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Hello from Henrietta

HenriettaHenrietta Posts: 16
edited 16. Nov 2019, 09:39 in Say hello
Hi just introducing myself as a newbie to the forum.
Not sure what to say- I'm 51 and some days feel like 91. I've had hysterectomy and oopherectomy 7 years ago, poor biomechanics in legs , history of plantar fasciitis and poor driving position so knees go in independant directions.
Previous family carer so knees been working overtime for many years.
recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis in one knee but also get stiff and achy in hips , other knee, ankles and spine varying degrees at various times. I'm on Naproxen twice a day for inflammatory arthritis.
Now I can concentrate on me and caring is in the past , I'm looking for hints and tips to control, reduce or learn to live with the aches and pains.
I joined a gym and have had physio but generally feel to clapped out to get started as very busy at work/home/dogs etc.
Looking for way forward and look forward to chatting with you.


  • moderatormoderator Posts: 4,082 mod
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Henrietta,

    Welcome to the forum it’s a pleasure to meet you. Well done to you coming here to find information to help yourself, that must be strange after so long. You know you’ve got osteoarthritis in your knee and have been given an anti inflammatory med to help with that, and of course inflammation anywhere else. I remember I was put on an anti inflammatory med and suddenly I could turn my head - I hadn’t noticed I was turning my whole upper body to look left and right!

    Here’s the link to information on osteoarthritis of the knee to start with


    You are right that exercise, weight control and diet are all important areas to check as we get older, good work joining a gym. You need to start from where you are now, you know how much exercise you can do atm, so aim to increase that a bit at a time. Walking, swimming and cycling are all good for OA and you can do all of them at a gym. I guess you walk with your dogs, maybe you would all benefit from going a bit further or faster or both.

    This is the Versus Arthritis information on pain management to give you a start in that direction


    Looking forward to seeing your next posts,
    Take care

    Yvonne x
  • HenriettaHenrietta Posts: 16
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Yvonne

    Thanks for the links and the welcome
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,993 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Hentrietta and welcome from me too.

    Firstly, just to get the picture right, are you sure you were diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis as opposed to osteoarthritis? The latter causes localised inflammation but the former causes inflammation throughout the body adn can only be diagnosed by a rheumatologist. I have both (just greedy :roll: ) and would expect you to be on disease modifying meds if you had an inflammtory form of arthritis.

    OA is, of course, more than enough :wink: My methods of dealing with it are (i)distraction, (ii)exercise(s) and (ii) pain relief. I understand the feeling of being 'too clapped out' to exercise but, actually, the lack of exercise not only makes us more tired but also leaves muscles too weak to properly support our aching joints so they ache more. Just doing lots of daily jobs is good but not good enough as there will still be some muscles that don't get used enough.

    I know it will be hard but, with arthritis, it's essential to compromise and prioritise. We have to let some things go in order to be able to do more important things. Otherwise we just hand our lives over to arthritis and let it do its worst. With thought and some humility there are always ways in which we can change, let go of lesser things in order to hang on to more important ones.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, it's nice to meet you and I am sorry you have had to find us. Like sticky I have a creaky foot in both camps, I began with an auto-immune arthritis (psoriatic arthritis, PsA when I was 37) which in due course also led to osteo: some joints have one, some the other and others both. I am now 60 and know a bit about both.

    I took naproxen for some time before the osteo was diagnosed and it did so little for the arthritis that I noticed no difference when I stopped. Diclofenac replaced it when the ost3o was diagnosed, and it was good for me, but of course was withdrawn due to raising the risk of heart attack. I now apply it topically using Voltarol but only when I have over-used the OA joints (knees, ankles and hips). The other kind of inflammation is controlled by the medication for my PsA.

    Of the two I prefer the OA as it gives the illusion of my being in charge - to a certain extent - over how much it hurts. Obviously I can't control the weather but I can restrain myself from eating too much acidic food and overdoing physical activity. I've overdone things today preparing for a house guest so I'm off now to rest, wait for my pain relief to dull the sharper edges so I can last into the evening, perhaps. :lol: DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • HenriettaHenrietta Posts: 16
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Stickywicket and dreamdaisy
    Sorry for delay in reply. I guess I'm a bit confused re what variety I have got. I would say the left knee is osteoarthritis as it was diagnosed by x ray and shows wear and tear on the joint.
    I assume that the remander are down to inflammatory arthritis. I know blood tests have shown inflamation in the past. I don't think it is particularly triggered by bad weather.
    I think due to my family caring history my sleep is bad and my current job as a paid carer isn't helping as I get up at 6.30 most mornings and some days when I do split shifts I don't finish until 10.00 at might. My incontinent dog needs a trip out in the garden around 2.00 or 3.00 AM so my sleep is totally rubbish which I know contributes to my aches and pains. I do care work at the moment for my job so that involves bending and lifting and pushing etc.
    I tend to overdo all the time with just me looking after big house, lodger and their partner, 2 jobs , big garden and 2 big dogs to cope with so I am either "doing" or in clapped out zonking mode. Interesting to read your thoughts on prioritising. As so many family carers (now former family carer)will be able to relate to , prioritising yourself is well down the list and I am out of practice. I wouldn't know where or how to begin.
    I don't find the Naproxen that helpful but only on 2 a day .
    I must try to exercise more, I joined a gym but not got there at all lately, have bought a few bits like yoga mat and things but can't find quiet time/room/space at home to get started. Excuses excuses
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,993 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    No, they're not just excuses. You have an awful lot to deal with and I'm sure you're spot on when you say you've got out of the habit of prioritising yourself. That is a kind, caring bad habit but a bad habit nonetheless as you are every bit as important as those you care for. Plus, if you don't look after yourself, you soon won't be able to look after them either.

