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So it looks like I may have arthritis!

Joe35Joe35 Posts: 5
edited 28. Oct 2014, 04:29 in Say Hello Archive
Just registered on here as I know very little about arthritis other than what I have read today, and it's come as a bit of a surprise. Maybe someone will have some advice?

I saw my doctor this morning because of several lumps on my lower back that have become increasingly painful over the last year or so. I assumed they were just Lipomas and it would be a case of getting them removed and that would be that. They're not - they are osteophytes, and I am to have an X-ray in due course to see how the rest of my lower spine looks.

I'm 35 years old, 20 of which - from 11 to 31 - were spent playing rugby. I've had achy shoulders and back ever since I stopped playing, but never ever imagined it might be arthritis at my age. I also have problems with achilles tendonitis, although I put that down to overtraining for the Great North Run a couple of years ago, so I'm not sure there is any link there?

I'm a policeman, although a DC now, so I would estimate that I spend 80-90% of my working hours at a desk and 10-20% driving. I'm a little concerned whether there are any implications for work.

Now the truth is that I can afford to lose a bit of weight, and improve my diet to include more fruit and veg, and I read that those help. I already swim once a week, run once a week and go out mountain biking for a few hours once a week, plus daily dog walks of 30 mins to 2 hours.

What's the long term outcome given I'm only 35, which seems awful young to me to be having arthritis (although I dare say it won't to some on here?).

And what else should I be doing to minimise the impact of this?

Thanks

Joe

Comments

  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,556 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, it's lovely to meet you but I am sorry you have had to find us. It sounds to me as though you have osteoarthritis (I do too, plus another sort) and I have osteophytes growing on both knees and both ankles. They hurt. :( Arthritis can strike at any age, the auto-immune ones can affect children as young as 18 months old but people always associate arthritis with the elderly because they remember their gran having it.

    OA is the most common form, between eight to ten million people in the UK have arthritis and the majority of those are OA-ers. It used to be described as the 'wear and tear' arthritis, and you've certainly given your body some of that over the years! Reducing one's weight can help, exercise too but it's better if it's a low-impact type such as swimming or cycling (both of which you are already doing). Personally I would stop the running, both for the sake of your lower back and the Achilles Tendonitis (I have that too, plus plantar fasciitis - I am now very flat-footed thanks to my arthritis). When out with the dog I hope you are wearing good, supportive footwear to reduce the impact of your feet hitting the ground.

    Your GP will be the one to deal with it (plus an orthopaedic surgeon if any surgery is required) and you will be offered pain relief and maybe an anti-inflammatory drug. That's it on the medical front, it seems absurd in the 21st century that there is still a disease that has no cure but arthritis is such a one. You may find yourself being more tired more often, that is part-and-parcel of the disease, and probably caused by the extra efforts we sometimes have to make to do the ordinary, everyday things of life. I began my first arthritis when I was 37 but it wasn't accurately diagnosed until I was 46. The OA has occurred as a result of the damage done to my joints and I'm in a bit of state now but that's after eighteen years of this malarkey. :lol:

    Feel free to ask any questions, the Living with Arthritis board on here is the most frequented and, if you do decide to google, please stick with reputable sites. Ignore the snake oil vendors - nothing but nothing will 'cure' arthritis, their quackery may offer slight relief but that's it. I wish you well. DD (who's now off to Sainsbriz but will be back later)
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,871
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there Joe and welcome from me too :)

    Like DD, I'd assume you're talking about osteoarthritis. It does sound like it. It's not just an old person's disease. There is growing belief that genetics might have a role to play in some instances. We also know that it can start up at the site of an old injury. My guess is that, if you were playing rugby from age 11, your back might have taken a fair bit of hammering especially if it was Union and you were in the scrum. (I think nowadays they don't allow young players to scrum properly precisely because of the potential damage.)

    I don't know whether or not the Achilles Tendonitis is linked. It might or might not be. I don't think it will make much practical difference either way.

    I'm not very well up on working stuff as I've been unable to for many a year but I think your employers have to make reasonable adjustments for you as / when / if they become necessary. Have a read on the Working Matters.... forum. 'Slosh' is particularly good on what's what.

    As for the exercise – the walking and swimming are good, running probably isn't (check with the doc) and, although cycling is usually recommended, I'm not sure about mountain biking. It sounds a bit bumpy and tough on the back.

    I don't think anyone can predict the course, or speed, of arthritis. It seems to vary enormously. It seems to me you're doing a lot of the right things. You might get some useful info here http://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/PublicationsandResources/Arthritisbasics and, if you've any questions, just start a thread on the Living With Arthritis forum and we'll do our best to answer :D
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • Joe35Joe35 Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks both of you,

    The biggest thing was when the doc said carry on with the exercise, do more if you can. If it had been the opposite I'd be pretty upset.

    It was just quite a shock really, I had never even considered it as a possibility at this age. Thinking about it over the last 24 hrs, and reading about the causes, it makes a lot of sense. All those years playing rugby were spent in the front row, and 25 years ago they weren't too fussed about how you'd end up!

    I shall keep on eye on the forum and definitely ask if I need advice going on from here.

    Thanks

    Joe
  • Boomer13Boomer13 Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello;

    Sorry you have arthritis at such a young age, that would have been a shock for you.

    I have psoriatic arthritis and was very active in the past, so I initially put all my various aches and pains down to my rough and tumble life. It was only much, much later that it all coalesced into a picture of sero-negative inflammatory arthritis. You don't mention any fatigue problems or generally feeling unwell so I will presume like the others, that yours will turn out to be OA. Fatigue and generally feeling terrible, figure prominently in inflammatory arthritis. Staying as active as possible, without the high impact activities seems to be the best defence against OA. My late dad swore by yoga for his spinal arthritis. Of course it's best to consult your medical experts and possibly a physiotherapist, for advice on this.

    Best wishes, hope you receive a diagnosis soon. Waiting and wondering for this can be torture at times. Try not to worry, if possible. X-ray will provide much information for the docs.

    Anna
  • Joe35Joe35 Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Anna,

    Yoga is not something I know much about so I'll have a look.
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi,
    Sorry to hear this, it always comes as a shock and is a "club" no one wants to join though as someone who only joined the forum this year I can vouch for the fact that everyone here is very friendly and it's a great source of support, advice and encouragement. I'd have to agree with the warning about so called miracle cures and treatments, if you go onto the Arthritis research site there are links to research as to which alternative treatments may be/are effective, though the main treatment is anti-inflammatries and pain killers, but if you are given an anti-inflammatory such as diclofenac or Naproxen do make sure you are also prescribed a stomach buffer.
    As for work, as a first step I woukd suggest you ask your "manager", not sure how that works in the Police for a referral to Occupational Health as they will be able to advise on things like suitable chairs.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • Joe35Joe35 Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks slosh, appreciate the advice.

    Joe
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    No problem. Let us know how you get on
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
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