No where to turn for help

Hi, I’m a newbie

i was diagnosed with OA 6 years ago, but had it long before. It started in my ankle and at time of diagnosis it was in my wrist and left knee. I also have DDD and fibromyalgia. I have been on several different pain killers, none of which help. I feel it’s now in both knees, my right hip and fingers too. My GP is very unapproachable and makes me feel like I’m a nuisance or making it all up, so I stopped going, haven’t been to GP almost 2 years, no pain killers (co-codemol) since January. Like most, pain has intensified since cold moved in and though I have splints, heat pads etc, nothing easing. How can I get professional help without feeling I’m wasting my Drs time?


  • Shell_H
    Shell_H Member Posts: 548

    Hi @TracyA - welcome to the online community!

    I see you've been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis for a few years now, but you feel like your doctor is unapproachable and unhelpful despite the fact that it seems to be more joints now and the pain is getting worse.

    My first thought would be to ask to see a different GP. This is very easy to do in your surgery - just state you want to see a different doctor when you make your appointment. It does not have to be with the same one. You can also ask for a referral to both a pain clinic and a physio from your doctors, both of whom should be able to help you.

    We also have some advice you can follow at home with pain. There's some useful information (I hope!) on this post from me earlier today. I have Osteoarthritis as well, and I've found that exercise and stretching can help me - sadly not immediately, but if I do it regularly (sometimes that's a big if) I do notice the difference and find moving easier.

    There's quite a lot of discussion on different ways to help with pain relief on this thread which I have also found helpful myself. Some other information we have from Versus Arthritis which might help:

    I'm sure other memebrs of the community will be along with their advice. But mostly, if your doctor is not helping you for whatever reason, you allowed and encouraged to see a different doctor. You deserve help and you're not making anything up.

    Lovely to meet you!


  • TracyA
    TracyA Member Posts: 3
    edited 17. Nov 2021, 19:38

    Thank you so much Shell for your reply. It’s extremely difficult to get an appointment at our surgery, let alone ask for another Dr. You are just randomly placed on one (of many) of their lists, usually with a locum. I have been to both pain clinic and physio, who were quick to discharge after a couple of visits just sending me back to GP, which made me wonder why I was referred to them in the 1st place. I just get up and get on with life, always in pain and feel that’s just what Dr wants me to do, regardless of how difficult it sometimes gets.

  • Sheelee
    Sheelee Member Posts: 153

    Hi TraceyA,

    I agree that you should try registering with a different GP. Is the GP practice you go to a group practice with other GPS around? Your current GP sounds very unempathetic as some medics can become if they aren't careful. You deserve better.

    Have you thought of trying swimming to help moving your joints? And you'd be surprised how many people in an adult swim are there for very similar reasons. We all support each other.

    I've found heat treatment using wheaty bags to be as good as anything. Plus I go for regular massage, as we all end up screwing up muscle you walking awkwardly due to the pain. Plus you get the support.

    Hope you find a "package" of self support, plus help from others TraceyA. From my experience, we all end up going up dead ends with lotions and potions before we find a package of support that works for us as individuals.

    Sending you a hug 🫂

    Sheila xx

  • Hi @TracyA

    Thank you for posting on the forum.

    I’m sorry to hear that as well as OA you also have fibromyalgia and DDD, it sounds as if you have a lot going on. I was also sorry to hear that your experience with the GP isn’t very good and you haven’t been for almost 2 years. That’s a long time with no help, it can be so tough when a GP is unapproachable, when all we want is some help. I can see that Shell and Sheila have given you some good advice and links which I hope will be helpful to you.

    I have noticed your last post and you say it’s extremely difficult to get an appointment at your surgery, and I completely understand the frustration that this could cause. Sometimes seeing a different doctor or a locum can work out quite well, though I do hear you. I have given you a link to the Patients Association which may be useful for you, as they give information about how to make the most of your appointment. You could also have a word with PALS (Patient advice liaison service) who might be able to give you some advice going forward.

    You go on to say you’ve been to a pain clinic and physio who were quick to discharge you, if this was quite some time ago, I wonder if it is worth having another referral to both. Keeping moving is so important. I’m giving you a link to our ‘Let’s move with Leon programme which might be of interest to you. You will find further information about Fibromyalgia on our website. You might also like to ask your GP for a cream called Capsaicin it’s only on prescription, it’s drug free, effective and a very well tolerated painkiller and may be worth trying.

    Tracy you are very welcome to give us a ring on our helpline: 0800 5200 520 (weekdays 9am – 6pm) here we can take our time to talk things through confidentially and informally. Sometimes a listening ear can be helpful

    I hope this is of some help.

    Best wishes


    Helpline Team

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,686

    Just to add a little to the very helpful answers from the others:

    You can easily change your GP practice. You just go to the new one of your choice, ask to be put on their list and they do all the paperwork. It does speed up future prescriptions if you take a repeat prescription form from your current practice.

    Exercises have kept me mobile for far too many years of arthritis. Versus Arthritis has some excellent ones for all joints. Physios rarely have time to keep us coming back now. Usually they just see you, or phone you and, if the latter, we need to explain carefully our needs and difficulties. Then they give you a sheet of exercises and usually a follow-up appointment 2-3 weeks later to check how it's going. I've always found them really helpful and useful.

    However, painfree is not an option. We have to find our 'tolerable' level and learn to live with it. I'm sure docs don't actually want us to live in pain but they aren't magicians and I think, sometimes, they can seem a bit impatient with arthritis because they can't do much about it other than physio and pain clinics. The rest is, unfortunately, up to us.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright