Arthritis anyone? Warning! Possibly bummer thread!
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Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Arthritis anyone? Warning! Possibly bummer thread! on 03/14/2013 12:42:33 MDT Print View

Any BPL folks that suffer from Arthritis? Which kind, Osteo or Reumatoid? What do you do and what do you not do?

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
mom on 03/14/2013 15:43:27 MDT Print View

My mom has been dealing with pretty severe rheumatoid arthritis since her 20's. She is a badass, and still goes on hikes with me, even though her feet are all gnarled and twisted and covered in crazy nodules. Incidentally, I'm really hoping none of my current foot issue are actually RA. Runs in the family. Her grandma was bed ridden by age 40 (before the arrival of miracle drugs).

She takes methyltrexate (sp?) and has been on steroids for years. She tries to stay active, keep moving, that kind of thing. Naproxen for mild pain, though it doesn't help much. Swimming is what really helps her, and also allows her to stay active. She has had a few foot surgeries to remove nodules, but they always come back even bigger. More than anything, she is just tough.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re on 03/14/2013 18:01:19 MDT Print View

Thanks for the reply Ozzy. Nice to hear about your mom, gives one hope.
Your foot issues don't sound like RA to me :)

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re on 03/15/2013 12:58:00 MDT Print View

I have what a 'normal' person would class as minor osteo in my big toe joint in my foot.
A 'normal' person wouldn't be upset because it stopped them from running, or caused severe pain on multi-day hikes.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Arthritis anyone? Warning! Possibly bummer thread! on 03/15/2013 16:08:13 MDT Print View

I have osteo arthritis of the knees diagnosed when I was 30 and I was into running,I went to a sports medicine doctor because I was in such pain.I don't run anymore which I really miss,and no lifting extremely heavy weights.I do stairs ,squats and yoga a lot,building leg strength and keeping my wight down is important I also use trekking poles which really help on the pounding down hills.I noticed a big difference also when I started taking Osteo Bi-Flex triple strength a number of years ago.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Arthritis anyone? Warning! Possibly bummer thread! on 03/15/2013 17:16:38 MDT Print View

Osteo, in my wrists and thumb joints. I consider it the price I pay for the games I've played and will continue to play until I can't move anymore. No drugs so far, just get used to the discomfort, pain, whatever, and keep doing what I do, which involves continuing to use my hands as if there were no arthritis. I don't know how long I will be able to get away with this approach, but so far, go good. :0)

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Pain on 03/15/2013 17:24:09 MDT Print View

Osteo is what I was hoping for....I guess putting up with aches and pain,figuring it was just part of life, isn't a good idea after all.
Thanks for the input.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Arthritis anyone? Warning! Possibly bummer thread! on 03/15/2013 19:13:16 MDT Print View

Reumatoid A for me.

As I'm not a doctor, the webMD stuff says sensitivity to temp triggers inflamation about 5x more than the avg person. For me, slight sudden cold temperature causes Inflamation which then causes pain for hours.

Something simple like getting out of a warm bed 90F to let the dog outside at 65F in less than 2 mins I feel the pain.

So option 1: avoid sudden change, not easy to do. Get out of the truck, walk from the parking lot to the store... Pain.

Option 2: take on the inflamation, with NSAID like pre emptive ibuprofen and tylenol. Not too crazy about making those pills part of my regular diet, because they will mess up the kidney and liver with prolonged use.

Option 3: smelly BenGay cream. Everyone will know your dirty little secret.

Option 4: I slowly trained my body to shift weight from my leading dominant knee to now use my beta knee as primary. I am ambidextrous so that is my secret super power.

Option 5: take every opportunity to rest, just because it doesnt hurt now, dont exert it too much in the morning, by noon time the pain will accumulate.

Option 6: picked up from Trader joes some suspicious Joint Pain vitamins, ingredients crab and shellfish. It doesnt say anything about cholesterol, but I am suspicious.

Option 7: make jello. Eat jello. Supposed to help joints. According to the Jello people in the sales and marketing department. Sales people never lie.

Option 8: hey I never promised to list 10 options. Ask a doctor.

Footnote: my cousin in Canada has severe RA, and the Canadian cold freeze makes it worse, but the healthcare system is free, so he stays there. the irony is that if he came down to sunny and warm Southern California, his RA wouldnt be aggravated, and would not need the Canadian doctors, oh well.

Option 9: move to Arizona, Florida where all the old folks go to avoid the cold.

