I'm hoping you can give me a bit of advice - though I know you can't give a definitive answer based on an online posting!
I am 41 and have OA (generalised nodal OA, to be precise) in my lumbar spine, both knees, both thumbs, and in my fingers, and my GP thinks it's beginning in my neck too.
He has prescribed Ibuprofen and co-dydramol (10/500 strength). The problem is that the co-dydramol causees constipation and the ibuprofen upset my stomach and give me indigestion. I try to avoid taking either unless the pain is very bad because of this - I don't see that it can be doing my insides much good to be constantly upset one way or the other. Also, my OA is hereditary and my mum has ended up with chronic digestive problems because she's been on similar medication for almost 30 years - I don’t want to be in the same position as her as I get older if I can avoid it.
The trouble is, I’m finding it hard to cope because although no one joint is agonizing, having ongoing pain in so many places is really getting me down. I’m also finding that I’m waking up most nights because my little finger and the one next to it go numb, or because my back is so stiff. My GP insist that there is nothing else that can be done for OA, and no alternative medication, and therefore there is no point referring me to a specialist or to the pain clinic.
I was just wondering if you can tell me anything about my rights in this situation – i.e. can I insist on being referred or seeing a pain specialist- and if there is any other medication that might help. I feel a bit as if I’m fussing too much – after all, many people have agonizing pain, or joints that are completely unusable, but the all-over pain is getting me down and making me very naggy! My husband is very supportive and helpful, fortunately for me, but is bearing the brunt of the nagginess, so would probably be very grateful for any suggestions too. It doesn’t help that beyond some smallish lumps there’s very little outward sign of the problem, so I worry that my friends and colleagues think that I’m exaggerating the problem – especially as I’m relatively young, so as many who post here find, some of them seem disinclined to believe I can have arthritis anyway!
Sorry to go on so much, but I feel very much in need of advice!
Thanks in advance,