercise that area. My reply to your question only relates to MY experience and may not in any way be related to your experience. Best of luck.
post #12 of 14
I have rheumatoid arthritis. Apparently I have had it for years and never knew. When my body decided to tell me it seemed to me it just struck overnight.

Knowing what I know now my best advice to anyone who thinks they have it is to see a rheumatologist. The key to controlling the disease is to stop the progression of joint damage.
post #13 of 14
Carol, I don't have time to read the responses right now but wanted to write. You've been losing weight, right? Relax! Your body is adjusting to the changes! Take some Advil (or whatever helps you) and ride it out for a few more days. Trust me! Bones and joints have to readjust to the changes in weight. Hope it's better very soon!
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Oh my gosh -- I just now found that I had gotten all these wonderful new replies, thank you guys so much! It does seem like I'm having a new pain every few days (today's is lower-back), so I'm afraid I have to admit that I am indeed At That Age. I just hope it's not rheumatoid!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Persi & Alley View Post
...My reply to your question only relates to MY experience and may not in any way be related to your experience.
And it's not valid in Iowa or where prohibited by law? Gosh, Lee, I didn't know you were a lawyer!
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