Morning, just diagnosed with OA and very lost.

Acheyback
Acheyback Member Posts: 6
edited 18. Mar 2015, 07:06 in Say Hello Archive
Hi everyone,

I am a 34 year mum of two fab boys, and this week I have been diagnosed with OA, I'm very lost and not really sure what to do now? Here's a little background info about my situation.

I have had a bad back since I was about 18, then it was just an ache at the very bottom of my spine. Over the years the problem has gradually worsened to where I am today, which is in a degree of pain ( which varies) throughout every day. I had an X-ray on my chest about 8 years ago where a slight scoliosis was discovered- nothing to worry about was the advice.

Skip forward 8 years the pain had got quite intense, some days I could barely walk, or drive, but these were always limited occasions for a few days at a time and would eventually pass, leaving the normal degree of pain. I had an Xray last week ( referred by a physio that I have had 2 sessions with) The Xray shows the scoliosis has got a lot worse and the physio read the report which indicated I know have OA, and some nerve damage. That's really all the physio said, then just got on with showing me what exercises I should do and advised to start going to pilates. He did say that this condition doesn't get any better, but with strengthening exercises we can hope to hold the OA at bay for as long as possible.

I don't really know what to do from here? Do I need to see my GP so they are aware of this? I am in pain every day from my neck through to my right shoulder all the way to the bottom of my back, the scoliosis makes it hard to exercise as when I run it makes the muscles on the right side spasm and then I'm in agony, I had been running for 3 years prior to this and just going to see a osteopath to " iron out the kinks" and enable me to walk around and do house work, go to work etc. Now I'm wondering if I should give up on the running and try something else, will continuing to try to run exacerbate my problem? I though putting up with the agony and running was a healthy thing to do, sounds stupid even to me now I've written it.

Sorry for the long post, I'm very confused, I've read lots of conflicting info on the net.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

Achey back.

Comments

  • moderator
    moderator Moderator Posts: 4,081
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Welcome to Arthritis Care Forums

    As mods we are here to help with any problems you may have on the message boards.

    There are lots of lovely people here with a wide range of experiences with arthritis and the problems of living with the condition. Just join in wherever you like you will be made very welcome.

    I look forward to seeing you posting on the boards.

    Best wishes
    Mod B
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,630
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Acheyback and welcome from me too :) I can empathise somewhat as, although mine is RA, and my back's pretty good (Famous last words :lol: ) it was tough when my sons were young.

    Hindsight - that perfect 20 / 20 vision, eh? I'd guess that running was probably not the best thing for your back but it will have kept other muscles in good nick so don't beat yourself up about it. Exercise is not just good but very necessary for us on here as strong muscles support the joints and supported joints deteriorate more slowly and hurt less. The best exercises are usually those which strengthen the muscles while supporting the joints - hence swimming is usually recommended and cycling but cycling might be more for knees than backs. As your physio for the best advice.

    Yes, your GP should be up to date with everything and probably is because consultants and physios usually send in a report but it might be a good idea to make an appointment anyway and discuss things.

    You don't mention pain relief. My view is the less, the better but sometimes it's needed and this would be something to talk to the GP about.

    Be careful of the internet - it's the Wild West of medical stuff. Stick to sites where you know you'll get accurate info with no-one trying to flog you the latest 'miracle cure'. This one, NHS Choices and Arthritis Research UK are my usual ones.

    Please ask any questions you like and feel free to join in on any other threads :D
  • Acheyback
    Acheyback Member Posts: 6
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for your replies,

    Tbh sticky wicket I have quite a high pain threshold ( she says flexing her muscles) so to date I just use heat pads, hot baths, nurofen gel and the osteopath to help with the pain, I really don't want to go down the route of taking medication until or unless it is completely necessary.

    Thanks for your good advice, I will go and see my GP just to discuss things, although I don't think I'll be doing too much differently at the moment - Other than stopping running and giving cycling and pilates a go, it really helps with your mental health to be able to exercise imo. I currently work as a teaching assistant at a primary school, do I need to let the school know? It would be great to be let off getting all the PE equipment out and lugging it every where- Carrying 30 netballs can be very painful lol.

    Its very scary when you're told that your joints have very little cartilage and are literally grinding themselves away rubbing against each other.....But reading some posts on here has put things in perspective again.

