Managing the Pain and Joint Damage of Severe, Chronic RA

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When you work on the Verrazano-Narrows, one of the biggest suspension bridges in the world, the cold temperatures and heavy lifting can really take a toll on your body. Construction worker John Melendez thought the pain and swelling he was experiencing in his hands, arms, and legs were just side effects of his job. Eventually, the pain became so severe that the 52-year-old Staten Island resident was unable to work at all. “My fingers were so swollen that I couldn’t bend them,” Melendez recalls. “I couldn’t even walk.”

When he finally went to see Jonathan Samuels, MD, an attending prednisone. rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. “It’s a big difference,” he says. “I guess I’m never going to be 100%, where I say there’s no pain. But compared to what it was in the beginning, it’s like 90% better.” After taking a short break from work, he says he feels well enough to get back on the job.