Diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the spine

Hi all,

Just found this site after doing the search for answers that I guess so many others do when diagnosed with arthritis 😩

I've just been diagnosed with spinal osteoarthritis at the grand old age of 30, me I guess I'm just keen to hear from anyone who can offer any advice.

I've gone from being physically very fit to lacking strength, problems bending, walking, standing, siting, sleeping and everything in between.

I've been referred to a pain clinic ( don't quite know what that is exactly )

And at present I am prescribed naproxen, cocodamol, and tramadol.

21 Replies

  • Hi Rrob86

    Welcome to the group, iv had spinal osteoarthritis for over 6yrs now being diagnosed at 35, iv been on so many tablets over the yrs then last yr I needed an operation, the pain clinic will help u control ur pain from ur mindset to medication and therapy only they can provide, if I cud offer any advice from experience it wud b to keel ur medication intake small as they cause problems themselves, iv a stomach ulcer caused by the naproxen and issues with my kidneys and liver from all the meds, I wud also suggest a good chiropractor, iv had so much help and ease with mine, its a slow process but definitely worth trying, they are experts in the spine, the nerves etc

  • Hi silleecharle,

    Thanks for the advise I will definitely take it on board

    How has your OA impacted on your life since being diagnosed?

  • Massively, im not the same person I was, I was very fit and active, had a great social life with a big circle of friends, I worked, looked after my kids and paid my bills, as a single parent I prided myself on this, fast forward 6yrs, iv lost my job because of my illness, iv no social life and ppl tend to then disappear from ur life, my kids missed out because school holidays wen family's took day trips I wud b in bed in horrendous pain, medication has caused alot of weight gain which causes other ailments, now I will say that in the last 6mths iv took massive steps to help myself, im now medication free, my choice and I feel a lot better for it plus the chiropractor is helping massively, it's a long road but there is help out there ☺

  • Hi,

    I'm sorry to hear that you've suffered so much, but it's good to hear that after all that you have been through that you remain positive and optimistic for the future.

    I posted earlier that my occupational health assessment didn't exactly go to plan so feeling a little deflated at the moment but trying to look on the bright side getting the right support in place and at least I have some time off without any pressure to get back to work so that I can get to grips with OA.

    Also it's really good to hear that your off the painkillers

    Thanks for replying again

    Stay strong


  • Strong will and a mindset will help you deal with your problem? Not easy no I did say it was easy, medical text book theory is OK. Up to point, pain clinics first time round worth listening to, but remember this, every one attending has a different problem, no matter how good the physiotherapy is, he or she is not bearing your pain. One (big) thing that is not talked about in the medical profession to my knowledge! is me time, to take an hour or so out of a busy life, just to relax and do an non exhausting activity, so one can try and smooth away some of that pain pressure, after 45. years I have had too develop what is good for me, this just not mean I don't sky rock off the silly out of one to ten test hospital give you. how can one access a ten when you have gone completely of the scale. Best wishes.

  • Hi sorry you are in so much pain. That's a lot of pain killers to take. I have suffered from OA for quite a few years mainly in my hands. Last year I was referred to a rheumytolagist to see if it was RA not just OA due to lumps on my fingers and puss in them. And also started to get pain in other joints. After many blood tests and ultrasound I was dx with psoriatic arthritis too. And have probably had it for many years. Being told it was just OA. I know of people in there 20s and younger with arthritis there is no age limit sad to say. I take tablets for the PsA to slow down the progression and cocodamol for the pain. But don't like to take to many of the cocodamol because I don't want to get addictive to them have you tried other things for the pain like heat and exersice I find them a great help.

  • Hi sorry to hear about the ongoing problems that you have I hope that you are coping well.

    I have tried physio therapy which I had for about 6 months, like I say I only recently found out that I have OA, and I only found out through injuring my back.

    I basically lifted to much weight at work and was in agony for months after so was referred for physio and when I showed no improvement I was sent for an MRI.

    My mri results showed that I have herniated l4/5 and l5/s1, thickening of my left exit nerve from the herniated discs pushing on the nerve.

    But then it also showed I have degeneration of my facet joints and of vertebraes and degenerate disc disease all the way through my lumber spine and straightening of the curvature of my lumber spine.

