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What should we do next?

My 86 year old mother is currently housebound after a flare-up of her arthritis. Unfortunately she is unable to take any tablet to ease the pain as she has a stomach ulcer and also suffers from permanent colic. We called out the doctor on Friday to see if there was anything he could do for the pain. Even though he new her history he prescribed cocodamol, and consequently she was up all night vomiting. Her last major flare-up resulted in a stay in hospital where she was given an injection. This worked well for my mam, giving her pain relief and no side effects. This was mentioned to the doctor this time but he didn’t act upon the suggestion. So we are at a loss as what to do next. My mam is a lot of pain which has severally reduced her quality of life and is really getting her down. I would be grateful if anyone could suggest our best course of action from this point.

11 Replies

Hi can you phone your mums rheumatology nurse tomorrow. Explain the situation and ask for a steroid jnjection to be given, I take it the injection you mention above was a steriod injection.

This is normally the best way to ease a bad flare.

Hope she gets some help and feels better soon x hugs for your mum


So sorry to hear about your Mum being so poorly right now. I would also speak to the rheumatology nurse as soon as possible. When I ring mine during office hours it usually goes straight to answer machine but I get a call back within a couple of hours. Best wishes

Paula x


Thanks for the advice. Could you please tell me how we could go about getting her a rheumatology nurse?


I was given the number at the rheumy clinic (local hospital). I am sure if you call the hospital on the general number they will get it for you.


Is your Mum under the care of a consultant rheumatologist? It is after diagnosis by the rheumatologist that you get access to the specialist rheumatology nurses. These are the people who help when any issues which arise such as flare ups or questions about medication. If you are unsure you will need to speak to your Mum's GP. Hope you can get some help soon x


It depends what type of arthritis she suffers from. She may not have a rheumatologist if it's been left untreated or is osteoarthritis. I think you would be best off starting with her own GP who will know what to do hopefully. I was given steroids by my GP while waiting for a diagnosis and there's no reason why she shouldn't have a steroid injection in her surgery. Hope you get the help you need - it's awful watching someone you care about in pain. Tilda x


I was told I could take myself into hospital if things got so bad.If your Dr isnt listening this could be the answer.


Perhaps she could also ask to be referred to a pain management clinic either by her GP or Rheumatologist. They could help with long-term management of pain.

When I was in pain after my last operation (morphine derivative wasn't working) they were the only ones who understood that to put me back on my usual pain relief was best, even though I take the medication in a way not prescribed by any medic. It threw the staff on the ward but it works for me and the pain management team understood this.


I cannot have any painkillers cos of allergies and am 71. What I do is to have massages which do help a lot and keep me painfree for a few days. Used to be a month back in the 90's. I also do Tai chi which also helps. I suggest you get some vegetable oil such as baby oil and gently massage the muscles where the pain is most. email me here or privately on thsi site and I will offer more help. I am in Skegness if near enough for me to advice in person.


Pain killers can also be given as patches. I have a friend with fibromyalgia - he has a patch which gives him a constant state of low pain relief and can take extra tablets as well if necessary.

Co-codamol should have been Ok to take with a history of a stomach ulcer, although it can upset people in other ways. It's the NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that should be avoided with an ulcer - things like Ibuprofen, naproxen,etc.

I do find that paracetamol by itself is under-estimated as pain relief - mainly because people don't take it in a big enough dose regularly when they are in pain. I find 2 of the 500mg tablets regularly every six hours if often good enough to control things if I use other methods such as distraction (other activities such as reading, listening to music, socialising).

If your mum has problems with the tablets, then she could use an equivalent dose of the liquid paracetamol. But she needs to be sure that paracetamol is OK or her - no liver damage,etc.

Any other pain relieving techniques would help too. Massage with or without oils, heat, or alternate hot & cold, gentle mobilisations (stiffness makes the pain worse), etc.


Hi Bodski

If your mother isn't under the care of a rheumatologist it may be that she has a different type of arthritis, like osteoarthritis, which would be treated very differently, so first off it's worth seeing what type of arthritis she has.

We do have an article on pain, which may have some useful information for her:

Kind regards


(NRAS Helpline)


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