New and Getting Adjusted

gbtbag Member Posts: 2
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:08 in Living with arthritis

I've had arthritis in my left knee for a while but recently my right knee became very painful, seemingly out of nowhere. An X-ray diagnosed osteoarthritis. It is so bad that I can hardly walk. A 111 doctor told me to take two Ibuprofen and two Paracetamol to help, which I do twice a day although by bedtime, their effects have worn off and I have trouble sleeping from the pain. I also don't want to have to take these tablets for a long time as it can't be good.

I live alone, and have become extremely depressed because I am concerned that it will stop me from living my life and travelling, which I love

I have so many questions about moving forward--literally and figuratively--that I don't know where to start.


  • YvonneH
    YvonneH Member Posts: 1,076

    Hi @gbtbag

    Welcome to the Online Community, it's a great place to be when you have just got a diagnosis. Although you have osteoarthritis in your left knee it's your right knee that is giving you problems. You have had an x-ray and the result shows OA there too. You are taking pain relief which isn't doing much good.

    Who arranged the x-ray? Have you been back to them after the results? You can be prescribed stronger pain medication which could be a help, and you can take your meds about an hour before going to bed to give yourself a bit of help with pain in the night. Other than meds there are ways to manage pain

    Personally I really like the wheat bags - I have widespread OA and have had a knee replacement, I use them wherever I have most pain and sit in a comfy chair for 30 mins and just relax. Inside the house the furniture is arranged so I can have support moving around, and so I don't trip. I also use a stick when I'm walking outside, I felt I was giving in initially but it has been a huge bonus, psychologically and as a walking aid. Some people use nordic poles and others a crutch.

    You might have already read this discussion which also started today - you and @DeniseB62 might be able to help and support each other here. I'm not going to repeat the links on that discussion so do click to view post and check those out too.

    Do ask all the questions you can think of, and have a look in the Living with Arthritis section for others in a similar position to you. You might wand to check out the Let's Move area as well, this link is to the list of videos that Versus Arthritis has produced - there are exercises for the knee you might want to explore

    Take care


    PS You can privately message a member, look at the black bar at the top of the page, scan right and you will see an envelope, click on that and have a go.

  • ptolemy123

    Hi @gbtbag, I have just joined and yours is the first post I read. You have literally described my situation albeit the arthritis started in my right knee and is now in my left. Like you I live alone, so I know how difficult it is and the depression is tough to fight. Do you have hobbies to occupy yourself during the day? I try to keep myself busy with various crafts which I can do while learning a new language or watching something interesting - anything that stimulates the brain and keeps my thoughts away from my situation! I was on ibuprofen and paracetamol, which did nothing for the pain. I am now on co-codamol during the day and co-dydramol at night which helps a little more and does give me a better night's sleep. You should see your doctor and ask for more pain relief. I know the thought of exercising when you're in so much pain seems ridiculous, but if you can manage some gentle exercise it will help. The more you can strengthen your leg muscles the better it is for the knees. Also following an anti-inflammatory diet can help. If you are on facebook there is a group called Anti-inflammatory Diet for Beginners which is very helpful. There is also a group called Osteoarthritis Support Group which is very friendly and supportive. I hope some of this helps. Good luck and remember, you are not alone.

  • Hi @ptolemy123

    What sound advice you have given! I'm glad that you two have found each other- this is what this community is all about. Finding people who understand is difficult to do and we are all here for each other even though many of us will never meet or know each other. Welcome to the online community!

    As Yvonne has already responded @gbtbag, the links will be useful for you both but please do continue to look around the community and talk to any of use whenever you need to. Sometimes you might want to just come here to have a general chat or a rant about anything other than arthritis and that's OK too. Take care and I look forward to seeing you both around!


  • nicholaj
    nicholaj Member Posts: 64

    Hello…Ive written a new post about being on holiday in Italy…I too love travelling and it has been an emotional challenge to have to manage pain whilst in a glorious place. However, I know that when I get home I will remember the best bits and hopefully the times in the night when the pain has been bad will become less of a relevance.

    I’ve got arthritis in both knees, particularly the right one and things weren’t helped when I took a really bad fall a few weeks ago and landed on my knees!!

    I tuck a cushion between my knees when in bed and also a pillow in the small of my back when sleeping on my side so I don’t roll onto my back. Seems to help me feel more comfortable.

    PS…also find a glass of red wine relaxes me in the evening🤔

  • DebbieL
    DebbieL Member Posts: 64

    Hiya, I have osteoarthritis in my lower spine. When I was diagnosed I had stopped exercising and was taking painkillers through the day and before sleeping. What I didn’t know then was that the lack of exercise was making my pain worse. I was in pain all day at work - sat at my desk, in more pain during the drive home and when I got home I took the stronger painkillers and went to bed. I was making my situation worse. After complaining at my doctors I got referred to a specialist. I made some changes that made a real difference. I reduced my work days to three ( I was lucky I was able to do this) The specialist physio gave me some good exercises that reduced the pain in my back and gave me the confidence to exercise again. I try to manage through the day without painkillers and try to exercise. This means I can have the benefit of the painkillers at night and the exercise helps me to sleep. Getting a better nights sleep makes a real difference. I have a 4” memory foam topper on my bed and that cushions my hips and reduced pain and gives me more sleeping position options. I need 2 x 30/500 cocodamol and 20mg of nortriptyline to sleep. If I have really bad night I use heat pads and take naproxen. Talk to your doctor about pain relief- it took me a while to find the best combination of painkillers for me. The exercise I do is ballet, stretch class and modern . A lot of stretching and strengthening muscles. I have tried other things but I enjoy this and it helps. It’s trial and error to find a form of exercise that you enjoy and helps your condition. Once I accepted that I had OA for life I was able to adapt my lifestyle . I can’t do all the things I took for granted but there is a lot I can still do. If I don’t take painkillers I can’t sleep but a reasonable nights sleep helps me make the best of my days. I’m sure you will be able to travel again but things may be different . Try to think about what you can do rather than what you can’t. It’s hard at first but hopefully you will find a way forward that is good for you.

    Take care


  • Whiskey26
    Whiskey26 Member Posts: 88

    Hi @gbtbag I have severe osteoarthritis in both hips and like you, I initially found it very difficult to sleep comfortably. I bought a Contour Legacy Leg Pillow (about £20), which has made such a difference. If you sleep on your side, it keeps your knees cushioned and your hips aligned, so you can sleep more comfortably. Available in Argos, Amazon, Boots etc. Also, regarding pain relief, I used to take paracetamol/ibuprofen regularly, but my GP took me off them because long term, ibuprofen damages your liver. I now take Amitriptyline (20mg). This is taken at night, because it makes you drowsy and I have found I sleep so much better. It takes a while to work as a painkiller, so on bad days, I take co codamol. I started off on 10mg of Amitriptyline, but my GP has just increased it, to see if it improves my pain. Have a word with your GP and see if you can try it. You will start of on a low dose, which can be increased, but it really should make a difference to your sleep. Hope this helps.