osteoarthritis flare up or what???

hi everybody who reads this.to be honest I'm desperate for help and want to share my story thus far and see if anyone has been or in similar situation.my health generally not brilliant,have long time dizzy problem,neck,knee and hip osteoarthritis but all my health managed by myself.im 60 by the way.up until 2 mths ago I walked 40 miles a week,swam 3 times wk,did exercise classes,and cycled.cant work due to dizzys,but live on savings.wanted money out house as alone,divorced etc.sold house,exchanged contracts,then fell broke toe,had to continue moving as had to leave house,forward sale fell through but managed to get son to share 1 bed flat with me.near on killed myself lifting boxes etc with bad toe..anyway started to get bad shoulder sharp pains,told it was muscle.and since then has got to the point where is stabbing pain,cant leave home,bent double or with arms in the air only way I can move.total agony like I have knife stuck in me.cut long story short got to see private orthopaedic specialist as got little private insurance then will just use my house money and he said that hes accessed old scan and that yes I have degenerative osteo in neck which I know about but just get on with,and would get a mri scan,which I had done last week and awaiting return appointment as hes on holiday at mo.in meantime I'm crippled in total agony,sharp stabbing pain in shoulders and lump and sore neck,its the stabbing pain that's horrendous.take ibruprofen,codeine etc etc but makes me ill and fell dreadfull and doesn't stop pain.went a and e last week and was in there for 8 hours and all they wanted to make sure was that I wasn't having a heart attack,if I go again was told they would just do same thing.i ring the 111 service up nearly every day just to log my calls in case I just die here.drama queen?maybe but pain just makes you desperate,gp is as good as a chocolate teapot.anyway sorry for long post,anyone had similar situation?8 weeks ago I was fine,now all sudden disabled and in agony.its strange that osteo could just do that in 2 mths?? thankyou for reading..

11 Replies

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  • What a miserable state of affairs for you!

    Is it possible that you strained or sprained yourself when you were packing? Either or both of these can very painful with a substantial impact on your day to day activities and sometimes muscles, tendons, and ligaments can be trickier to heal than some fractures. The MRI should show whether this happened as it will pick up soft tissue problems in addition to providing an up to date snapshot of the state of your bones.

    Assuming that you're having a neck scan in addition to your shoulder, it's possible that degenerative osteoarthritis has caused some changes that are now compressing nerves or other structures that are contributing to this new pain and set of restrictions.

    It sounds like you're very wise to check out this new pain. Is there another GP in the practice that you can consult about adequate pain relief while you're waiting for the follow-up with the orthopaedic specialist? Have you had a referral to a physiotherapist for advice on maintaining as much of a range of movement as you can? Are you someone who responds well to the regular use of heat or ice on the painful areas?

    Good luck for your follow-up and I hope that there is a clear treatment plan for you.

  • As a general note to the above, there might be all sorts of contributions to this new pain - I'd hope that the specialist would be able to recommend appropriate further investigations to your GP to check these other possible causes.

  • thankyou for your reply,im really on my own with this as doctor just happy to get me drugged up to the nines and that doesn't help.yes I had mri of neck and shoulder.just playing a waiting game now and praying the consultant is a good one and doesn't rob me of all my house sale money,but would give it away to just get a diagnosis and help to get a bit better...I had plans to go travelling on my own and do camping etc...it seems weird that I'm having stabbing pains to this extent after its just flaring up in weeks.ive been so fit up to that point.now I cant hold a cup of tea without pain or leave flat as if I did I would have to crawl on all 4s which is crazy.people would just think I'm mental or high on crack cocaine or escaped from the circus!!! humour is my only asset at the moment,sadly I have no boyfriend in which to lean on as I was far too happy being a loner.will post again when I find out more and I'm useless with technology or I would go on forums and get to chat to people.thankyou and take care

  • You say that your Dr wants to drug you up to your eye balls, but sometimes this may be a good idea. 4 years ago I was on lots of different codeine for osteoarthritis my gp retired and my new GP put on fentanyl patches which are basically morphine but within weeks I was able to live life to the full again. This continued until April this year when I managed to break my pelvis in 2 places and a hairline fracture of my spine which a scan confirmed that I had osteoporosis and I am having to take ill health retirement due in the nature of my job working with special needs teenage students who can be violent and it was deemed to be unsafe for me to work there. I am still on the fentanyl patches quite a low dose and I am slowly getting my mobility back. The patches take away most of the pain and consequently I am able to do gentle exercises like swimming and kayaking which I wouldn't be able to do without it. I hope that this helps

  • Agreed, sometimes pain management is very helpful because it allows us to keep our range of movement and remain active.

