Mild Arthritis Diagnosis but Unbelievable Pain

Inuitbiker
Inuitbiker Member Posts: 15
edited 20. Feb 2019, 06:29 in Living with arthritis
Hello Everyone.
A few months ago I was diagnosed with very mild hip arthritis and while It's true that some days my hip isn't too bad most days I have the constant ache in my thigh and sporadic shooting pains. My doctor says that my xray showed lots of joint space so it will be years before I need a replacement. However every so often if I stumble or move the wrong way I suffer the most horrendous pain I have ever felt in my life. I've broken my back before crushing my L5 vertebrae in a mountain bike accident but this pain is much worse than I felt the day . Thankfully after a minute or so the pain subsides in my hip but to be honest this pain scares me as I know if I had that all the time I dont think i would be able to walk. The other thing that worries me that every week my arthritis slowly appears to be getting worse with these sudden moments of intense pain happening more often with less provocation . Im now starting to feel frustrated and worried as these painful episodes contradict the mild arthritis xray and I'm wondering if I should ask the doctor for another xray or perhaps an MRI in case this is something more than OA. However I don't really want to bother the doc as he gave the impression that apart from painkillers there was nothing more that could be done.

I've now stopped exercising as I seem to be making my hip worse too.
For those that have hip arthritis can you please confirm that my sudden massively intense pain episodes are just normal for mild arthritis. Honestly tonight I had an episode and it nearly floored me. Felt like I'd broken my femur right accross the joint!
If it is then I will just have to suck it up and hope at some point my arthritis slows down. I do wonder how I would cope though if the pain was like that all the time.
Thanks for your advice

Comments

  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I am sorry that you have received your diagnosis, it is a bit of a shock despite it being expected, yes? I was told once that a medico had said that no-one had a high pain threshold, merely inefficient neural pathways. It sounds as though yours are hyper-efficient; males also have more pain receptors than females so tend to feel things more keenly.

    I cannot help really as I cannot recall how things were when my first arthritis was getting up a head of steam and by the time the OA was diagnosed in 2011 pain was a way of life. When the arthritis is affecting just one or two joints I think it stands out more and is harder to deal with. I suggest a trip to your GP to discuss various pain relief options, exercise is essential to keep the muscles surrounding the joints stronger and more flexible so they better support the joint (I am going to have that on my gravestone, I type it so often) and he might refer you to physiotherapy for specific exercises, I still do my physio exercises in a daily basis. I have to pay much more attention to how I move so as to avoid any sudden twists or stumbles but should I fail to do so then yes, the resulting pain can be horrendous and long-lasting as my joints punish me for being so careless. I have around forty affected joints including my hips, it's like living in a kindergarten of ASBO'd toddlers. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • moderator
    moderator Moderator Posts: 4,085
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Inuitbiker,

    Sudden sharp pains are truly awful I agree, they are your bodies way of telling you to take care, it’s just a pity they aren’t doing it a bit more quietly. I have times on the street when I just have to stop and wait for it to pass and hope I don’t cause a pile up in the process!

    Exercise is there to keep the muscles strong around the joint. When they are in top condition they stop your hip moving in the way that causes pain spikes so much. But you have to pace yourself. That means being aware of how much is too much. So you want range of movement and strength.

    Here’s the suggested exercises suggested by Versus Arthritis

    https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/hip-pain/#Exercises-for-hip-pain

    Choose the exercises that you feel suit where you are now, do maybe 3 repetitions, relax and stop. If you manage that comfortably keep doing them just like that for a week, still ok you could either increase the number of repetitions or add in another exercise or both. Only bend as much as you can now, not what you could do last year or what you want to do, increase in tiny steps. Do the exercises lots during the day, when you brew up or go to the loo, that’s better than doing more less often.

    Do you take any pain relief? It might be helpful

    Also if you want to chat things over do ring our helpline, they are very supportive and helpful, here’s the number
    0800 520 0520.

    Take care
    Yvonne x
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,248
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there and welcome from me too.

    I can't really add much to Mod Yvonne's and DD's excellent advice but only strongly endorse the value of exercise(s) in our struggles against arthritis. I don't know where I'd be without them.

    As for the intensity of the pain at times, I don't think it will necessarily just get so that it's like that more and more often. I've had two hip replacements and even just before having the last one (The first one I'd broken it) I was tottering round with a stick. I think Pain, when one isn't used to it, is very scary and so it should be. It's purpose is to tell us there's something wrong so that we can get it put right. But, with arthritis, we can't. Gradually, we get used to the pain and this makes it easier to accept and even ignore to some extent.

    Just as a footnote to the value of exercise - my husband has arthritis in his hip but has always been into playing rugby, cricket and, in his later years, golf and walking and doing lots of gardening. When the doc saw his x-ray he couldn't believe what he could do with it. I think he'd been going to offer a hip replacement. That, I believe, is the value of exercise. His muscles must be amazingly strong and supportive.

    Having said all that, if you are still very anxious about it, do have another chat with your GP. I hope things will improve.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Miffed
    Miffed Member Posts: 4
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Inuitbiker,

    You have my sympathy.
    After years of pain, I finally went to the doctor in 2017 and was told after various X-rays that I was suffering from "moderate" osteoarthritis in my right hip and both knees. Being ignorant of arthritis terminology, I purchased a whole load of helpful arthritis books, which told me that moderate arthritis might respond to the exercises they recommended. At that time I was still relieved to have "only" moderate arthritis and fully believed the diagnosis.

