hand cramps | Arthritis Information


I suffer from severe hand cramps.  I get them all the time, but mostly in the morning.  I can't put makeup on or anything else.  Sometimes I got out to lunch and they cramp and I can't hold the fork.  It hurts so bad.  My hands curl up and it's hard to get them straightened out.   I've talked to me RA and PCP about it and pretty much dismiss it.  Once they prescribed quinine pills but it was so expensive.

Is this an RA thing?  Do any of you have this?  If so, PLEASE tell the the remedy. 


I had terrible hand cramps that happened during the night (so that I couldn't open up the hand completely for hours upon awakening) when my disease was really active.  Haven't had any problems since MTX and Plaq have done their trick.  For me it was definitely RA.  In fact I didn't put it together until after they stopped when the meds finally kicked in.  In those first few months I discovered LOTS of things that were RA, but I didn't know it at the time.

What meds are you on? 



Hi Susan,

I had and still have very bad flares in the hands where they would and still do cramp up and lock up and I too cannot even hold a fork - It is better now that I am on methotrexate and Humira (I also take morphine for the pain).

Do not give up and find yourself a good Rheumatologist that will work with you and will listen to you and sympathize with you. If you are being dismissed by your doctors look for another doctor who will take you seriously!

Your friend, Michelle

ohmygod, my hands are terrible. i can't stand it! they're always crampy & achy. during the night i wake up because they hurt so much and they've already curled up and i can't straighten them. when i wake up it's the worst. sometimes when i wake up a few of my fingers make this popping noise when i force them in a fist and force them back to normal. it hurts like the devil and sometimes i'd rather chop my hands off !  it's def the RA and my rheumy told me today that after 7 mo's of being on med's, she wants to add prednisone and up my mtx dosage. good times, man... good times.

my best goes out to you.


Pain like you're describing should never, never be dismissed. How utterly heartless. And, I've had it happen to me. I agree that you need better doctors. I also think that it may be time to have a neurologist do an evaluation. They did on me early on because of hand pain and problems walking.

But my hands have never cramped and popped like that.

Since I've been reading up on neck and spine problems as I'm waiting for my neck xrays, I am discovering that a high percentage of people are affected in their cervical spine and the symptoms are problems with the hands and their balance.

As a minimum, your doctor should be doing xrays of your hands and your neck.

As far as some things to make your hands more comfortable in the mean time, try the parafin baths. They really help because the heat goes deep. Do it morning and night. Also, consider getting wrist braces to wear at night or if you are lifting things. I used to sleep on my hands, which only made it worse.

Medicines are keep though and if they are not treating your underlying illness correctly that is a serious problem.

You cannot let this go by. Damage to your hands can quickly become permanent and deforming.

Answers must be sought. If your doctors won't do it, find someone who will. You owe to yourself. You are not being unreasonable. They are.

I apologize in advance to those who have heard this before from me...but Tonic Water has quinine in it. Drink a glass of it (on ice with a lemon twist is best) once a day and the cramps will get better. My RD suggested it and it worked right away. I had leg cramps so bad that they would jolt me out of my sleep at night. I even started having nitemares which I think was due to the anxiety of the cramps coming on. The tonic water worked wonders for me. I drank it at bedtime. A one liter bottle of walmart brand is .99 and lasts a few days. Good luck!Hand cramps, foot cramps and neck cramps can all be caused by RA. There's no reason for your doctor to dismiss it. Doesn't make him look good, that he doesn't know RA symptoms. The doctors who dismiss or ignore your pain should be fired! Really. Pain is not something to ignore You might also consider taking potassium supplements.  I take 99 mg a day and my cramping went away.  The quinine water is also cheap. 

Good luck, I hope you feel better soon.  That sounds horrible.

yeah, any rheumy that doesn't listen to you when you tell them about any pain or side effects, should def. be considered keeping around. i'm about to get a 2nd opinion on mine.

good luck-


Besides, wrist splints there are thumb splints, also that can help out alot.  there are libroderm patches that can be applied to your hands at night that can help with the pain.  12 hrs on 12 hrs off.  I have had hand pain and various other problems with my hands for a long time.  The pain is now next to nil because  of the braces and the patches.  Alot of us when we are sleeping, curl our hands up and this cuts off circulation and can cause alot of pain.    If the dr is dismissing your pain you need to see anther dr.  meme

i am awake right now due to terrible hand cramps & stiffness. i tend to unconciousily roll over on my side when i sleep. then my fingers always curl up as i'm falling asleep. after a short while my fingers are completely stiff & locked in place. it hurts so much to move them again, i hate it. i use 2 small, soft pillows on both sides of me when i sleep, to rest my hands/arms on. it helps, but does anyone have any suggestions on preventing the finger curling? i know someone mentioned hand braces, which sound like an ok idea. anyone have any more?


Some muscle rub or patches might help and if you have a pair of gloves you could put those on too. Try it, it may help.

Thank you all for your help and advice.  I'm trying vitamin E right now as my dad got really bad leg cramps and he said it really helped him.  Think I'll get a bottle of tonic water today, too.


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