Hi there

Firstly - apologies for the lengthy post. 🙈

I’m a 53 year old woman who until the last year kept really active doing lots of cycling, hiking, swimming and even dabbled in triathlon for a bit in my late 40s. Had pain for a while which has got progressively worse and I’ve been trying to get a diagnosis since July.

Xray showed severe facet joint degeneration L3 down and waiting to see consultant next week to discuss MRI results. I did request a copy of my MRI report which was emailed to me and doesn’t appear to show anything additional although I can’t interpret it and don’t even know if it shows degeneration 🤷‍♀️.

However that’s not the reason for my confusion as I’ll just wait to see him next week and he can explain everything to me.

What’s has left me confused and reeling a little is that I finally saw an NHS physio today - and basically was told that I don’t really have a bad back and that I should stop taking the painkillers (only been taking paracetamol and ibuprofen occasionally as well as cocodamol when absolutely necessary as don’t want to go for anything stronger until I know what’s what). He told me to do some stretches - same ones I’d already found on the internet and have been doing for months but apparently if I do them then I should be fine in 4 weeks. What gives?!. He also said that due to my age and the fact I’ve been active it means I’ve put strain on my body and I need to accept that I can’t do what I did as I’m getting old now. He said he’s much younger than me and even he has pain from injury sustained when he played football. He’s didn’t offer me any further appointments but think I’m thankful for that. Tbh I’ve come away feeling lost again and not really sure how I feel. I almost feel like I wasted his time and I tried to convey that today is a good day pain wise but often - twice this past week - I end up curled in a ball in child’s pose on the floor in tears trying to relive the pain. Maybe I am making a mountain out of a molehill and just need to buck up but I can’t escape the fact that I’m in pain every single day to varying degrees and suddenly I’ve gone from swimming 50 lengths, mountain biking, hiking in the Peak District, bike packing and wild camping etc etc and now I can barely walk around the block some days.

I think this post is purely so I can rant but do others have experience of this dismissive attitude?

Thankfully I’m fortunately enough to be able to pay for private physio and she’s been brilliant so I’ll keep going to her but I really feel for those who don’t have that option if this is the kind of attitude they come up against in the NHS.


  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    Hi @WindMystic,

    Oh yes - had this big time. I'm very sporty too (particularly Running) and was told by one health professional that I'd brought the severe OA I have in my knees on myself. When I replied there was not only no medical link between Arthritis and Running but in fact it can be beneficial in building up joint strength he laughed at me. He wasn' the only one either. Basically, in the 18 months since official diagnosis I've experienced the worst and the best of the NHS.

    Since joining this community, reading up on how to manage my condition and take my life into my own hands things have really got a whole lot better.

    I need both my knees replacing (the 1st on the 26th) but am cycling, swimming, doing gymwork and hiking. Last Monday I did an 18 mile hike up and down Snowdon with no walking aids and not much pain the following few days, just stiffness. I can no longer clip in on bike rides or stand to climb out of the saddle but I can still do an Audax so there is hope, you just have to help yourself.

    All the best,


  • Baloo
    Baloo Member Posts: 358
    edited 21. Oct 2023, 22:58

    I recall going to the doc years ago. I fell off my bicycle and ended up with a rotator cuff injury. I went to the doc, and the sum total of treatment boiled down to a print off injury physio exercises, and a print off arthritis physio exercises. A sort of take you pick of which problem you want to fix.

    I didn't know what arthritis was anyway, so yes, pretty confusing.

  • Redlady07
    Redlady07 Member Posts: 18

    I too have been less than impressed with NHS physio. Chat for 55 mins, Lets see how you walk for 5. I use a wheelchair so /im NOT active. Half my problem.

    Found a private physio who gives massage - very helpful. And swimming - or in my case walking up and down in water and doing the exercises in water helps with flexibility. I would think a sports physio could say whether you have strained the muscles or its arthritis.

    I found co-codamol takes the edge off if I really can't sleep or am in pain, but dries the mouth and you wake up with a mouth going Bleaah. Besides which its really just telling my brain there is no pain and not actual fixing the problem that is giving me pain!!

    Think of switching to swimming and an e-bike.