Confused Newbie

Beth11 Member Posts: 4
edited 12. Mar 2013, 04:13 in Young people's community
Hi there,

I'm 19 and I've just been diagnosed with arthritis in an old injury and feel completely clueless. My doctor literally just handed me a sheet of paper with exercises on it and some painkillers. I don't even know what questions I have, I just feel a bit in the dark. How quickly is this gunna get worse? WIll i be fine until I'm old or will my wrist completely seize up by the time I'm 30?

Also, someone mentioned diet can help, is that true? Is there really nothing that can be done about the pain other than painkillers? I really don't want to go on anything stronger but the standard ibuprofen/paracetomol just does not work for me.

Ahhhh help me.

Thankyou :)


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,599
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there, Beth11. There are several things that can help. For a start there is stronger pain relief than ibuprofen and paracetamol though many of us here refer to paindullers rather than painkillers for obvious reasons.

    Exercises will help. They keep the muscles strong, and strong muscles support the joints better so you get less pain. For when things are really tough you could have a wrist support but these are best worn for only short periods as they encourage the muscles to weaken.

    Distraction's one of my favourites ie anything that absorbs you so that you forget about pain - computer games do it for me.

    A lot of people find Pain Clinic's helpful as they give ways of dealing with the pain.

    I think there's some evidence that oily fish helps so, if you don't eat a lot of that, there's always cod liver oil capsules. I don't know if diet can help OA other than a healthy one and a healthy weight.

    As for how quickly or slowly it will get worse - that's just impossible to say. We're all different and all go at our own pace.

    You might find some of Arthritis Care's publications helpful on types of arthritis, exercises, treatments etc
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Bydand1980
    Bydand1980 Member Posts: 35
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Beth

    Stickywicket has pretty much summed up it up and as each and every one of us is different we will all have our own journies with arthur to experience!
    How quickly is this gunna get worse? WIll i be fine until I'm old or will my wrist completely seize up by the time I'm 30?
    The simple answer is nobody can ever know. In my case, things got really bad quickly as a teenager to the point where I couldn't even pick up a pen never mind write. When I get into my 20's I had a relatively stable period and was able to take part in competative sports to a high level but it has kinda gone downhill again in the last few years although I have managed the odd game and do what I can when I can.
    The single biggest thing you can do to help yourself is to stay as active as long as possible and you will soon learn where the bounderies are for what you can and can't do. Splints can and do help, there were many times when I was a goalkeeper in handball where I used sports supports to protect the wrists when I needed them but as SW says, best not to rely on them all the time.
    Also, someone mentioned diet can help, is that true?
    A healthy lifestyle never hurt anybody! Oily fish does help and it helps that I quite like mackrel, salmon and trout! As with any person whether they have arthritis or not, looking after yourself will keep you going longer but it's not all just about food and the physical stuff. Having things to do to occupy your mind or friends you can go out with even when (or especially when) you are not feeling so great is quite important. I've barely been able to walk today but tomorrow I have to go into Edinburgh for a couple of things, I'll just have to make sure that I give myself enough time to get there but I will make it!

    Long story short, it's all about trying to stay positive even when it feels like your body is trying to expload which is definatly not easy but it can be done and on the good days make the most you can of them while you can.
  • Beth11
    Beth11 Member Posts: 4
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you so much, you have both been so helpful, it's nice to speak to people who understand these things. The doctor gave me some exercises to do but I really have no idea how often I should do them. Because I have so many questions do you think it would be worth booking another appointment to discuss it with a doctor? I feel like I'd just be wasting their time if all I'm doing is asking questions.

    I've also been diagnosed with tendonitis which is also very painful but the doctor I spoke to said that was also untreatable. I have found some treatments online such as steroid injections and stuff. Is it worth a mention? I don't want to act like I know more than the doctor but so far they have been pretty unhelpful.

    Anyone else had unhelpful health professionals? Very frustrated :(
  • charleeh
    charleeh Member Posts: 173
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00

    I am 22 and had arthritis since I was 17.

    Exercise is real important for arthritis but I have found its good to find an exercise that you enjoy doing so that you will stick to it. I found the exercises given to me at physiotherapy seemed a bit 'lacking in point' I felt like I was doing them too specifically rather than enjoying what I was doing... hence I never really stuck to them!