    After I got the results my doctor has now requested another MRI of my thoracic and cervical spine because she's concerned that it may also be in the rest of my spine

    But I do find that heat does help a lot but as soon as you take heat away the pain soon creeps back

    Thanks again for replying 😊

  • Rrob86 Hi, & welcome. I was 32 when diagnosed with Osteoarthritus of both hips & Lumber Spine, I was shocked to say the least as was working & 4 children along the way, in 1994 & had to go till 1997 & a replacement hip & 1999 for the other.A consultant did not believe I had it until he tried to bend my knee's to my chest , he soon realized I was in pain when I threatened him not to dare try & then he realized. Honestly I can't remember any pain killers just in agony as was diagnosed to young he said for any ops. All I wish now is I had pain relief then as now have RA amongst other issues, just keep strong & have a go at the pain clinic. Hopefully everything will go okay.

  • Hi LaLa67 out of interest how did your diagnosis come about did you suffer an injury which lead to it or was it the progression of pain and immobility that lead you to believe that there was something wrong,

    I was diagnosed after injury my back at work ( too much heavy lifting )

    But the more I think about it the more I realise that there was a lot of signs for me for quite a few years leading up to now

    Thanks again for your reply and I hope that your are doing well 😊

  • Hi Rrob86, well I was working & my knee kept giving way & also pain too it was my left knee that hurt, as I couldn't go on anymore I went to see the doctor who listened to everything & then had a blood test. A week later I was called back to see her & she said that she was so sorry but I had Osteoarthritus. I was quite shocked by this & she sent me to a pain clinic at first. I had acupuncture in my knee but was making it worse to the effect that the nurse said it wasn't helping & that was when I saw a consultant, my left knee I thought was the problem by he said it was my spine & opposites which I did not understand. So in fact the right hip was bad not the left hip & of course it's taken until 2013/14 to have the knees replaced but right hip replacement in 1997 "had to wait as too young" in 1994. And yes I was lifting weights too.The company I worked for said there wasn't another suitable job & medically retired me! As I was lifting heavy things & had kept a record of all the weights I wanted to take them to a tribunal but was told I would have to have more proof than that, so I just gave up.

    I'm not too bad thank you, like everyone on here just keeping my head above water now.☺️

  • Hi guys,

    Thanks for all your comments and sharing your own experiences it's nice to not feel so alone as I don't personally know anyone with the same condition.

    At the moment I seem to spend most of my time constantly worrying and thinking if I am this bad now then how will I be in 10 years, every doctor I have spoken to just seem shocked that I have this at my age, I have been told I need surgery but also that I should attempt to avoid it for as long as possible.

    My biggest worry at the moment though is if I am going to be able to continue working, and that I have two young children a 1 year old and a 6 year old and what impact my condition will have on their lives

  • Hi Rrob86

    I'm sorry to hear your in a lot of pain unfortunately it goes with the diagnosis. Id go alone to the pain clinic its a start. its common to have stiffness and sleeping problems. I find going swimming helps just floating in the water takes the pressure off the joints and for a little while you feel your in heaven. I relax as much as possible do meditation and simply get on with life as much as you can. Do what you can when you can and be kind to your self and have a rest when you cant do anything else. Try and find an Arthritis Association that can be helpful and you feel less isolated when you know others are in the same boat. Gentle hugs coming your way take care.


  • Hi Rrob86 I am attending a Living well Workshop at the moment run by Arthritis care for people with long term condition. Have a look on ther web site and see if the have something in your area I would recommend them. They are free and you get plenty of coffee/tea and biscuits.

  • Hi everyone,

    Thanks again to all of you that have replied and shared your experiences, you have all helped in so many ways.

    I have an appointment tomorrow with occupational health with my employer, I had one a few months ago before being diagnosed with OA which I just about managed to scrape through, I almost felt they were reluctant to allow me to carry on working.

    To be honest I'm a little nervous for the appointment tomorrow though as having now received a diagnosis amongst the other problems that were found when I had an MRI.

    I work on the railway and the medicals are very strict so I almost have a sinking feeling that tomorrow will not go well.

    Has anyone else experienced occupational health assessments with their employers?

  • I have followed with interest all your posts. I have been on all the painkillers, paid fortunes to spinologists, chiropractors, acupuncturists etc, you get the pic! My diagnosis was very similar except not caused by lifting weights. Slipped discs playing sports. I was in my late thirties with 3 children. Crippled, worried sick about future. Based on above synopsis I just want to let you know I was able to recover fully,in time, without meds. Back dancing, playing tennis in my 40s to 50s. Knocked all back out again gardening with ride-on and having to empty grass box. Another year of getting better ---that was 8 yrs ago. All I can do is tell you what worked and hope some suggestions might be of benefit. Firstly the future is unknown so worry creates tension which tightens those painful muscles. Let go and concentrate on today. You owe that to yourself for a start! The least pressure on your spine is what one is aiming for. It is like an injured limb but much more as its the body support system. In bed, the pillow between the knees on your side,or a small flattened towel tied to the small of your back. Whatever creates the least pain. At the kitchen sink, open the cupboard door and put a foot up on shelf, whichever releases pain. A revolving car pad eases back getting into car, and a back support is essential whatever made from. A massage chair"fitting"with various controls was definitely my top life healer. All those bought in Llydl. No couches, bring in a straight back chair. Daily --- hourly, think posture. Straight against a wall, bend knees and gently press hollow of back against wall. In physio the two exercises stretching spine on ground from hunched position I can remember was such an enormous hurdle to do . I hope this helps you but it is slow and frustrating ----but our "core" muscles when you are able to work on them after all this is over,are what is now supporting our Crocked spines! Just focus on today.😉👌

  • Hi 1goldie,

    It's great to hear that you managed to make a full recovery, and I'll take all of your suggestions on board.

    I'm also hoping to make the best recovery that I possibly can I'm due to see a surgeon next month to discuss my options as I'm told I need surgery to remove the two herniated discs that have ddd and are basically breaking up, then that should relieve my left exit nerve and give me strength and sensation back.

    I know it's not ideal and surgery is not the route that I would like to take. But I've been told that if I don't have surgery I may loose all strength in my left leg. As it is at the moment my left leg is weak and numb so it's obviously heading that way.

    But then hopefully I could get to grips with dealing with the OA if all went well with surgery ( big if I know )

    Anyway all the best and I hope you are well and stay well and pain free and thanks again for replying

  • Hi all and thanks again for all your comments and support.

    So I had my occupational health assessment today and I have been deemed unfit for work.

    Feeling a little upset that I've basically been thrown on the scrap heap but then in another way I feel a little relieved that there's no pressure for me to force myself back to work too soon.

    Occupational health are going to see me again in 6-8 weeks and see how I'm getting on and what the outcome is from the MRI of my cervical and thoracic spine which I should be having within the next few weeks.

    Thanks once again for sharing all of your experiences and giving me great advice.

  • Hi joywa,

    Remove your post please it's blatantly offensive to others,

    There is no cure for aid/hiv or cancer and you giving out an email address to some random fraudster who claims to be able to cure those diseases is absolutely appalling.

    Preying on the vunerable

    YOU MAKE ME SICK!!!!!!!!

  • IS THIS A JOKE !!! ?

    Why hasn't this post been removed ?

    How on earth can this be allowed to remain on the forum !!! ?

    I am appalled !!!

  • Hi I agree with you I have reported it a few times . I belong to a few HU sites. The only sites that have quite a few admin is the quit support and BLF on those sites posts like this would not be up for very long.

  • Hi I was diagnosed with OA in my neck and more severe in my lumbar spine in Nov 2016. When it flares up in the lower spine I go stooped and cannot straighten up for 5/6 days. This happens 2/3 times a month!!!! not good!!! I am on tramadol but only try and take them when I am in severe pain i.e. stooped as they cause other problems like not going to the toilet so in more pain with that. Senakot doesn't help so the doctor has give me some sachets to mix with water when I take a lot of tramadol.

    I really sympathise with you as I am only 55 and feel like my life as I knew it has ended. It revolves around being able to do things when I'm not stooped and in severe pain.

    I am going to pain relief in mid April and hoping for great things from that. Hopefully to get an alternative to tramadol as they make me so drowsy and don't fully take the pain away.

    I was referred to physio but because I have no idea when I am going to be stooped she has sacked me saying there is nothing more she can do for me!!! I go to bed upright and wake up stooped!!!

    I also have just been finished on Medical grounds from my part-time job as I work in a supermarket and physically cannot do the job or any other at the moment.

    Many people are suggesting a chiropractor o this site so I am going to look into that. Hey I'll give anything a go as long as it relieves the pain. Not sure the stoopedness will go as its caused by my muscles going into spasm when the OA flares up and that's the way my body deals with it.

    Anyway good luck to you and I hope you find some pain relief soon.

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