    Nothing to add to your piece except, Hello from a fellow kayaker! :) Sea for preference for me - occasional white water - mostly limited to flat :)

    It sounds like it was a surprise for you to learn about the osteoporosis. Are you on the Bone Health forum here for the osteoporosis?

  • Like me I am now limited to flat water although I would like to try sea kayaking as I only live 8 miles from the sea but my son was into white water. I also have the dilemma of until May I was the driver so had help with loading and unloading the kayak. Then he passed his driving test and I have been made redundant as I can't do the white water. So now advertising on sites for a paddling buddy

  • How lovely to be 8 miles from the sea - I hope there are so groups who go out regularly that you can go out with (depending on the conditions).

    I'm fortunate in living near to a canal - I'd rather be on the sea but at least I can get out regularly and the conditions are never a problem (just hapless narrowboat 'drivers').

  • Oh, I was a Special Ed. teacher as well and worked with K-5th grade students with severe emotional disabilities. I have a scar on my wrist from a 3rd grader biting me. She finally let go when her baby tooth came off in my arm and she started bleeding! Fun times!!

  • Hi. So sorry to hear how much pain you are experiencing. In February this yr, developed really bad pain in shoulders, top of arms, hips, nearly all over body. Having been active, was now in pain most of time, especially at night. Was already on SOS for Rheumatology Consultant for 6 months. (Saw him last yr. Had MRI which showed bulging discs at 3/4/5 lumber. Attended the move & improve class at hospital for 8 weeks. Continued with these specialised exercises at home, then at gym.Grad. Improved.) Phoned consultants sec. He saw me 2 months later in April this yr. He prescribed Prednisilone, reducing dosage each month. Pain has gone. Still do my back exercises. Hoping I will remain pain free. However, keeping mobile is my priority ( I am now 81 yrs). So, ask to see a rheumatologist. Attend for specialised exercises. If appropriate, especially if taking other medication, ask doctor about steroids. Also listening to music can alleviate your stress levels. Plus healthy eating. Above all, keep moving. Best wishes Sylvia

  • Hi Calmness, I too have be diagnosed with cervical OA with all the other fun stuff that goes with it. Last year I had surgery on C5-7 that included a fusion, decompression, and laminectomy. The first symptoms that I had that alerted that something was wrong with my neck was lightening-like shocks that went from my shoulder to my middle finger several times a day, even while resting. I dismissed them as just a weird quirk.

    Several months later my husband and I were on a long car trip through extremely ugly country. Bored, I spent a good hour picking at my split ends, with my head at an awkward angle. Next morning I woke up in extreme pain. Not only did it hurt to turn my neck in any direction, it hurt to stare straight ahead. A week later I had numbness and pain in both hands.

    After going to the Dr. and getting an x ray I was informed that I had OA , degenerative joint disease, stenosis, etc. and it had been there awhile. My Dr. told me that after spending so much time with my neck in one position (I lied and said I was painting floorboards....I will take the real reason to my grave :) I most likely aggravated nerves. Physical therapy was not helpig, so I had an MRI and discovered that my nerves were being strangled due to stenosis and a bulging disk. A month later I was in surgery.

    So.....long story short, yes pain can come upon suddenly with OA even if you have been relatively symptom free for years. Good luck, be your own advocate and whatever you don't pick at your split ends :o

    Tammy

  • I hit 60 in May and have not been away from my GP's since. In the past I was asked to go and see the GP as I haven't been for a long time ! Very strange that you hit a certain age and everything starts to fall off.

    I'm going to see a consultant early October as I need a hip replacement. I do aqua aerobics, as it is low impact on joints.

    I suddenly had BP problems and I'm on Vitimin D.

    Relating to your shoulder pain I had a ripped muscle over the cap of my shoulder. That was Sharp stabbing pains. I had physio and a steroid injection. It's a lot better and niggles me every now and again.

    Hope we all get sorted soon.

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