No luck so far


Hi all,

My mum’s mobility has been gradually deteriorating over the last few years, which we now know is as a result of osteoarthritis. She originally had a few falls, which really set her back but went to the doctors. They sent her for physio with a suspected trapped nerve but the exercises seemed to make it worse not better… she had several examinations and they determined she had a “3rd vertebrae of the spine collapsed” and was given lots of different pain relief - all with varying symptoms! But the most recent trip to docs, she was told it’s clearly osteoarthritis, we think in one knee/hip - one leg shorter than the other and was given stockings for circulation but no progression in terms of being referred!!

Is that it?! Is this now something she just has to learn to live with or should we be pushing for more help and support? Should we go private?

She’s practically immobile - gets around house slowly using zimmer and outside, uses wheelchair. She’s 71 and slightly overweight but has lost a fair whack of weight (though no operation has ever been suggested). She gets upset as a result of the situation and has other issues too (whether a result of the meds or otherwise), e.g. incontinence, mental health struggles as a result of just losing my dad etc!

Any advice to support her/us and make her way of life better would be greatly appreciated! We don’t know where to turn!


  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,504

    Morning @linzi811

    I am so sorry to read about your poor Mum. I do hope the lack of referral is not ageism on behalf of your Drs.

    More likely though it is just gatekeeping as many of us find getting referred on is a bit of a challenge, unfortunately, these days.

    I suggest you 'keep at it' returning to the Drs asking for more help and actually asking to see 'someone' for an opinion. Best you go with her to support her it's always less likely that you'll be fobbed off that way. Continuing the weight loss is a really good idea as any potential surgery is likely to be delayed if your Mum's BMI is too high for safe surgery. Also I have a very good friend whose incontinence was improve greatly by her own 4 stone weight loss. I hope she has discussed this with a sympathetic Dr too and isn't just putting up with it?

    My Mum also suffered badly with depression after we lost our Dad too I wish that was solvable too😕

    I am presuming your Mum has had some imaging done on her hip and knee and you know how severe her OA is?

    If you can afford to 'go private' for a one-off consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon it would certainly speed things up. Sadly some of our members have had to do the same. Even paying for complete surgeries at huge cost to themselves.

    My very best wishes

    Toni x

  • swimmer60
    swimmer60 Member Posts: 202


    Push hard for an x-ray for your mum, at least then you'll be able to get a proper diagnosis. No point paying for a private consultation till you do that.

  • Nurina
    Nurina Member Posts: 317
    edited 25. Feb 2024, 10:29

    First of all, you need a GP who cares about people. If you don't like yours, change it. In my surgery I had very bad luck with a couple of doctors that made me cry but I found a young one who is an angel. First of all, ask your GP to get x-rays. Once you have this and the radiologist diagnosis they would probably send her to a NHS orthopedic consultant. It'll take at least 6-8 months to be seen even on priority list. Because of the problem with waiting lists, GPs are happy to write referral letters to send patients to private consultants that work in NHS too giving you names and hospitals where they work. They even recommend to pay for the surgery if you can afford it. You would get the first consultation in a week or two. You have to pay it, around £150. If the consultant works in NHS, they can access to your file, radiologist diagnosis and xrays. They will explain you everything you need to know. Good luck

  • Emmasknackeredjoints

    I assume she has had xrays given the diagnosis of OA and spinal fracture.

    Has she had a DEXA scan for osteoporosis? If not ask for one.

    You can also ask for a spinal referral due to fractures but these often get rejected , worth a try though.

    If the hip and knee OA is moderate to severe then ask for a orthopaedic referral to discuss joint surgery.

    As for the incontinence there is a rwfferal for that one. Also womens health physio can look into this.

  • Emmasknackeredjoints

    If you can afford private then that's a good opinion to have. So many people feel the NHS should do everything for them. But sadly those days are long gone

    I find both nhs and private together work well, otherwise you will be waiting a very long time for everything.

  • linzi811
    linzi811 Member Posts: 2

    Thanks all for your comments. The last doctor she saw mentioned an X-ray but nothing ever came through and when we chased it up, we were told she’d never been referred for an X-ray so the OA diagnosis is only as a result of seeing her and physical examination. We will definitely go back to the GP and push for everything you’ve said… but will follow the private route too and see which helps best! Thank you so much - already feel better supported from you all xx

  • Splodge
    Splodge Member Posts: 14

    I had a private appointment and it was expensive - but the consultant prescribed steroids and wrote to my GP demanding I be referred to the arthritis clinic. Always worth doing.