New patient

safariaddict
safariaddict Member Posts: 11
I have said hello, but it has not appeared on the forum. Never mind. I am living in France where the health service is excellent. Over the last year pain has increased. It is now in the buttocks and down the legs as far as my knees. Excruciating is the word. I have had scans and am told that the last few vertebrae have no cartilage so it is bone against bone. They tell me I can have spinal injections of cortisone which of course are only good for so long and after that spinal surgery will be necessary. I recently had a course of 15 days of cortisone tablets during which time the pain totally disappeared. It is back now of course and because I have a safari booked for November I am trying to wait until then to have another course so I can have a 2 week pain free holiday. I have been given an Opium based pain killer which goes nowhere near to relieving the pain and have a prescription for acupuncture which I am willing to try to tide me over until my holiday. Have you any suggestions. The rheumatologist has not said I have Oesteo arthritis but I presume that is what it is.

Comments

  • elnafinn
    elnafinn Member Posts: 7,412
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Safariaddict

    I am a member of the forum. Welcome! I am sorry that one of your postings did not appear. That is really strange. Sounds as if it is OA rather than RA but if you would like the correct diagnosis you could call the rheumatologist you saw. Never heard of cortisone tablets, only injections which as you say neither are not a permanent fix. Mind you I had injections in my lower back for sciatica via xray direction and since that day on 3 December 2009 to the present day the pain has not come back. :D I have a selection of other OA/OP problems though! Wish they could all have been solved like the sciatica! I presume if physio was thought to perhaps do any good for you it would have been suggested. Not sure what else to suggest really not being a medic. I do stretching exercises for my lower back pains, which really have helped me. At least you have a plan to have another course before your safari holiday. I hope all goes well and you have a great time.

    Look after yourself
    Elna
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Your first post appeared and I answered, please refer to p 67 on the top thread of the Say Hello board (the one that says it's publically viewable. Aren't they all? :? ). My rheumatologist ignores my OA and my GP ignores my PsA - I take it you have had blood tests? An auto-immune arthtritis is usually confirmed by bloods (unless they don't show the 'proper' results whereupon a new 'game' develops) whereas OA is diagnosed by Xrays and physical examination. I am pleased to read that France has an excellent health system, that should work in your favour. DD
  • elnafinn
    elnafinn Member Posts: 7,412
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I read that post and your reply, DD but as Safariaddict said that it had been a long posting that had been "lost" I presumed he had written another one in the Say Hello section.

    Elna
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    That post was numbered 1 so I presumed it to be the first, new forums can be confusing until one gets used to the format. Hopefully SA will return and tell us more about him / herself. DD
  • safariaddict
    safariaddict Member Posts: 11
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Safariaddict is a her! My real problem at the moment is I am finding it difficult to do anything but sit. The 15 day course of cortisone pills (yes they do exist) was totally pain free and because I have a safari coming up in November, which if this problem gets any worse will be my last, I don't want to have any more cortisone until then. It is just so debilitating and depressing as I am sure many of you know. Apart from the injections which have been mentioned the doc told me the only other option would be spinal surgery which I do not relish. The weather here is in the 100's at the moment, too hot to even sit in the garden.

    Nice to meet you people and sorry about the Hello which must have been my fault. :roll:
  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,585
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Dear Safaria addict,

    Thank you for your post to Helplines. Generally when doctors talk about wear or degenerative changes they are discussing osteoarthritis. Your GP would be able to clarify/confirm this. One of the things that is very helpful with osteoarthritis is finding out what kinds of self management work for you. Having a good relationship with a physiotherapist (cine) [pronounced kin ay in French] who can advise you over your pain, teach you a daily routine of back stretches and strengthening exercises. Healthy eating to avoid becoming overweight is thought important too.

    In the UK steroid tablets are often known by the term prednisolone. Unfortunately they are associated with risks to bone density so are used in a very limited way in arthritis.

    If you are interested in finding out more about self management you can download our booklets on osteoarthritis and exercise and pain etc from this link: http://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/PublicationsandResources/Listedbytype/Booklets
    There is an excellent book on back pain called 'Your guide to back pain' by the royal Society of Medicine. Author Dr John Tanner.

    I hope we can help further and do come back to us if you'd like some more information and support.

    Guy
  • safariaddict
    safariaddict Member Posts: 11
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you Guy for the information. I have been in such pain that I wonder if it is "only" arthritis! I went to the hospital yesterday hoping I could get an emergency "rendezvous" with the rheumatologist but sadly he is on holiday until Monday. I am ok when in bed but the minute I try to get up the pain is intense. I have been sitting down today and went for a two minute walk in the garden and the pain is back again, my right leg now feels as though there is sciatica as well and I am at my wits end. The drugs are useless and I am beginning to think I will end up in a wheelchair and thoughts of my safari in November are the only thing which keep me determined to sort this out. The specialist I am seeing ruled out the idea of a Cine but I have a recommendation from my GP for acupuncture, do you think that would be of any help to me?
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Arthritis hurts. Acupuncture may help but only for a temporary period - like all pain relief methods it is not a permanent fix and like all treatments it may not work for you. It may be worth getting a stick (to be held on the opposite side of the affected leg) as that can ease matters somewhat when walking. Please post on the Living with Arthritis part of the forum then others can tell you of their experiences. DD
  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,585
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I am so sorry to hear you are in such pain, you can always talk to your GP and discuss increasing your pain medication in the short term. Sounds like a really good idea to focus on your safari. When you do see your back specialist you can ask them about recommended strengthening exercises of whatever they think is appropriate.

    Dreamdaisy’s response to you seemed really helpful. In terms of support and experiences it may be a good idea to post on the ‘living with arthritis’ part of the forum. Once again as in Guy’s response to you it may be helpful to have a look at the book by Dr. John Tanner. ‘Your guide to back pain’ by the royal society of medicine

    Lynda
  • elnafinn
    elnafinn Member Posts: 7,412
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Do you think you may have a fractured vertebrae? I am no medic but it is possible.

    I do hope you get some help soon.

    Elna x

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