Questions from a newbie

isak
isak Member Posts: 4
edited 27. Feb 2013, 04:32 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hello the houses :)

My name is Isak. This is my first post and it is a question.

I have been told I have arthritis for some time now in my knees and right hip. I had a meniscus tear in one knee that required surgery. I had bursitis once in the other knee. I have had aches, swelling and stiffness on and off for the past several years. I retired almost two years ago and that resulted in a huge reduction in the amount of discomfort I was having as my job was pretty physical .. for my knees anyway.

Recently I had what the doctor called a 'flare up' in my right knee .. the one that did not have surgery. I could barely walk for two days, was in serious pain and it took about 5 days for me to walk without a lot of discomfort. I handled it at home until I could get in to see the doctor .. which took 3 days .. by staying off of it for most the day, elevating in and using ice pacts 3 or 4 times a day.

The doctor put me on an nsaid, meloxicam 7.5mg once per day for a month. The pain/discomfort I am experiencing has not improved since I started it about 2 weeks ago. When the month is done if it has not improved I will call the doctor.

I am having trouble sleeping nights due to the pain. I wake up from it or from one or the other or both knees 'locked' and I have to 'break' the position which is very painful. During the day if I move around too much for too long both knees swell internally, stiffen and there is increased pain and decreased mobility.

That is the background and here is my question/s:

Although I have been diagnosed with this for some time .. I have not experienced a lot of pain .. or perhaps I should say I have been able to manage it .. until now. My ability to function and be mobile is being compromised. Is this a 'normal' state given this illness? I want to know if I should be concerned or if I just need to learn how to deal with the pain and stiffness? Should the medication have more of an impact? I will pose these questions to my doctor when next I see him but I wanted to be 'armed' so to speak with information in order to talk to him intelligently about this disease. Should I consider using a cane? I have a recombinant bike I was starting to use before Christmas and have been afraid to get back up on it. I know loosing pounds will help as I am overweight. How do I determine I am over doing it or it is just the illness?

I know many of you are experiencing far more serious issues. With just the discomfort I have been experiencing, especially of late, my sympathies go out to all of you. I appreciate any advice/feedback/answers you can provide.

Isak

Comments

  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Isak, it's nice to meet you and I hope we can help with information and support. You sound as though you have some form of an inflammatory arthritis but you are in the very early stages of taking medication.

    Arthritis is a progressive, degenerative disease. The meds will help to slow the rate of progression and everyone's arthritis is unique to them. I am close to the end of my sixteenth year and I look back with fondness to the early days when it only affected one knee (at the time I thought that was outrageous! :lol: ) I now have 39 affected joints including my toes, ankles, knees, sacro-iliac joints and now my right hip. Having one's mobility compromised if knees etc. are affected is quite usual, I used to be able to walk with using two crutches but now I have to use a rollator - I can no longer walk unaided for any distance or length of time. There's no shame in using a stick and it can help to ease quite a lot of joint discomfort (it should be held on the opposite side to the affected joint and your hand should be just above hip-height.

    It's good you're going back to see your doctor, you are on a very small dose of the drug so to my mind it's little wonder that not a lot is happening on the helping front but I am not a doctor. Are you taking any pain relief? Over my years of Lliving with Arthritis I have had to increase the strength of what I take but I still keep it to a minimum, my pain is constant but I'm used to it now. I wish you well. DD
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,276
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Isak
    And a warm welcome from me
    I was wondering if you have had any X rays, to see what damage there is to the joints, and to determine what type of arthritis you have..forgive me if you have said...I read post them my brain goes blank.
    I would ask if you could be referred to a physio, they can help with exercises and aids to help you get about...at the min I use a stick sometimes two....they do get in my way but thats something I have to put up with...also you could ask for a referral to a pain clinic depending on where you live they can be very good.
    I have meds to help me sleep at night, and must say I dont do to bad.
    I do hope you stay with us...its good to talk to people that understand some of what you are going through.
    Please let us know how you get on x
  • elainebadknee
    elainebadknee Bots Posts: 3,703
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Isak

    Reading your story it sounds as if you have done the right things so far and are on the right track in terms of knowing you need to lose weight and when you had that time before seeing the doctor, icing the leg and resting it as much as you could...
    I would say to you yes you need to use a stick/cane if your mobility is compromised then your balance will be too...The recumbent bike, use it, I'm not expert but before my TKR and i only had one bad leg I went to a gym 2 times a week and used a recumbent bike for 15 mins each visit, same for cross trainer as they are non weight bearing exercise equipment (hydrotherpay would be good for you too)...With regards to the medication I don't know but gut instinct tells me don't wait a month, get back in touch with the quack and ask for an ortho appointment....

    Hope others can help more and that my advice hasn't been totally useless!

    Elainexx
  • isak
    isak Member Posts: 4
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you so much to everyone who replied. It feels right to be in touch w people who have this illness.

    To answer questions etc:
    I am not on pain medication though last night I took a ibuprofen 800 left over from a root canal that helped me get to sleep.

    I have had xrays and it shows deterioration though neither knee is bone on bone. The diagnosis is osteoarthritis which sounds pretty generic to me.

    I called the doctor's office today. They will get back to me but the nurse said the chart shows notes that the doctor indicates that a cortisone shot or follow up testing may be necessary. By that I am assuming they may want to do an MRI to determine whether or not there is a meniscus tear.

    I appreciate the responses. I know my problems are minimal but I am just not sure what to expect going forward. Thank you all once again :)
  • barry2013
    barry2013 Member Posts: 151
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there.
    Use a cane when you need it, your bike is ideal for those of us with arthritis, just take it easy and use all the gears you have. I wish you well at the doc's
    Best wishes.
    Barry.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Minimal is a concept that doesn't apply on here - your joints are causing you trouble and you need to get to grips with matters so that you can (hopefully) inhibit further damage. Right, so the thinking is OA? I misunderstood in my first reply and I apologise for that :oops: . I have that too, I'm on omeprazole and diclofenac (mainly to help my Achilles tendonitis in my left heel) plus cocodamol 30/500 for pain relief. Pain relief does help and I think the key thing to remember is always to stop an activity when you think you can do more: if you overdo things then the joint 'payback' can be too distressing. My knees are bone-on-bone through at least 3/4 of the joints (that was two years ago, I reckon it's more now!) and I need the cocos! DD
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,088
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello isak. Believe me, your problems are not 'minimal'. This is real pain. It hurts and there's absolutely no need to apologise. We all get where you're coming from.

    You may have to consider regular pain medication. I'm pretty sure you shouldn't self-medicate on the ibuprofen as that, like the meloxicam, is an anti-inflammatory and you could end up taking too much. Better to let your GP decide - or the pharmacist could help as long as he/she knows what meds you already take.

    I'm not sure what the n'follow-up testing would be but cortisone jabs have helped many of us, me included. Just remember to rest for 48 hours afterwards to enable it to do its stuff.
  • isak
    isak Member Posts: 4
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have an appt w the doctor tomorrow. I will inform of what transpires. No matter the outcome I was feeling pretty isolated with this. Thank you all.

    I intend to keep this connection. And when I am feeling better I will familiarize myself more with your site and the topics under discussion.

    I had not thought about Ibuprofen being just another anti inflammatory. I was wanting something to ease the pain so I could sleep. I will ask the doctor what I should take for pain in the future.

    Isak
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,088
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm glad you feel less isolated, isak. Yes, this is a good place to be for feeling one is not quite so alone with arthritis.

    I'm sure your GP will be able to prescribe something more suitable that will help with the sleeping. I hope it goes well.

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