Option 10: doctor did this for my mom, a cortizone shot, although they won't give you too many, depends on your age and pain level, because they dont want to build up the steroids and mess with your hormones. Also, the first shot lasted 6 months, second shot lasted 5 months, then 3 months and the pain returns. So obviously the body adapts to the meds, pain returns, and there is a diminishing return and high negative side effects.

Edited by RogerDodger on 03/15/2013 20:33:59 MDT.

Marc Eldridge
(meld) - MLife

Locale: The here and now.
Re "Arthritis anyone? Warning! Possibly bummer thread!" on 03/15/2013 19:45:03 MDT Print View

I have osteo arthritis in my knees. I can't fully articulate them and the orthopedic surgeon says I am a candidate for knee replacement. I take 600 mg Ibuprophen 3x a day while hiking. I have also used the Osteo Biflex for quite a few years and feel it helps.
I really can't backpack without poles anymore. Did 17 mi. in the Big Sur on Wed, 11mi. with a 30 lb pack and 6 with my 10 lb pack. I will keep what I have till they don't work anymore then go for the new ones. "Use it or loose it" and "Keep on truckin'".

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Arthritis anyone? Warning! Possibly bummer thread! on 07/20/2013 02:15:11 MDT Print View

I have osteo-arthritis in the hips, shoulders, and knees. It is so painful quite often that I can't sleep on my sides (I am a side sleeper) or lift my arms and legs. I have found, though, that reducing the amounts of carbs I eat helps quite a lot (but has to be kept at for quite sustained period...and I tend to give in to eating carbs quite easily). Also keeping active and slowly doing strength training helps, too.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Be careful with the "arthritis" label on 07/20/2013 07:29:24 MDT Print View

As most of us have figured out by now, most MDs are pretty much at a loss to diagnose and treat pain. You may see 3 different docs and get 3 different opinions on what is wrong; you can get an X-ray or an MRI and someone will say "you have torn cartilage!" or "you have arthritis!" but the reality is that imaging does not diagnose pain. At all. Rarely.

There is a great study that came out several years ago re back pain: 100 people with awful, intractable back pain underwent MRI...30 of them had herniated discs. Then 100 age-matched people who had never had back pain in their lives - ever - had MRI...guess what? 30 of them had herniated discs.

I have patients all the time who had meniscal tears (aka cartilage tears) in their knees repaired or cleaned out...and their pain post operatively was the same as before...taking care of the meniscal tear did not end the pain; this has also been documented in the literature.

Osteoarthritis researchers are actively looking for a way other than X-ray to stage disease severity because we are finding very little if any correlation between the patients pain and function and X-ray findings.

Moral of these stories? Imaging is HORRIBLE as a diagnosis for pain. It may show a structural problem, but that does not AT ALL necessarily mean that is what causes your pain. Why do you think so many back surgeries fail? Because the surgeon fixed the structural deficit...but that was not the cause of the pain.

I have been studying the science of pain (neurophysiology) for a number of years and the best advice I give my patients is to be very, very wary of diagnoses. I know you want one, you want a label...I get that. And sometimes you need one because you can then be treated medically (ie rheumatoid arthritis is a very specific condition that requires different kinds of medications - it is an auto immune disease basically). But if your problem is simply pain, I guarantee your md called it "arthritis," maybe gave you a pill or two, told you to exercise or do whatever, and sent you on your way.

Telling people they have these structural deficits, in my professional opinion, generally does more harm than good. So much of pain is mental (it is your brain, after all, that decides if a feeling is a good one or a bad one...good pain vs bad pain, etc) and if you think something is "broken" it absolutely will hurt more than if you don't think that.

Anyway...my two cents on a terribly difficult, ridiculously complicated topic that unfortunately too many clinicians don't understand.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Arthritis anyone? Warning! Possibly bummer thread! on 07/20/2013 07:49:45 MDT Print View

I've got Cervical Spondylosis http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00369

Not uncommon. Mine does have the fun effect on my nerves. Numb hands and sometimes toes. Headaches. Loss of hand strength, etc... And occasionally the wonderful sensation that my left shoulder is dislocated. Some days it is real bad. Some, not so much. Always some discomfort though. Naproxen taken in enough quantity to work makes me sick. I have a home traction device to stretch my neck. That feels awesome. Almost instant results. Sometimes I am more sore the next day though. I just tough it out usually. A good tall single malt or cognac also help bring temporary relief. Stress sets me off.

Had to stop using poles as my hands go numb.

Edited by kthompson on 07/20/2013 08:39:50 MDT.