Osteoarthritis Action

My Story

I have Osteoarthritis of the back and neck which has been going on since December 2016. During this time I have been taking Tramadol as it’s the only painkiller that works. However I am very conscious that tramadol is not a good thing to be taking long term. I have private medical care through my employer and I have been using this since January last year. Basically nothing worked until I tried Osteopathy . I have had the following treatments/procedures to date:

1. MRI scans and x-rays of my lower back & neck – These showed normal wear and tear for my age (56) & no inflammation, damage or injuries.

2. Various blood tests.

3. 2 months of physio.

4. Cortisone injections in various joint of my spine and neck

5. 4 sessions of acupuncture.

6. A 5 week course of Gabapentin (nerve blocker)

7. A course of Robaxin (muscle relaxant)

8. 8 sessions of Osteopathy which actually helped and the therapist found the cause of my pain.

9. As my symptoms had got worse I went back for more blood tests and a full spine MRI. This is when they finally found the Osteoarthritis.

My back muscles and neck muscles are very dense and the neck joints are very restricted, probably caused by sitting at a computer for 17 years.

The initial problem started with an injury to my left big toe which caused me to limp for a few weeks. This cleared up and then my left knee became affected. This was eventually diagnosed as sero negative arthritis in the knee joint lining. My back and neck issue started during my knee problems (limping for months). My knee cleared up in February 2017 and now I am left with the back and neck problems. My job is a draughtsman so I have been at a desk for the last 17 years. I have however been attending the gym 3 times a week for the last 5 years and I go for a 20 minute walk each lunchtime so I do keep fairly active. It’s the Tramadol that worries me.

I currently take 4 x 50mg tablets a day for the pain plus Pregabalin & Amitriptyline to try block the pain signals so I can finally come of the Tramadol.

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Hello Marticulous! Much appreciate your sharing your story with the Osteoarthritis Community (and your patience with a slow response!) It's not uncommon for people with a similar story as yours to take a fair amount of time and energy, sometimes years of healthcare and treatment trial and error, before homing in on a clear diagnosis and then fine-tuning treatment strategies. I'm sure others in the community can relate in many ways. Great to see that you have found a few strategies that work for you and that you are remaining physically active throughout your journey. In the absence of good disease-modifying medicines for osteoarthritis, regular physical activity is among the best things you can do to manage pain and stiffness and keep joints mobile (though, truth be told, even if good disease-modifying drugs come along someday, I'll still shout from the mountaintops the benefits of physical activity for people with arthritis...and everyone else on the planet). It's also necessary to balance a sedentary day job and may even help you change your medication profile. Stay well.

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Thanks for your reply Kirstenra. The Amitriptyline is starting to work and I have almost halved my Tramadol dosage 😊

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