    Thank you again.

    Achey back
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,552
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, it's nice to meet you but I am sorry you have had to find us. OA is very common (there are between 8 - 10 million arthritics in the UK and the majority have OA) but I am one of the lucky ones who won the arthritis lottery and have a creaky foot in both camps: my auto-immune version has led to OA in many useful joints and rendered me unable to walk any distance without aids. De nada, at least I have the aids. :)

    Pain is the ground elder of our lives, it grinds away at us affecting the quality of our sleep, the quality of our tempers and emotions and, basically, the quality of life. Whatever we do will bring only temporary respite and it's best to get to grips with that notion as quick as you can. It's here and it's here to stay - you are far from alone with dealing with this malarkey which I know is very cold comfort.

    There are no meds specifically for OA, it is a matter of pain relief (such as the Nurofen gel you are using) and maybe an anti-inflammatory drug. I think you should let your employers know because you will only exacerbate matters by carrying on lifting heavy weights and that is the last thing you want to do. You should definitely make an appointment to talk things over with your GP because this is his / her remit.

    I wish you well. DD
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,630
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think that's a great plan - as few paindullers as possible, plenty of exercise of the right kind and liaising with your GP because, when we have long-term health problems, we all have to work as a team and that really helps.

    I'm retired and was unable to work for many years beforehand but I think letting your employer know is a good thing. There's absolutely no point in doing things which will only make matters worse if there's any alternative.

    As for the grinding and lack of cartilage - I agree, it does seem bad when you think of it. I just tried not to (think of it, that is) on the grounds there was nothing I could do. I was very happy when they gave me two new ones though :D
  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi
    Welcome to the forums
    One thing I thought when I read your message is......ask for copy letters of any visits to consultants.,......they will contact your GP but its nice to know what they say, or what they advise the GP to do....it keeps you in the loop.
    I have kypho scoliosis and oA in hips, anklelower back and neck.
    You've got the right idea not going down the med. route if you can help it.
    Exercise is important but low impact exercise not high impact like running.
    Arthritis care do lots of booklets including exercise ones.

    Love
    Hileena
  • Acheyback
    Acheyback Member Posts: 6
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi all,

    Thanks for your replies, lots of good advice and information to digest.

    I have made an appointment with my Dr for this Friday afternoon, hopefully she will be able to give me a little more detail. I'm unsure whether to mention it to my employer before or after I have been to see my Dr, bearing in mind I will have to have time off for the Dr's app anyway....I'm a teaching assistant in a primary school so there is an awful lot of climbing, lifting, sitting on the floor, P.E etc. At the moment I'm thinking about what difference telling them will make to my job role, not a lot probably.

    My Physio Emailed me the details of a local center that specialises in pilates, sports massage etc for people with back issues. Nothing is ever easy though, the lady that deals with scoliosis and OA only takes classes on a Mon and Thur morning:(

    Well I'm going to spend some time reading through some of the old posts on here to get as much info as possible.


    Thank you again for your advice, its nice to hear from people that deal with/have dealt with the same types of issues.

    Achey back.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,552
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    We are a wise lot, we know our stuff and will always be practising arthritics. I may have retired from work aged 53 due to my conditions but I still have to work with the arthritis. :wink: I think it only in your best interests to mention it to your employers because any form of arthritis is degenerative and progressive, once it's moved in it will not move out, and it will affect how you can do your job. You can do your job but how you do it may have to be adjusted and you need your employer on-side with that.

    This forum does reflect a rather skewed version of arthritis because those who regularly post are of the long-standing-and-maybe-not-necessarily-responding-well-to-the-meds arthritics; those who are doing OK are out there getting on with life and currently don't need us. I think it's a shame that they don't take the time to encourage people who are new to this malarkey but why would they? For the time being they are sorted, which must be a lovely feeling. DD
  • Chris01
    Chris01 Member Posts: 32
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Acheyback wrote:
    Hi everyone,
    He did say that this condition doesn't get any better, but with strengthening exercises we can hope to hold the OA at bay for as long as possible.

    Achey back.

    Yes, I would agree with your physio for strengthening exercises. I have knee OA and this helps me to improve/maintain strength and tone of my knee muscles. Give it try with proper trained physio. whats his view on your running?

    Chris.

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