Failing at weightloss

I have severe osteoarthritis in both knees, and the pain is indescribable, although you'll know that already!

I've gone from regular 5km walks to being barely able to walk 10 yards without agony. I've put on weight in the past 12 months, and I was overweight to begin with! I'd started walking and swimming to help with weight loss, and I'd managed to lose 7 stone, and, as I say, I was walking 5km regularly. That 7 stone is back on now, and I feel terrible. I'm depressed and taking anti-depressants, and I no longer know where to turn. I take so many painkillers, but they just don't seem to work at all.

I was getting physiotherapy on a Monday morning, but to do that I was having to book time off work, as I live in Birmingham and work in Nottingham. They were allowing me 2 hours for appointments, but I needed much more, so now I've used up all of my holiday entitlement and can no longer go. I haven't had physio for weeks, so I'm getting worse. The two hour drive to work doesn't help either.

I'm in agony every day (my knees are killing me as I write this), the pain never seems to go away. Sometimes I just stop in bed and don't go to work because it hurts too much, other times I'm crying by the time I get to my desk.

I try to diet, but just standing to make a meal is too much. I try to stay away from fast food etc., that's not the real problem, it's just crappy food that's quick and easy to do. My family are no help, my wife suffers depression and just sits there. My eldest daughter (21) is in Carlisle, and my youngest (17) is barely at home. I'm putting weight on because I can't eat sensibly.

I'm slowly killing myself, I know I'm doing it, and I can't seem to drag myself up and away from this.

18 Replies

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  • Hey biffbaff...how awful! You need some professional help here mate! Time for a trip to the GP...they should give you an appointment on a Saturday as you're working. As for support, if your family won't help, this forum will give you some emotional support. ...and Shelie has amazing recipes....

    Good luck!

  • Hi,

    The GPs aren't much use, to be honest. I go to them and they just say 'you need to lose weight', and 'you need physio'. Both of these are obvious, and I'm fully aware, but when I explain the situation they just say 'you need to lose weight' and 'you need physio'. I've tried pretty well every diet going, I've lost weight on some, but it soon comes back. I was doing really well until 15 months ago, but now I'm just getting worse by the day.

    There are no Saturday appointments at our GP, but I've managed to get one for next Wednesday pm.

    Currently, I'm at my desk at work with both my knees burning with pain. I'm just about to take more painkillers, so hopefully that will help. I'm stuck here until 8pm, but I should be at home with my legs up.

    Best wishes :-)

  • So angry for you Biffbaff...this is just. It right....

  • Biffbaff I want to help you. I have been through the same scenario and I understand the pain you are suffering. I have been on morphine plus other high strength pain killers for about 6 years or more. As I said in my earlier post I have undergone both knee replacement since November and I can see a massive difference. My world has opened up. Have you been referred to a consultant? Don't be fobbed off with pills on top of the pills you already take. That happened to me. My work involves long periods of time on my feet and I would get home and collapse only to recover enough to go again the next day. My partner was not supportive and eventually I left him 3 years ago. I now live alone with my cat and since my surgery I have never been happier. My 7th grandchild is on the way and I enjoy playing with the other 6, (all girls so far). Please offload onto me if it helps. I will support you if I can. Love from me to you xx

  • What type of painkillers are you on? Is it possible that you could try changing them to a different type, maybe you have built up a tolerance to a certain type, but a different, new type, might kick start some pain relief for you? Might be worth asking the doc if you can try something different. I'm not a professional, but have been in a similar dark place with pain and depression, and in my humble opinion, the most important thing for you right now is to hopefully get some decent pain relief so that you can get your head together and have a bit of quality of life. Pain seems to take away my ability to be able to think straight and you kind of need to have your head in the right place and feel your mind is strong enough before you can tackle your weight loss (if you are anything like me).

    In the meantime, you don't have to be a master chef to cut calories, although it probably feels like a mountain to climb if your mind is at the place I can relate to. It may sound like a cheat, but needs must...grab a shedload of tinned or frozen veg and fruit so that you don't have to stand up peeling lots of stuff. I "cheat" with stew, I use tesco mixed carrot and swede (just wash it off in the colander and throw it in the pan) so that I only have to stand to do the onions and potatoes. That said, you could sit at the table to peel and chop veg, or if you have a lap tray, if you don't have a table, do it on that. Then just stand to wash the veg off and put it in the pan. Once the veg is on to boil, it takes care of itself and you can sit down, just time it. If you really want to keep an eye to the veg while it cooks, sit on a kitchen chair if it's comfy. Maybe do simple things with the veg, like using frozen fish (tesco battered cod is 234 cals oven baked), or frozen sausages cooked in the oven, those usually take about half an hour to cook so you know you are safe to sit down and leave them to cook themselves. I bought a bag of tesco frozen veg stir fry recently, I think the whole bag was 500ish cals, so more than doable between two people, I just added a chicken oxo and a tiny bit of water to the frying pan (maybe use no fat, or "fry light, 1 cal spray" instead of a ton of oil, that's what I use). It was tasty, easy and quick to cook and not calorific. It's not ideal but you have to work with the limited ability you have. NHS website has a calorie counter which I've found very useful, that and just reading labels on stuff to see what calories are in things. Omelettes are fairly quick to make too, get a bag of pre-done salad to go with it, some tinned chopped mushrooms, drain the mushrooms and throw them into the omelette, etc, anything which saves you time on your feet and in pain. Once it's made just dump it on the plate, throw the salad on the side and you have your meal.

    I know it's hard to pull yourself of once you get into this position, you have the double whammy with the pain and the depression, but you can do it, and everyone here is very supportive so come here and vent away if it helps you.

    I hope you manage to get some decent pain relief soon, please do ask your GP if there is anything different you can try, or whether your dose can be upped, etc, etc. He should recognise that if you can get out of pain it will help your depression somewhat and break the cycle.

    Good luck with everything.

  • PS I will just add that I struggled for about 6 years or so with my back before I finally changed practice to another town, the doctor there was brilliant, I got an MRI scan right away and I was given decent pain relief and taken seriously. I don't know your personal situation but if you aren't getting what you need from your GP consider changing or getting a second opinion maybe?

  • All I will say is I have read your post and feel your depression... I am on anti's too and have very painful knees almost 24/7......yet to find out what's wrong but too many other things in the way.......BUT I BEG YOU - do something positive - it will make you feel proud and therefore much better about yourself. Buy lots of fresh veg and boil it with seasoning to make a soup.... that is good for you, fresh and contains the vitamins and minerals you need.

    If you need an ear or a moan, we are here......

    All the est and good luck

    Mary xx

  • Thanks Mary, As I said to the others, you're so kind to offer help. It's really appreciated!

  • Oh God! I'm so grateful to everybody!

    WeightWarrior, Juju152, PortlandPrincess - you're all so kind, many, many thanks!

    I'm currently taking 2x500mg Paracetamol 4 times a day, 1 x 250mg Naproxen 4 times a day, 2x30mg codeine 4 times a day, and 1 x 10mg Omeprazole once a day.

    As I said earlier, I'm seeing the doctor on Wednesday, so I'm definitely going to talk about pain relief because this situation just cannot go on any more. Reading other peoples stories make me think I'm definitely being fobbed off. It's beginning to seem that the doctors are ignoring the pain and just focussing on the weight-loss targets. I'm not going to achieve that if I'm in agony all day. I'm even starting to develop breathing difficulties now. This is something which has appeared over the last few weeks or so.

    WeightWarrior - many thanks for the food ideas, definitely going to try those.

    Once again, thanks all, I look forward to sharing my future successes with you!

  • The biggest offenders for osteoarthritis are uric acid and insulin. Excess fructose, excess alcohol (fermented sugar), or excess protein result in high uric acid levels. Excess insulin is stimulated by high Gi carbohydrates, anomalies such as yoghurt or baked beans, or insulin resistance (visceral fat; fructose again).

    Building muscle with resistance exercises such as leg extensions, leg press, or squats may cushion the joint.

  • Biffbaff, before you go to see your GP, do the Oxford knee score questionnaire;

    orthopaedicscore.com/scorep...

    Fill it in so you get a score, print it out, take it with you, and prepare what you want to ask for. If you've had osteo arthritis confirmed by x-ray then the diagnosis is clear. If not, you need xrays.

    Once confirmed, your Oxford knee score should help your GP determine your management. The main options are:

    1. Stronger painkillers (you're already on a fair bit but there are stronger ones available)

    2. More physio

    3. Steroid injections

    4. New knees (ie surgery)

    All of the above will work better if you lose weight. All have potential pros and cons. See also;

    arthritisresearchuk.org

    Hope thats useful!

  • Thanks, I'll investigate that :-)

  • Biffbaff I know this may seem daft but have you ever tried mindfulness? It sounds like a load of Mumbo jumbo but I find it really helps with my negative thought patterns which in turn seems to help with how I cope with pain. There are loads of apps out there and a great one is Headspace. It's free and talks you through it all. It may be worth giving a try.

  • Hi Sheyo1 , it doesn't seem daft at all. I'll check it out, I've always been open to all ideas.

  • Hi Biffbaff!

    First things first : you are NOT failing at weight loss....!

    It sounds to me that your pain is a bigger problem at the moment. I work for my local Pain Clinic in an administrative role.

    I suggest you ask your gp to refer you to a Pain Management Clinic. If your request is refused, go to the practice manager. Get a second opinion of change gps!!

    I have had a look and clinics are run in Nottingham and Birmingham. (To have a look yourself just Google Nottingham choose and book. Once on the page search for chronic pain. Then go to the link near the bottom of the page labled community pain service.) I assume details for Birmingham would be as easy to access.

    Each area will vary with regards to what they offer, but the clinic I work for will look at the causes of your pain (both physical and psychological) and may adjust your meds (my clinicians regularly prescribe meds that none of the local gps will even think about). They may put you on to an opiate rotation where they prescribe very strong painkillers but only for a short term before switching you to a different type for a few months before switching back to the original. This is to stop your system getting used to the drug and needing more and helps to prevent dependancy.

    They may put you into pain physio (different to standard physio!), psychology or even accupucture. They also give long term treatments such as denervation, if clinically appropriate. We have patients who were in chronic pain, and we only see them once a year when they come for a denervation procedure - but this will all depend on your condition (I am NOT a clinician!!!)

    My guess is that if you can get your pain under control, easier movements and weight loss may well follow.....but you pain needs to be sorted first.

    Wishing you all the best!!!

  • Hi Biffbaff, there are a few daily living equipment items that might help you at home, particularly a perching stool which would enable you to sit upright at the kitchen work tops and take the weight off your knees. You can refer yourself to the City Council Occupational Therapy service for an assessment, the number is on the Birmingham City Council website. Hope this helps x

  • Dear bif bif If you have not had an x-ray/scan in the last year ,you will need to at least have an x-ray which will show how far advanced your arthritis is in your knees.You are also needing pain management ,what your on is not doing enough for you sometimes they need to add another drug which works on the nerve component of the pain.If your GP is still not helping you tell him you will write a letter of complaint and contact CQC who moniter the quality of care patients are given you will probably need to see an orthopaedic dr but they will wont you to have had x-rays first.I have had personal experience of this and due to other health issues my op was cancelled but although I cant walk far at least my pain is much better at present,I feel for you these days its a constant fight to sort things out .This site offers great support .

  • Hi Biffbaff how did you get on?

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