Manual Labourer Diagnosed Osteoarthritis

Inuitbiker
Inuitbiker Member Posts: 15
edited 9. Jan 2019, 15:00 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hello there
I'm a 53 year old manual labourer just diagnosed with mild hip and knee athritis. I say mild but I must be a wimp because when it's cold it can be quite painful!
Anyway I'm just wondering how long I can continue cutting down trees. How quickly does this horrible joint problem take to progress. I have checkled the Web and there does not appear to be any concise information. I worry if my job will make it worse. When it's warmer it's not so painful but it totally changes when cold. I've never been one for drugs not even paracetamol but now starting to realise I need to take them or I become like a grizzly bear.
I feel like a wimp when reading many of people's problems on here and I am inspired by so much bravery.
Thanks for any advice.

Comments

  • Airwave!
    Airwave! Member Posts: 2,431
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Think about what you can do rather than what you can't. You need to lead with a positive attitude.
  • mig
    mig Member Posts: 7,152
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Everybody is different in the way their arthritis progresses,do what you can when you can but try not to over do things.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,224
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi and welcome from me, too, inuitbiker. Probably the reason why you can find no info is because, really, there's no 'standard' timescale. Arthritis tends to do what it likes when it likes.

    Frankly (and I guess even the unpalatable truth is better than fiction) in your shoes I'd be checking out any work that seems interesting. There's no predicting how long you'll be able to carry on with your present employment but I think the chances of it being indefinite are not high.

    And don't worry about being a wimp. Arthritis does make cowards of us all. It's cruel but, oddly, one does get used to it. My attitude is to take as little pain relief as I can get away with but, when it's necessary, it's necessary so please don't beat yourself up abut it.

    Dare I wish you a Happy New Year :D Oh yes, we can still enjoy life
    newyear02
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    There are around ten million arthritics in the UK, with the majority having OA. Its ubiquity works against it and there is no hard-and-fast information because arthritis is not a predictable disease. I am one of the lucky ones with a creaky foot in both camps, my OA (diagnosed in 2011) being caused by my other auto-immune version (which began in 1997).

    My OA is noticeably worse in cold and damp weather, barometric pressure affects it too. I find that overdoing things aggravates it as does eating too much acidic foods (pickles, tomatoes, fruit). I am used to it (no point in not being really, after all this time) but for someone like yourself who is new to it it must be a shock. Everyone's version of the disease is unique to them, as are their abilities to deal with pain. Males have more pain receptors than females but if the neural pathways are generally inefficient you won't feel things as keenly, regardless of gender. I wish I did not have to eke out my fragile existence on medication but it is thanks to the meds that I am able to do all that I achieve and I am grateful to them and for them.

    I worked for seventeen years but was fortunate in that my job was not physical and I was self-employed. I retired early and love every moment of not working - my heart goes out to those who remain unable to partake of this luxury. Both my conditions improve with rest but never to the point of going away because they never will. As time passes you will find what helps you, you will develop coping strategies and begin to learn how to place yourself and plan for events and holidays. Your life is changing but it isn't the first that has had to and won't be the last - both of which is irrelevant because this is you and that makes it different. DD
  • crinkly1
    crinkly1 Member Posts: 156
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello. It's a real blow to receive a diagnosis like yours and it takes some getting used to so be patient with yourself as you investigate the realities and options for dealing with pain and finding the right balance of exercise and rest in pacing yourself.

    As has been said, OA is unpredictable and I was fortunate, having finally to take early retirement from a physically demanding job about ten years after diagnosis.

    There are inevitable 'downs' to negotiate and, when the future is so uncertain, it's hard to plan very far ahead. Taking each day as it comes and learning to respond to your own body is challenging but the reward of some totally unexpected 'ups' is well worth the effort.

    Take good care of yourself and don't rush into making firm decisions but find as good support as you can.

    Crinkly1
  • Inuitbiker
    Inuitbiker Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Many thanks to everyone for your suggestions,goodwill and advice.
    Over the last few weeks I've been on a bit of a roller coaster. I have tried to be positive but
    despite starting a gentle routine of exercise and stretching it seems the symptoms are slowly getting worse. This has been happening over the last 3 months or so I'm now questioning whether it's worth excercising especially as I seem to be making it worse
    Doctor has basically said that apart from pain killers there's nothing that can be done at this stage.
    Such is life I guess.
    Thanks again
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Any form of arthritis is degenerative and progressive - once that tide has turned it cannot be stopped but we can slow the rate at which it happens (or at least feel as though we are doing that). Exercise does seem counter-intuitive, after all when things hurt we naturally do not want to exacerbate the pain but, if we allow the muscles that surround our joints to become weak and flabby they no longer support the joint as well as they could do, which in turn exacerbates the arthritis. Hobson's Choice.

    I inadvertantly had a very active summer in 2017 and found that although the pain in my knee, ankle and hip joints had not diminished it was a different kind of pain: not quite as sharp, not quite as thorough and this was due to my leg muscles being generally stronger and fitter, thus they were better supporting the joints. I began working with a personal trainer who gave me the confidence to try things I thought I could not do - after twenty years of increasing pain and decreasing mobility to find out that all I needed was a bit of gumption was a revelation.

    Exercise is important but it has to be of the right kind: non weight-bearing is ideal so swimming, cycling and a cross-trainer are good ways to go. I don't do either of the former due to joint damage but I like the latter (and the treadmill) and will make more of an effort to get to my gym, I am feeling the lack of the exercise over Christmas (no excuse either, I could easily have gone throughout the Christmas period but opted not to so this is all self-induced). I know from experience that the time to go for an unaided walk is when things are screaming at me - when I return they are screaming in a different way and a little quieter, plus I have the satisfaction of knowing I have overcome the beast. I am many years ahead of you and have more going on than OA - I know how hard it must be for someone who is new to it all and I'd not swap places for all the tea in China. DD
  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    despite starting a gentle routine of exercise and stretching it seems the symptoms are slowly getting worse. This has been happening over the last 3 months or so I'm now questioning whether it's worth excercising especially as I seem to be making it worse
    It may seem that way but it's unlikely that you have made things worse if, as you say, it's a gentle routine using muscles rather than bashing joints with impact exercise. It's more likely simply(!) coincidence and the perceived deterioration would have happened anyway. As DD says exercise is necessary to enable the muscles to support the joints, but it does seem counter-intuitive when stuff hurts.
  • stellabean
    stellabean Member Posts: 307
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi I was very active and busy doing a physically demanding job as well as many past times until I was assaulted 19 years ago.I had damage to my neck and it was discovered that I had oa and spinal degeneration ( at 40 I had the spine of 80 yr old) Neurosurgeon said he wouldn't touch the neck damage and if it hurt to walk to sit in a wheel chair, pretty much go away and deal with it. I haven't taken to a chair yet but have had to work hard at coming to terms with loss of my previous life. What works for one person may not work for another I do have the help of a specialist physio who is specially trained in pilaties ( I know I spelt this wrong brain fog) I have been dong this in a group for people with arthritis and spinal problems everyone's programme is individual and it has made a great difference to my stability,core strength and my mental well being as I feel I am in control of something.
    I haven't mentioned pain well I try as much as possible to not let it rule my life I have been to pain management with mixed results ( spinal injection that went wrong and severe pain for 12 months ) to being told that my pain only affects me so get on with it or that it was due to me having had a large number of miss carriages in the past and to talk about them would make the pain in my spine go away. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in September and am at the start of another journey .
    When ever you are given the sort of news you have there are various processes to go through grieving for what is lost, anger at why me! anger at yourself or your body or at the medical profession because they can't fix it, and having to accept that things have to change. This all takes time and everyone is different, I wish you as stress free journey through to a better pain control. One thing I have tried not to do was stop using joints as I believe use it or loose it ,it far harder to restart using a joint than to keep it moving been there done that and got the limp to prove it. Good luck.
  • Airwave!
    Airwave! Member Posts: 2,431
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    If you've read through the above you'll find skme good and firm opinions on how to deal with arther, not quite so straight forward as you may imagine.


    Good luck and don't beat yourself up.