Not a good week

I am reaching the end of my tether with pain. I like to walk with my elderly, arthritic dog each day. We have been managing around 2,500 steps which is nothing to what we used to do - only five years since we did a 1,000 mile challenge over a course of a few months.

it is now proving too much for me to even do the short walks each morning, I am wracked with pain before we have taken even 200 steps. Standing is painful, cooking meals has become painful.

I am awaiting X-Ray and referral as it looks like my right hip may need some attention (sharp pain into the bone/joint) although the pain is also in my lower back, right knee, ankle and arch of my foot. The calf muscle is also very tight.

I take Gabapentin and paracetamol but am due to talk to my GP about something stronger/more effective (naproxen doesn’t suit me and the lanzaprozole to counter its effects suits me even less). I am using voltarol gel and have a tens machine but can’t work out the best placement for the pads.

I am not after solutions just some advice on coping and maybe a steer on the things to ask my GP.

thank you, now going to give myself a good talking to



  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740

    Hi @Jane63c , I’m sorry you’re having such a tough time. When my hip kicked off in early 2020, like you I was reduced from being a fit walker to barely getting round a supermarket by the end of the year. I recognise the symptoms you describe, mine were similar, and I get how demoralised you feel. I was on up to 8 x 30/500 cocodamol and two naproxen a day and it just kept me mobile, but only took the edge off the pain till I had hip replacement in 2021. But everyone’s different in what they can tolerate and what works with other medications they’re on,

    You may have tried some of these but a few suggestions.

    I found using a stick (or walking pole) took a lot of the weight off my duff leg, which meant I could keep going a bit longer

    is there anyone who could walk your dog for you on really bad days? Or would several shorter walks a day be easier for you?

    the pains in your leg and back may be referred pain from your hip, or as a consequence of an uneven gait. A good physio may be able to help reduce that, and give you some exercises to strengthen the muscles to support your hip. (I gave up with NHS physios years ago - a private physio is not that expensive in the scheme of things, no waiting lists and you can see them whenever suits you, including reviews as things progress one way or the other, as you may need to change up the exercises you do)

    using a perching stool in the kitchen may take some of the pain out of cooking, ironing etc. Adapting how we do daily tasks all helps to make life easier, and sadly there comes a time when we have to accept that this is necessary, which can be tough to get your head around.

    i would definitely keep pushing for the X-ray, tbh it sounds like you’re long overdue. For quite a while my GP was reluctant to refer me as she felt “if it’s just a bit of arthritis all we do is pain management”. After a fall a few months later the pain and loss of joint mobility ramped up so much she finally referred me, at which point they found the arthritis was so bad I already needed a new hip and they referred me for MSK consultant and surgery straight away. (Then lockdown happened and waiting lists soared....😢, meanwhile like you I could barely walk). My surgeons and several other sufferers confirmed that it can sneak up on you and manifest itself very suddenly when the damage is already pretty far gone.

    I couldn’t work out where to put the pads with the TENS machine either, as most of my leg hurt. I focussed on buttock and groin, but didn’t feel it made much difference.

    Do discuss alternative pain management with your GP. But tbh even the best that your body can tolerate only knocks the edge of it. But you need more than drugs in your armoury. You may find some tips in this link helpful.

    Distraction and mindfulness can be really helpful, as it takes your focus away from the pain, and gentle exercise both to strengthen muscles and stretch out tensed up muscles and tendons are also useful. The Let’s Move with Leon sessions on this site are good fun, but I think there are other sessions through this site also. If you feel up to it, you may find some types of yoga helpful.

    i hope this helps. Arthritis is a rotten condition, and constant pain and its impact on your activities can affect mental health. A bit of grit and determination go a long way, but be kind to yourself as well. Schedule in rest days if you’ve had a particularly active day, as it will let inflamed joints settle down, and you can recharge your batteries.

    And come on here for support, tips or a good moan. Well all know how rotten this gets.

  • Jane63c
    Jane63c Member Posts: 16

    Thank you so much for your reply.

    I am taking a full week off dog walking. As we have a big garden and my dog has arthritis at all four corners he hasn’t been bothered so far but hubby says if he gets stir crazy he will try and take him out. He is a very loyal dog and so keeps stopping to look for me when someone else takes him 🙄😂

    I am having a chat with my GP tomorrow to discuss pain meds. I find by late afternoon I am at my wits end and have made some extensive notes so I don’t forget anything. I need to get over my fear of side effects! Should get my X-ray result in a couple of weeks

    thanks for the advice on physio and I am using my stick to get about. The perching stool is helpful but hurts my hip/buttock.

    so good to know I am not alone, though it doesn’t stop me swearing! I need to stop curling up and do more stretching and meditating - used to be good at that but have let things slip.

    I am knitting and reading as a distraction and have promised myself a cuppa at a cafe this week with a very kind friend.

    thank you again for responding and nudging me towards things I have forgotten/ignored

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740

    Ah yes, the bit of arthritis they don’t tell you about in the leaflets, grunting and swearing! It all helps.

    I remember just sitting on the toilet seat was hideously painful at times, and getting comfortable in bed (although never painfee) involves a bizarre arrangement of cushions under my torso and feet to get my flexed joints supported in the least uncomfortable position.

    Do make sure your GP fully understands how this is impacting your life, what level your pain is at, how many painkillers should take and whether they work. It will help them reassess your needs. It does sound like you’re really struggling right now, so I hope they can come up with a treatment pathway for you.

  • Jane63c
    Jane63c Member Posts: 16

    I know what you mean about bedtime!

    It was a less than satisfactory consultation today but I have been prescribed Zapain to take alongside the Gabapentin instead of paracetamol. It was by ‘phone, my choice, and she was clearly in a hurry. Anyway we agreed I should see her face to face to discuss the X-ray results once they arrive, I have made an appointment in anticipation.

    My dog seems happy enough with not being walked so that is helping my guilt!

    I will press my case at the appointment, today seems even worse but I did do the morning stretch exercises and may have overdone it. The fibromyalgia means I have a ‘boom and bust’ approach which is far from helpful.

    Thanks for your support

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740

    Let us know how you get on with the X-ray results. Hope the new prescription works for you meanwhile. If you’ve had fibromyalgia for a while you’re probably used to the concept of pacing yourself. If not, do look it up. It really helps. (look up “spoon theory”...)

  • Jane63c
    Jane63c Member Posts: 16

    Pacing is my friend, but being a ‘boom and bust’ type I have to watch myself. However, the knitting challenge is channelling my ‘boom’ in a good way!

    Today it feels like my shin is splitting open 😖thanks again for being there.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740

    I used to get pains in my shin as well, much as you describe. They usually passed fairly quickly, but sometimes the referred pains were as bad as the pain in my hip. If they're just brief sharp pains, I used to find breathing through them and/or ignoring them worked. They faded into the background. The good news is they all went once I had hip replacement (replaced by some new pains, but at least these will get better as my leg rebuilds itself).