    I have done Yoga and found that was brilliant, although I am not well enough to do it at the moment. Aqua fit at a local leisure centre is good too, but Tai Chi is my favourite at the moment as this is very gentle and relaxing. Its something to look forward to doing as its a great time to wind down and relax, hence why its good to stick to!

    I can recommend a home dvd called Tai Chi for arthritis by Dr Paul Lam, I got mine off amazon for £20, which may seem expensive but I was going to weekly Tai Chi classes costing me £6 each plus taxi fares.

    As for food I have only ever had a bad experience with Pate. I always ate it but when I had arthritis it made my joints swell up oddly.... a good balanced diet is best as it keeps away other health problems which can make arthritis symptoms worse. I struggle to eat healthy tho!

    As for what happens in the end I too would love to know, I have found my condition gets in the way of everything I intended on doing! BUT when you sit and think out of the box you can still do a lot of whatever you want to do, it just takes a bit of different thinking. Its important not to let it get you down. I used to go walking Celtic hill forts, now I can't so I go birdwatching instead, I still get to be out doors, but in a different way if you get what I mean?

    I don't find docs are helpful. They give you meds and send you home, no one tells you how to live with it. I have only recently become a member of this board and wish I could have known about it years ago as the help and support from people on here is great.
    Sometimes it can take silly ideas to make life easier, I bought plastic plates, plastic cups, use a milk pan to boil water for a cuppa, use a bathrobe made of towel and bought a load of aids off ebay. Ebay is great for stuff like plug tags, dressing sticks, ergonomic saucepans, cutlery with foam handles the list goes on and on lol....

    Best wishes
  • Bydand1980
    Bydand1980 Member Posts: 35
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Anyone else had unhelpful health professionals? Very frustrated :(
    Yes, that seems to be a common problem but on the other hand there are some who are very good.
    I have found some treatments online such as steroid injections and stuff. Is it worth a mention? I don't want to act like I know more than the doctor but so far they have been pretty unhelpful.
    The best person to ask these questions to is your doctor and don't worry about going in and just asking loads of questions, in fact think about it before you go and write down what you want to ask. This helps make sure you don't miss anything out that you need to know but it also means that you can make sure you ask everything you need to and not be put off asking more questions by the doc avoiding answers, I don't know or it can't be treated simply isn't good enough. If they can't or won't give a satisfactory answer don't be afraid to ask for another doctor for a second opinion.
    About the things you see on the net, take them all with a pinch of salt but still ask the doctor about them. There are some people with arthritis who probably do know more about it than their GP but that is why we go see specialists at the hospital but if you can speak to the doctor with a little bit of knowledge then they might take you a bit more seriously because you are making an effort to learn something about it and not just being reliant on one opinion and so can not be so easily dismissed.
    Some of these stronger drugs might be appropriate at some stage but the longer you can avoid the really powerfull drugs the better for you in the long term. My own experience is that if you start off on a strong drug for slight discomfort then you have nowhere to go if the pain gets worse.
    I found the exercises given to me at physiotherapy seemed a bit 'lacking in point' I felt like I was doing them too specifically rather than enjoying what I was doing
    I found an exercise that I really enjoyed but then found that the warm up exercises were all the stuff the physio told me to do! It made a bit more sense then but the point of all these exercises is to maintain mobility and muscle strength so I really should do them a lot more!
  • routemaster279
    routemaster279 Member Posts: 9
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello there.

    I sympathise greatly with your early diagnosis for arthritis. For sake of clarity about your arthritis, I would suggest you get your GP to refer you to a Rheumatologist. There are many benefits in you doing this. A rheumatologist will identify which type of arthritis you have and may well send you for either x-rays and blood tests to determine what is happening inside your body. Both of these are important to have and will determine what treatments, exercises and diets you will need to have. Anything else you then do should be under guidance from the rheumatologist. For certain, whatever you do now in terms of treatment, will determine the long-term management of your conditions. Once you know what these are, then you can go forward and enjoy your life.

    With great respect, the interwebski is full of rubbish regarding all forms of arthritis and should be avoided at all costs. I've been offered cures for my osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia and I know from experience the only people who gain from these fake cures are the sellers. The best information you can ever get is from Arthritis Care and their range of leaflets and by you seeing a qualified rheumatologist.

    Having had my own 'arfur' since 1998 and fibro since 2004/5, I - and all the rest of us in here - can speak from experience. You take care of yourself and we'll all be here to help you on your way.