Arthritis Action
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Osteoarthritis help

Hello, I am new to this site. I am 54 and have had osteoarthritis since I was 48. It started in my right thumb for which I underwent a trapeziectomy, then the left thumb where the joint swelled so bad that I had to undergo a thumb fusion, I have mutliple back vertebrae affected along with my neck, shoulders (for which I receive joint injections) , my right elbow, left hip, both knees (I had an arthoscopy on the right) both hannds and fingers and both my big toes. I am currently in absolute agony which has come from a very bad flare up starting 6-months ago. I work for the NHS and have been signed off from work since May; they are now considering retiring me off due to ill-health. I panicked and thought about my mortgage which I have to pay until I am 65; I have applied for PIP and pray that it is sucessful. When my back goes into "spasm" I have to use crutches or walking stick, the problem with this is that now my hands, elbows and shoulder are so bad I canot weight bear on my crutches/walking stick. Does anyone know how I can get round this problem? And how do you cope financially if you cannot work?

6 Replies

morning Karen, how are you doing at the moment? I am same age as you and have been suffering with my thumbs, although now I have hip pain too, I previously had surgery for disc problems in my neck but didn't know it was associated with the arthritis,, and now, have injections in my right shoulder and am awaiting surgery for arthritic nodules and calcification, which should be happening very soon, I have been prescribed buprenorphine 10mg patches and tablets for additional pain relief at night I am not working right now as I am carer for my husband so do try and push my problems aside (as you do) I keep myself as active as I possibly can walking on a treadmill daily although I suspect this is not helping my hip pain,,, im so scared of my mobility being impaired, could I ask what medication help you have and if the arthroscopy actually worked ? bb61.


Hi, in answer to your question re medications, I take Naproxen along with Amitriptyline and Paracetamols and when they don't work I add Coedine. When my back goes into "spasm" I take Diazepam 5mgs three times per day; but as my condition has gotten worse, the more pain killers I take the more it makes me confused and forgetful which is now affecting my job and after subsequent meetings with my managers it has been decided that they will now have to retire me off early due to my ill-health which is where the added financial worry comes into play for me! The arthroscopy that I had done on my knee has been sucessful but all the operations I endured on my thumbs, although sucessful short term but have not been successful long term, although that could quite possibly have a lot to do with the nature of my job and my stubborness to not give in to my disease in favour of keep on going, but pain has put paid to that! I currently am undergoing counselling to try to learn that I have to accept my disease and the reduced mobility that goes with it and learn to slow down and ask for and accept help! Which is hard as it goes against my nature of always having been a hard working and active person. Incidentally I too have a treadmill but cannot use it when my back is playing up so it just a case of little and often when able to - do not overowrk your hip as remember that any type of arthritis pain comes from bone grinding on bone so you will aggravate and make it worse - do not cease this exercise but just be mindful of your limits.


thanks for your reply, you sound like me lol,,, trying not to give in, ive been down the route of amitriptyline etc, I was on codeine for a long time but the pain in my shoulder neck became so unbearable that the gp prescribed me with buprenorphine 10mg patches change once a week ( just this morning have a new one) and sublingual tablets 200micrograms for night time cos by then my hips are agony, I myself worked as a community carer with social services for many years hence the spine injury and am so stubborn when it comes to slowing down , im not really coming to terms with the pain lack of mobility that comes with this illness. I am hoping the operation on my shoulder will help im being as optimist as I can , its an awful thing when all that can be offered is pain relief, when I went on long term sick (after my discectomy) my employers were brilliant, I had full pay for 6 months then half pay for another 6 months by then I was ready to return to work, its very difficult now to get sickness benefits I wish you luck, its all such a worry, bb x


Thank you. I think that the key is when you undergo an operation is to not overdo it when it feels all better. I have been a medical secretary in my local hospital for the last 6-years and the pressure of audio typing and minute taking has taken it's toll on my hands, elbows, shoulders, neck and spine, along with the fact that after each op i thought "wow this is great I can now do all the things I used to - Not! You have to respect the repair and not push yourself. Take care of yourself. Kx

1 like

Hi Karen, I'm 49 and have some sort of arthritis confirmed in my feet, ankles, knees, hip (which was replaced last year), shoulder, wrists, hands and jaw, and suspected in my neck and back too. It mostly looks like OA/degeneration - or at least it did at first, but last November some erosive changes were also spotted in my hands, so now some sort of inflammatory arthritis is also being considered. Also, it turns out that a lot of my pain has actually been caused by tendinopathy - I have had long standing tendon disease that has now caused lumps and bumps to grow and my hands and feet to start deforming... I am seeing the rheumatologist again next week, but from what I understand, early onset multi-site OA doesn't usually happen for no reason, so if it happens to you, it may be a sign that either the diagnosis was wrong, or that you have some sort of underlying connective tissue disease. These need treating differently from OA, so it is important to push for investigations including blood tests to check for inflammatory markers and ultrasound scans to look for inflammation that might not be visible...

As for work, I do still work, but have been part time for the last few years. That's a good way to manage your 'work-life balance' and be able to rest enough, do exercise, etc. I find swimming and aqua fit fantastic - I can't do much on dry land, but I can do much more in water, and it doesn't hurt!

It's a depressing, difficult thing to be living with. I have thought about counselling, though I haven't done anything about it yet... Good luck!


Hello Flow4, I like you have gone through the transition of cutting down my working hours gradually over the last six years to my last post just being 18.5 hours per week! I suspected that something was perhaps missed in my diagnosis and have undergone blood tests for inflamation, which sometimes comes back as high and on repitition settled again. I also suffer with Psoriasis so they investigated Psoriatic Arthritis, again no link. I finally had an MRI on just my hands and wrists recently whcih showed de-generation of the joints in my hands along with some synovitis. I am due to see my Rheumatologist again the end of this month but I think that the diagnosis of de-generative osteoarthritis will stick. My working life is unfortunately now over as my wrists are so painful and unstable now that my keyboard skills (I am a medical secretary) are no pretty naff! I do find that the counselling really helps me to put things into perspective and I would recomend it.


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