    Can you find some time to take stock and see how and where your life can be improved? Are the two jobs necessary? Could you do something less physically demanding than care work? Can the vet find a solution to your dog's night time peeing? I'm old enough myself to have to get up in the night but at least I don't have to go outside into the cold :o:lol: so I drop off again straight away. If your dog's on medication, when it is given might make a difference.

    I think you need to know which type of arthritis you have because, if it's an inflammatory sort, you need the disease modifying meds that only a rheumatologist can prescribe. You could make an appointment with your GP to discuss this and also ask about physio. A physiotherapist could give you some exercises which are particularly suited to your needs and would perhaps also be a bit less daunting than launching yourself straight back into gym work. Diet can make a difference too. Sugary things, for example, can give a quick burst of energy but then make us much more tired than we would have been without them. Pasta is good and filling. (My last night's lasagne was a cracker :D:D )
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • HenriettaHenrietta Posts: 16
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Stickywicket
    Yes my dog is on meds which I give her at bedtime and I take her bowl of water up after dinner which I hate doing but she has always wanted to drink most of her water just before bed so she is learning new timetable. I could try adjusting time of medication.
    Yes I think I do need both jobs to keep afloat but yes perhaps a less physical job would be good but I am loath to return to stressful office work. I love being out and about.
    I seem to be permanently taking stock but unable to find solutions to not having enough hours in each day when I can be active and useful.
    Yes I have had physio and personal trainer at the gym and a load of different exercises to strengthen things. It is like dieting- I know all the rules but rubbish at fitting them in as always too busy/knackered.
    Yes I will look at my diet - yes I like too many sugary things! I will talk to GP about rheumatoid arthritis- I thought the Naproxen reduced inflamation like Ibuprofen ? Is there something else that they can prescribe?
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,993 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    To be honest it does sound as if yours is probably OA but it would be wise to make sure. If it is then, medically speaking, it's a matter of anti-inflammatories (naproxen, ibuprofen, diclofenac are the main ones) and / or pain relief such as paracetamol and codeine.

    With OA it's more about what we can do for ourselves in the way of exercise(s), diet, not smoking, not stressing, pacing ourselves. It can seem very difficult to 'fit these things' into a busy lifestyle but the alternative is to carry on until the changes are forced on us maybe more quickly and permanently than we had bargained for.

    Do you have people you could talk to about it? If not, our Helpline people are very good.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    You say you want to be active and useful but at the same time are not continually doing the things you need to do to help you be so.

    Any form of arthritis is degenerative and progressive - I began my first aged 37 and the second was diagnosed when I was 52 - so not only have I progressed and declined I am now ageing (I am now 60) which isn't helping matters. :lol: I have been health-compromised from birth so learned early on to live within my limited physical means, it cannot be easy for you coming at this from a healthy background as you have no strategies for coping, none for maintaining what you have, none for managing the loss of what you have previously taken for granted.

    I have done physio exercises since 2002, daily for the majority of that time, not because I want to but because I have to. Over the years other exercises have been added to the mix to help deal with further physical issues (plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis) brought about by the arthritis so they are done too because if I don't they recur: what's the point in that? I have begun work with a new personal trainer and it is not about hoppping on and off equipment, it's about strengthening muscles through resistance work to better support my ghastly joints. I don't go for the burn because it is already there, 24/365.

    You cannot carry on as you are because the person you are harming is yourself. Sometimes we have to do less to achieve more, our thinking has to be far more flexible than our joints and we need to develop a new perspective on what life is and how it has to be lived to get the best from it. I follow the arthritis ABC, adapt, believe, compromise. I now know that because I have used walking aids since 2002 my joints, although poor, are in better shape than they would have been. I know, through time and experience, that the exercises (small and constant) have made a difference but there have been times when I couldn't see the point in doing them. Stopping them soon proved why they needed to be done. This is all relatively new to you I think (TBH I am too tired to go back and read your history) so it must be far harder. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • HenriettaHenrietta Posts: 16
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Many thanks Stickywicket and dreamdaisy. Very kind of both of you to share your experience and offer advice.
    I am taking on board what you are saying . I've had so much to deal with lately with major changes going on and moving on from family caring plus staying afloat and trying to figure out how to keep the house going forwards. It's not easy when you are on your own. I may well ring the help line soon and will try to factor in some changes. I'm going to start a new thread to see what benefits people have experienced by dieting , changing foods and shedding some weight.
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