How to get a confirmed diagnosis

Hi I am 60 years of age and have taken diclofenac for knee pain since I was around 19.I now have pain in my neck which causes headache and cracks and grinds when I try rolling my head to exercise the joint I also have hip and lower back pain knee pain wrist pain and legs ache after walking. I have been to go and they are arranging community physio and doing blood tests but I would like to get a proper diagnosis as my work is very physical and these issues are affecting me at work. The go has told me if the blood tests are OK they will not take my diagnosis any further. Do you have any advice as to how I could maybe get a scan to check exactly what is happening to me as this is getting worse and I feel distressed by it at times. My back pain does seem to ease off during day but when I sit or go to bed it starts again. Sorry for long question but your help would be much appreciated.msny thanks Paul

Best Answer

  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,088
    Accepted Answer

    Hi PaulBT,

    Thank you for posting on the helpline forum, I am sorry to hear that you have so many painful joints, I am pleased though that there have been arrangements made for physio for you, as doing some structured stretching and strengthening exercises will help to build up the muscles and help with stiffness.

    The term ‘arthritis’ literally means inflammation of the joint(s). But the term is often used much more widely to refer to a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions – conditions affecting the joints, bones and muscles and surrounding tissues.

    The cracking and grating noise that you have said you are experiencing is called crepitus, and it can be caused by air bubbles popping, or tissues and bones moving over each other, in the joint.

    The two most common types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis (OA) which is a condition that affects our joints, in which the cartilage within the joints thins and roughens, which can cause pain stiffness and swelling, and the grating and grinding sensation, what you are experiencing. For a diagnosis for this condition, it would be an examination, and your doctor may ask you to also have an x-ray, or an MRI scan. 

    The other condition is Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which is a condition that can cause pain, swelling and stiffness. It is known as an auto-immune condition, where our natural self-defence system gets confused and starts to attack our healthy tissues by causing inflammation.  For a diagnosis of this it would be a blood test, Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) C-reactive protein (CRP). If the test come back negative you can ask for an x-ray or a scan, theses show any changes to the joints, this can be done with a referral from your doctor.

    You are welcome to call us on our freephone helpline: 0800 5200 520 so that we can talk though your situation, and provide help and support with the pain, please do so.

    Best wishes


    Helpline Advisor


  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 145

    Hello Paul,

    Welcome to the forum, I myself have the same problem with my neck they did X-rays only after I started getting electric type shocks in my left arm the X-ray confirmed cervical spondylosis with oseophytes and would not test any further with mri I’m afraid I have fought a long and arduous battle as it’s treated as oh well it’s arthritis and been totally dismissive of the fact,

    I was contacted by the pain clinic who said oh it’s not that bad so I asked if that was from his experience of it or just his perspective anyhoo they don’t seem to understand the pain or the distress it causes but I’ve been humiliated and made to feel like a malingerer in medical circles but I dug my heels in and said enough was enough.

    Im afraid there’s no easy way I know pain clinic can get you referred for mri so you need a referral to them but their waiting list is huge speak to your GP, I find a hot water bottle at night on my neck helps a little I also purchased a tens machine that I put on my neck from Amazon and it helps too a little I’m afraid as we’re in our 60s the common fact is we’re treated as oh well your getting on a bit body wearing out a fact we know all too well but surely a little help and compassion goes a long way.

    Sorry if I’m sounding negative but dig your heels in and don’t accept things keep checking here and I’m sure others will give you valuable advice from experience

    take care and stay strong

    love Jona 😊

  • PaulBT
    PaulBT Member Posts: 5

    Many thanks for your advice Jona I experience the same as you said about it only being getting old and have the same thing at work who still expect me to be 100% efficient even though I've explained my condition and they have me working next to a door were I get all the drafts. I will take your advice and dig my heels in. Many thanks Paul

  • Jennet
    Jennet Member Posts: 6

    I found out last year that I was misdiagnosed 10 years ago. Yes I do have arthritis in my hands and base of my spine. The other areas, (from the neck down), they're unsure about. This I'm very scared about. I even have issues with my feet where my toes feel like they separate from the rest of my foot, which is excruciatingly painful. I decided to firstly complain to NHS about this. I think Jona is spot on. When you have arthritis and you're over 40 it's like no one cares. Please don't let the medical profession dismiss you as it's rude and disrespectful.

    Take care and look after yourself as best as you can.

    Jennet 😍

  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 145

    Hi Jennet,

    Sounds really awful for you with your feet I have a foot spa (a little treat for me) maybe that would help ease it, it has a little massage function mine was bought by my son for me but face pack on cup of tea and nice music little pampering does a lot

    take care

    love Jona 😊

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 846
    edited 17. Apr 2021, 20:51

    Just because arthritis is more common as you get older reason to dismiss it. That reads as ‘you’re aging so we don’t care”. Studies have shown that early intervention saves the NHS, welfare system and the economy a fortune, (by keeping us economically active and therefore also paying taxes AND having a higher disposable income - ie we buy more stuff). It’s a complete no brainer. But the medics still haven’t woken up to this. WHY is pain from arthritis so irrelevant in their eyes, when so many treatments are available or under development? Sorry, but this just makes me mad.

    i have had several elderly rescue cats in the past and my vets put more concern and effort into keeping my rickety cats going than many GPs do with their patients. I know the nhs is in meltdown atm, but honestly, would a diagnosis, some decent pain relief and physio be the end of the world?

    try going to a qualified private physio, you may get more of an assessment and diagnosis from them than the bored yawn from you gp, although they can only refer further investigations thru your gp.......🙄 but you could also try a different gp in your practice. I’ve found some much more helpful than others.

  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 145

    I agree with Lilymary my little dog was full of arthritis and my vet said yes she’s getting on a bit but let’s try make it easier for her correct tests and medication and regular check ups to see how she was doing a little compassion and understanding goes a long way

    If you call to make an appt to see gp ask receptionist which dr has either an interest in msk or specialist and then ask for a double appt to discuss

    love Jona 😊

  • PaulBT
    PaulBT Member Posts: 5

    Everything you have said I think is correct it is a shame the nhs is in the position it is and like your cats I've heard of many people with dogs getting scanned for arthritis and receiving treatment. I am at the point were I don't feel I can carry on doing the job I do as it involves a lot of kneeling lying on floor and getting knocks and cuts. I am not normally a person who argues with anyone but especially doctors or nurses as I know they have much more knowledge than I do but as you suggested if necessary I will try speaking to a different gp .

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 846

    No need to argue with them, (although I get what you’re saying), but asking to see a GP with a special interest in arthritis will be a good way to start.

  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 145

    Hi Paul,

    I agree you can’t argue with a dr mostly because like us they will get their backs up too ruffling feathers I think they put it, it is very frustrating tbh we are of a certain age and fact is we are wearing out but we wear out faster than rich people because we don’t get the same care I’m not one for equality retirement should be based on individual needs and health I’ve had to give up my job that I love and go back to a desk job soul destroying penalised I feel for getting older and cut in income

    The one thing no one can stop is time but when people stop listening it’s dangerous, I’ve gone back time after time had the eye rolling and various negative comments huffing and looks of dismay but after years of suffering pain and constant infections looks like I’m finally finding out the problem

    It would honestly be cheaper and better for us if they just mri head to toe at first contact imagine how many specialist that would free up and how quickly we could find out what’s wrong to get the correct treatment but I really feel healthcare is going backwards not forward

    Write everything down before you see the dr they’re limited for time then if your finding your job hard speak to a manager or human resource because it’s your body and your pain

    take care

    love Jona

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