What advice and treatment should I expect from my doctor?

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DaisyMay
DaisyMay Member Posts: 7
edited 8. Jul 2019, 09:30 in Living with arthritis
Hello everyone. Can anyone please tell me what their experiences were when they first consulted their doctor about knee pain and swelling? Mine seemed very cursory on the first visit, told me I had arthritis in the kneecap as he could feel it, sent me to have an XRay at the hospital and I was out in well under the ten minutes allowed. When I rang the surgery to ask if the XRay result was in the receptionist said yes, the doctor would talk to me about it and to make an appointment in the next 6 weeks. I saw a different doctor when I went for the results of the XRay and she told me I have mild to moderate osteoarthritis and there was a lot of fluid in the joint. She asked if the first doctor had talked abou a steroid injection but after moving my leg into various positions she advised I just carried on to see how I went and come back if I experienced more pain. I don't have any prescribed pain/anti inflammatory medication at all. Although I'm entitled to free prescriptions due to my age, I'm buying Voltarol gel to use when I think I need it but I've no idea whether I can use it long term. I've been hit so hard by the very sudden appearance of the symptoms although I know very well it'll have all been going on silently for years. I tried to tell the doctor that I'd been so upset I found it difficult to sleep beyond dawn and struggled with anxiety during the day but nothing was said.

Comments

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 3,635
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Daisy May,

    Welcome to the forum. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts as you investigate the different areas we cover.

    It sounds like you have osteoarthritis and your experience sounds pretty usual in that your GP assesses whether OA is present. However you could have been given advice regarding OA, likely progression and how you can best manage it.
    Here is the link from the VersusArthritis website

    https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/osteoarthritis/

    Have a read, then let us know how we can help further, and what you find most useful

    Take care

    Yvonne x
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    There is very little treatment that GPs can offer: pain relief, maybe an anti-inflammatory medication and perhaps a referral to physiotherapy is it. None of the above will do much to relieve the worst of the symptoms and as yours is currently only affecting one part it will be far more apparent which adds an extra layer of difficulty. The things we can do to help ourselves include losing weight, distraction activities so we are not focusing on the pain, using either heat to comfort sore joints or ice to cool swollen ones, being sensible about taking pain relief and understanding that it will usually hurt worse in the evenings, the mornings and in cold and damp weather. I 'manage' my OA with pain relief, exercise and rest, I am in my 23rd year of arthritis (I began aged 37) have both kinds, around forty affected joints so know a little about the challenges it presents.

    Any form of arthritis is progressive and degenerative and surgery, which can make a difference, will only be done once a certain point of joint damage has been reached. There are around ten million arthritics in the UK, the majority having OA, so its ubiquity can work against it. When my OA was diagnosed in 2011 I plunged into depression because - for some stupid reason - I thought I'd ticked the arthritis box :lol: so I began to take a small, daily dose of an anti-depressant because when I am stronger mentally I can cope better physically. The meds I take for my auto-immune arthritis do nothing to ease the OA but the pain relief helps to dull the sharper edges of the pain allowing me to get on,
    albeit increasingly slowly, with the chores of life. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,710
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello Daisymay and welcome from me too. My situation is different from yours because my knee OA (osteoarthritis) arrived due to years of RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and I only found out about it when told I needed a knee replacement. Two actually :roll: I had thought all the pain was due to RA but, no, some of it was OA.

    GPs can seem quite offhand about OA. There's little they can do other than prescribe anti-inflammatories and pain relief and we're probably better off without either if we can manage. They can, though, also refer us for physio and that's very useful. Strong muscles support the joints and so the joints hurt less. Cycling is particularly recommended for knee OA. This thread from Mark shows just how beneficial it can be https://arthritiscareforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=50159&p=652955&hilit=cycling#p652955
    Swimming is also good or just plain exercises. Other than that it's a sensible weight and diet and no smoking.

    Probably, your diclofenac gel came with a leaflet inside. That should tell you all about how to use it and who shouldn't. Pharmacists, at the local chemist, are even better. Ask about it and, if you take any other medicines or dietary supplements that it could interact with, ask about them. Usually topical gels are much less likely to cause problems than pills but better safe than sorry.

    It's only natural to worry after a diagnosis but, hopefully, your knee will have a good few years left in it yet. After which you'll be able to get it replaced. My replacement operations have all been great. Try not to worry about the future. None of us, with or without arthritis, knows what the future holds and, on a purely practical level, stressing only makes arthritis worse. Conversely, ignoring it as much as possible makes us less aware of the pain.

    Go easy on yourself. Give yourself time to accept the diagnosis and you will come to realise it's far from the end of the world. Be willing to adapt, as needed. That's how I've come to find some really fun things to do.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • DaisyMay
    DaisyMay Member Posts: 7
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Thanks to Yvonne, dream daisy and stickywicket for taking the trouble to reply to me on Saturday and for your sound advice.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,710
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    You're welcome :D
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright