osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis

Hi my names Julie. I've suffered with arthritis since I was in my 30's, I'm now 53. Last year I had to quit work as I have bad arthritis in my neck, I had surgery in 2017 to fuse 3/4 of my spine which helped but it's gotten bad again so I can't sleep without shuffling over every 45 minutes or so as my arms go dead. My shoulders are really bad with limited movement, both my knees and ankles, occasionally my hips kick in, and my elbows are weak. Even more recently my arm muscles have become so weak I sometimes have to use two hands to lift a kettle. I waited 9 months to see my neuro surgeon (had to see one of his understudies) who told me he thought I had carpal tunnel, even though in 2017 that test was negative. I'm really suffering, when I wake it feels like the bones in my feet are coming through until I get moving. I fall over and drop things a lot. At the end of the day, I can barely move, and have to go through a pain barrier to get to bed. I suffer terrible hot flushes (definitely not mesopause) when I look down and when I turn onto my left hand side. I can barely turn my neck left and right, my shoulders are always in agony. My GP X-Rayed my right hip and right shoulder and confirmed arthritis (not serious) last year, but I am degenerating at a rapid rate. The only exercise I can do is walking, and I do this 2-3 times a day, as I don't have the range of movement in my shoulders to swim. I'm also exhausted all the time. My GP thinks I have Osteoarthritis, which my Neuro Surgeon confirmed I have in my spine, I don't take any pain killers as I'm really afraid of long term medication. I'm more concerned with the amount of joints that are failing. Does Osteoarthritis effect both joints, as when my joints go it always both sides of my body. Would it benefit me making a private appointment with a rheumatologist to discuss everything or is this a bit overkill? Sorry for the long post but I'm at my wits end.

Comments

  • Anna
    Anna Moderator Posts: 604

    Good morning @maytrix34 and a warm welcome to the online community,

    You’ve lived with osteoarthritis since your 30s and over the past few years it has affected so that you have had to give up work. After extensive medical investigations you have been diagnosed with osteo-arthritis, and have had surgery to fuse 3/4 of your spine. Your pain is increasing and you are really struggling.

    First of all, let me assure you that you’re not alone. So many in this community understand and can empathise with what you’re going through. I’m sure other members will come on board to support you and reassure you that you can get through this, although it can all seem overwhelming sometimes.

    Although you say that you don’t want to take painkillers because you’re afraid of long term medication, perhaps you could talk again to your GP about this. Many painkillers are safe and sometimes the associated risks are a better option than the pain you’re enduring. Perhaps you could ask to be referred to a Pain Clinic, where a range of options are considered for you. Once the pain is under control, life will begin to look different.

    Its really good that you’re continuing to keep walking despite your pain. It might be that there are other gentle exercises that you can do that will help you relax and alleviate some of the pain you’re in. Have a look at the Versus Arthritis link below - it discusses all sorts of ways of managing pain and you might find something helpful:

    Please keep posting to let us know how you’re getting on, it doesn’t matter how long or short you post, we are all here to support you.

    Anna ( Mod)

  • sunnyside2
    sunnyside2 Member Posts: 131

    I would go back to your GP and tell him/her that you are worried it might be rheumatoid arthritis and let him explain why they have reached their diagnosis.

    If you are in a good financial position and can afford to do a private rheumatoid appointment then by all means go for it and let them put your mind at rest one way or the other but not if its going to leave you skint.

  • Davo52
    Davo52 Member Posts: 7

    Yes going back to your g p for a thorough diagnosis will help you to see things more clearly an d then you can decide what to do. I suffer with Sjogrens osteoarthritis and cervical spondilosis. keeping up walking or any exercise is great. There are natural therapies Such as massages you can go to the college for a massage or have a bath or shower and massage pamper yourself. The heated stick on pads are great too. I m taking omega 3 vit d and cbd oil which is helping but you have to check with your g p that it won't interact with any other medication. Versus Arthritis are brill because they support us with the emotional effects of osteoarthritis, they've also got some great exercises you can do at home. I hope it all gets sorted swiftly for you. Best wishes

  • maytrix34
    maytrix34 Member Posts: 3

    Thanks everyone for all your guidance, I'm going to spend some time tonight reading through everything and I'll keep you updated on where I'm at. :-)

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