    By the summer of 2018, I was back at the doctor's surgery and hardly able to get out of the chair to stagger through to his office. He told me that he would refer me to a surgeon immediately. Now, 13 weeks after one knee replacement, I am awaiting a hip replacement. My surgeon surprised me by telling me that I had "severe" arthritis and that my joints were "awful", which contradicted everything that had been said previously. If the original diagnosis was correct, I am amazed at how quickly my condition deteriorated. The hip pain is so intense that it masks any benefits so far gained by the knee replacement.

    It might be a good idea to get back to your doctor, inform him of the dreadful pain and demand a reassessment. I had no idea at all of how fast arthritic joints could deteriorate and it's been a steep learning curve for me.

    I am so thankful for this forum and its helpful advice and I wish you all the best.
  • Inuitbiker
    Inuitbiker Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks everyone for you help and advice it really means a lot to me. I have nobody to share my true feeling with so I find it tough at times.. Thanks for listening and coming back with your experiences,thoughts and advice.

    I was also diagnosed with mild knee arthritis just over a year ago and while the pain can be sore and make me limp I can also tune it out quite a bit . My hip in comparison is so much worse.
    For pain relief I have been dabbling with Turmeric and the last month or so Glucosamine to avoid stomach problems with other drugs but to be honest I've started getting indigestion issues so I dont think the Glucosamine is agreeing with me. I stopped it last week. I do take paracetamol when I get the horrible stabbing sharp pains and background horrible ache. The really intense pain episodes only occur every 4 or 5 days if I'm careful. If I had that pain all time I think I'd need morphine. Lol!
    I will take your advice on exercise. I have been very focused on trying to get my range of motion back and have therefore been pushing through the sharp pain and that's what probably making things worse so i'll start again but being more careful this time.
    Hopefully I can avoid the worst pain episodes for the time being by moving carefully but if it gets worse I will go back to the doctor as that pain isn't mild.

    Mentally I've been a bit all over the place of late. I tend to think of the worst casec scenarios often but I know I need to focus more on the positive.
    I am very grateful to you all for helping me to do that. Thank you !
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    There is a sinple reason this forum exists. If the copper, the magnets, the turmeric, the glucosamine, the green-tipped mussel extract, the cider vinegar, the beetroot, the celery, the drinking-more-water and all the other nonsense that is flogged at us worked, the forum would not be needed. They don't so it does. As Anton Chekhov once wrote 'When many solutions are offered it means the problem is unsolvable.'

    Once the cartilage has gone it has GONE. Nothing makes it come back and, as we move differently to reduce the pain we throw other joints out of kilter to compensate and thus erode more cartilage. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,248
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    You have us to 'talk to' now and please feel free to do so whenever it helps. Unfortnately :roll: we do understand though we often wish we didn't :lol:

    If this is 'the worst pain of your life' I doubt you can deal with it using paracetamol and supplements alone. Believe me, none of us likes taking meds but, for most of us, there's no choice. I have RA which means I have a faulty, overactive immune system which attacks my own body not just 'foreign invaders. If I don't dampen it down the RA will go beserk.

    I think there's some evidence that turmeric and glucosamine can help a little in early stage OA but the emphasis is on the 'little'. I'm with Dara O'Briain who said "Herbal medicine's been around for thousands of years!" Indeed it has, and then we tested it all, and the stuff that worked became 'medicine'. And the rest of it is just a nice bowl of soup and some potpourri." Also many people think that 'herbal' or 'natural' means 'safe'. Not at all. Prescribed meds have to undergo serious safety checks but, though some herbal companies now submit themselves to voluntary testing, it's not compulsory.

    I think the time has come when you're going to need more than the herbals. Anti-inflammatories are the usual route. Yes, they can cause stomach upsets too so anyone taking them regularly should also be prescribed a stomach-protecting med. It ain't fun but it's better than the alternative.

    As for the exercises - I'm a huge believer in the value of them but go gently when things are rough. Don't try to recover lost ground asap. Little and often is the way to go.

    Good luck with it all and do remember we're here whenever we can help. Arthritis causes emotional pain as well as physical and just letting it all out can help sometimes.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Hodgy
    Hodgy Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm on the same stage as you- I've taken glucosamin for years and vitamin D and calcium supplement. I have recently started taking turmeric and for a month I have wasted a fair bit of money taking high strength canabis oil- the legal version. Which hasn't worked at all. I'm 45 and I have osteo arthritis in my thumbs, knees and foot. I'm also a runner and to this day I still remain one. I ran today- which makes me a runner. I tried to run yesterday but couldn't and walked home in tears- but today I ran 7 miles. It wasn't pain free but it was a joy to be out and manage the sport I love. So don't give up hope, don't give up trying. It is true- maybe none of it really works and the people on here no far more than I do. I only joined a few weeks ago. But you have to have hope if not you allow the possibility for depression to set in. You have to believe- you are more than just a 'mild diagnosis' YOU have a life to lead still. Take care. always here too if you want to chat X
  • Inuitbiker
    Inuitbiker Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks again for your help.
    You are all such nice people and I am so gratefull to you all.
    I have read some of the forum postings and I am saddened about the pain suffered by all of you with this horrible group of diseases. I am humbled that despite so much suffering that there are so many amazing people offering support to people like myself even when those giving it suffer too. I've had some low points but you've really helped me

    I am hoping that in someway I can capture some of the great courage that is reflected in so many postings on this forum.

    Thanks and take care.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,248
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think you already have the courage. Some days we just all have to dig deep to find it.

    As for giving help when we are in pain too - well, if we don't, who will? I think most people find it easier to 'talk' to those who genuinely understand, from personal experience, how it is. It saves time, effort and long explanations, for a start and it can also mean that we aren't banging on about pain all the time to our nearest and dearest.

    Please stay with us if we can help, either as a frequent flyer or an infrequent visitor. It's why the forum exists.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran