I'm looking for people here who suffer from Osteoarthritis (Not Osteoperosis) specifically of the spine. Before I detail what I'm living with, would like to identify a few members here for a bit of a chat session. Would love to hear your story and the kind of pain you suffer with, what you are doing about it, and if you have found anything to relieve you to the point of living a reasonably normal life.
Hi, I have spinal OA with DDD, which had caused me severe lumbar spinal stenosis. I had surgery, which helped alot, but I have issues with scar tissue plus I think i'm getting more disc herniations. The surgery helped my stenosis pains alot, but I am not pain free, because the arthritis alone causes me pain and alot of stiffness.
It's very hard to sit for too long, I can feel the pressure in my spine and rear end...and plus if I sit too long, I get sooo stiff, it's very hard to get up and try to straighten up. For me I've noticed the more humid it is, the worse my pain & stiffness gets. And when it;s warm and a storm brings in cool weather, that also hurts.
I have been doing phyiscal therapy exercises for 2 years now (I started via script from my rheum in March or April of '06 before I had surgery...insurance only paid 30 visits, but my PT offered me to come there to use all their equipment for a low monthly fee, so I just kept going). I am not sure how much the exercising is helping b/c I still keep getting problems and pain...but I don't know if I would feel even worse if I didnt do all this.
I have a hard time bending and turning. It's hard when I drive or back up out of a parking space, b/c I can't turn my torso very much to look around. Many times I also have problems turning my neck. I rely alot on all my mirrors as well. Just driving in the car is a project b/c my back & neck start to hurt plus my toes get pins & needles in them. And when I have nerve pain it gets even worse while sitting in the car. And now, again, I'm having trouble walking or standing for too long and I'm not sure what the cause of that is yet. But all of this is limiting me in what I can do. Of course housework is hard, sometimes it's hard to shower and dress, like when I have bad nerve pains. I can't go to the park, or flea markets , or fairs, etc...b/c that requires walking around, which I cant' do for long without alot of pain in my hips/sacral/pelvic areas. I get alot of muscles spasms, too....sometimes I am wearing multiple heating pads in different areas, I've had to do that at work, too. When my neck killed me, I had to sit on a 6" carton full of catalogs instead of my chair...so that my neck and arms were literally at desk level. When I wake up in the morning I'm very stiff. I sleep on my sides and sometimes I'll get pain in particular areas of my lumbar or thoracic spine while laying on my side and breathing in. It can hurt in a specific area of my spine and when I breath in too deep, it causes almost a sharp pain in that area of my spine that radiates usually out to the right. But once I get up, it doesn't happen anymore. It will take me a while to get moving. I usually have differing levels of stiffness all day long, but even though I cant walk too long, it does help shake off some of the stiffness. I was doing my PT stretching again after surgery, but for some reason the more time went on, the harder it got for me to stretch. And now any kind of stretching instantly brings on painful cramps & spasms.
I do whatever I physically can...I still do my PT exerices (sometimes there are some I cant do, especially if I have sciatica); since I'm home right now I can get up and lay down whenever I need to, so it's not as bad. At work it was harder b/c I had to be on the phones all day. Now i'm unemployed b/c my company is closing, but I was found eligible for Vocational Rehab and will start more school training next week. That will be hard and I'm worried b/c there's no way I can take my muscle relaxer there, it makes me dizzy and I cannot focus well. The lyrica also makes me feel a bit strange. But both meds together help a little with my nerve pains and spasms. When not taking them, it all gets worse and in turn it's hard to concentrate just from pain. So I hope I can get through the training and pass in the end. While at my last job, i'd been there for a long time in severe pain everyday and somehow got through it, so I hope I can do the same with school...and hope someone hires me quickly afterwards. The school says they have placement help, plus Voc Rehab will help me. I can't walk for exericise, can't do a bicycle b/c it kills my neck leaning forward; I wish I had a pool closeby, that would be the perfect way to exercise for me. All I have is my bathtub, but, that ain't gonna work! LOL
Over the years I have tried so many meds & supplements (relafen, mobic, feldene, lidoderm patches, bextra, medrol dose packs, acuflex, ibuprofen, celebrex, limbrel, ESI's, fish oil, glucosamine/chondroitin, multi vitamins, extra VIt D, calcium, & magnesium..and probably some that I'm forgetting). In the early stages when I tried Bextra, that seemed to work great, but only a few weeks later it was being pulled off the market. Some of the others I had reactions to & had to quit; the medrol packs helped me most on the higher dose days; I've taken oral prednisone (40mg per day) for a flare of something else....and that is the only med i've ever taken that really, really helps me big time. Even the ESI's help me alot, and lessens my spine stiffness greatly. But of course one cannot keep on taking it all the time. So now, I am not taking anything specifically for OA. I am taking Soma & Lyrica for spasms & nerve pains; Plaquenil for lupus; and I thought I was taking something else, too....but geez, I cant even remember what now. But i'm not on any anti-inflammatories so my spine pain & stiffness continues and I just take it day by day.
I'm starting down that path of back problems and have had doctors tell me outright - it will get worse. I have facet joint hypertrophy, an L4-L5 disc bulge with tear, a transitional vertebra at L5-S1 which will lead to more structural problems eventually, SI joint arthritis, and spurs on several of my cervical vertebra. I also have scoliosis in lower and mid back, kyphosis in my neck, and some hypermobile joints thrown in for fun.
At only 25, I can't blame improper lifting injuries or past school sports(avoided them like the plague!). My back problems are pretty much genetically caused. My mother has a lot of problems with her neck and the hypermobile joints too.
I seen your other post in the back section about being resigned to live with pain, unfortunately I cannot think of any period of my life (that I remember) where I did not have pain. Of course I have good days but I also have GI issues and neurocardiogenic syncope (with tachycardia and bradycardia) - the NCS means plenty of headaches and migraines (along with the ones that come from my neck), and a tendency to fall which is not good for my back at all. It also makes me very sensitive to the basic treatments for back issues - ie, local anesthetics in injections. The GI issues are torturous and meds I take for my back really tear my stomach up some days.
I've had days, weeks where I could barely walk because of pain and my right leg not baring my weight (SI joint issue). I'm convinced the scoliosis in my back is worsening... in the last 8 years I've lost about an inch in height and I've had it wake me up with pain so bad that it felt like someone was twisting my spine while stabbing a hot knife into it - the doctor x-rayed it but sort of shrugged it off as the curves don't look to be that bad.
Standing too long, not that I can (tachycardia acts up and I get very dizzy, shaky, nauseous, chest pain, fall over), causes my back to spasm. Sitting too long makes mid back and SIs hurt. Pain and tachycardia, one likely helping feed the other, causes plenty of fatigue. I've also developed shaky hands, whether that's from my neck problems or NCS I'm not sure. I love to draw, paint, sew, and do bead work but this really interferes with all of that. I find it so incredibly frustrating that sometimes I almost want to cry.
It seems like we have to pick and choose and hope to find some balance that means the least pain...
The high likelihood of back surgeries in my future honestly scares me. All together it's rather depressing, so far I've managed to avoid actually getting depressed but having one health problem that will get worse and another that I will be stuck with for life - and probably with improper/poor treatment, I wonder how long it'll be till I am. No real relief from anything so far. I take tramadol when the pain is really bad, acetaminophen for moderate to bad pain and headaches, flexeril for spasms and headaches from my neck, relafen daily to keep the edge off. I mostly try to cope with it all the best I can.
(sorry, if this post sounds incredibly whiny and negative it's because previously mentioned GI issues have had me in a lot of pain for the passed 10-11 hours)
I have Osteoarthritis (OA) in both knees and both feet.
"Snap, crackle pop" is my middle name.
A fringe benifit is the heel spurs on the feet too, of course.
I also have OA in EVERY inch of my spine from lumbar to cervical as well as osteoporosis. Spurs abound of course all up my spine, but those are normal with OsteoArthritis and can actually be a good thing if they are growing in the correct directions. I have so many spurs my bone density scans (for osteoporosis) come back saying the calcium count is "spuriously elevated" but none the less the osteoporosis shows up.
(pain from spurs happens only when they grow in the wrong directions)
My spine has become bent 15% from this unhappy combination of OA and osteoporosis. Because of this bending I suffered reoccurring hip Bursitis for a couple painful years. Bursitis occurs in the hip when the spine bending pulls the muscle too tight and stresses the Bursa sacs on the flat bone of the hip. It's very painful.
The knee arthritis hit first in 1999 and kept getting worse.
Then the spine began it's ongoing steady downfall, first with swollen dics, then naturally they shrunk to DDD and that of course is the start of the OA and it just gets worse and worse as time passes. The spine joints get out of place as the disc no longer keep them in place.
finally last summer the foot OA appeared.
AS you can read in posts above we all try control our pain in diff ways.
I have PT for my back a couple winters running and had the steroid shot in the hip for the Bursitis + more PT.
The steroid shot did get rid of that Bursitis horrid pain but it was temporary and the pain returned since my spine was still bent and slowly bending more continuely pulling the muscles too tight.
All of that is fine but does not solve the problem.
The PT did NOT get rid of much pain for me.
It did get rid of some stiffness though.
I still do some of the excercises at home when I feel the need.
3 years ago I discovered sleeping with a knee contour pillow between my knees was a wonderful help for my lower back. I also sleep with a pillow between my ankles.
I refuse to sleep with out those 2 pillows again.
Those do me more good in the way of pain and stiffness relief than all the PT combined.
I highly recommend those knee pillows to anyone with any back pain.
I also like a pillow behind my lower back when I set in a chair.
For my spine I discovered a great Chiropractor 2 years ago. I can't praise enough the wonderful help he has given me.
My hip bursitis is GONE.
I can now bend and touch my toes and actually straighten up again WITHOUT pain!
I sure could not do that before my Chiro helped me.
BEFORE seeing him I could not even unbend and straighten my back again from lifting a roast out of the oven. Yes, using an oven to cook ment pain. Any bending ment pain.
The manipulations he does are called "Subjegation" (however that's spelled). Bascially he is trying to keep the joints as lined up as possible to slow down the bending of my spine.
No Chiropractor can cure arthritis or unbend what is already bent in the spine, but they certainly can help with the pain and slow the rate of bending of the spine. At least mine does. I go faithfully and intend to do so forever.
He has enabled me to painless move my neck side to side, set straight while driving and if I want to I can even rest my head back on the head rest while driving which I could never manage before!
Oh sure, even with a small sponge pillow behind my back while driving I do still get achy back and stiff knees setting from too long in the car.
He only does the spine, not knees or feet.
By the way ...BEFORE I used the above mentioned pillows and saw the Chiro I went through a period where getting my body up off the bed in the morning was ~sigh~ a monster painful problem.
I got a Quad cane (basically a straight cane with 4 feet on it).
I put it by the bed headboard.
In the morning when my back would not cooperate I found turning on my side while still lying down, reaching the cane, slowly moving my feet off the bed and then pushing on the cane for leverage to lift my torso upward into a sort of setting position was the least painful way of getting up.
I still keep my quad cane there but since discovering the knee contour pillows and the chiropractor I haven't needed it because my back lets me get up without it. I still use the "from on my side" position to get up though.
For my knee arthritis I find and athletic knee support helps reduce swelling and pain. Those supports can prevent a lot of pain if you put them on before starting to do whatever is hard on you knees.
Tylenol arthritis helps.
I believe (from trial and error personal testing) that a suppliment of Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM does help lower the amount of knee pain so I take that daily. But I don't think it does anything for my spine pain.
I find that taking 3 Alfalfa pills helps my knee pain. Have no scientific knowledge as to why that helps but it seems to for me. Alfalfa does have natural Vita K and maybe that's why.
OF course we all have been told to take our Calcium and vita D haven't we.
For both the spine and the knees when swollen and sore, first cold packs and then heat pad helps.
My heating pad has a messager setting .. a nice warm gentle back massage while watching TV is nice (after a cold pack to shrink swollen muscles around my spine.)
NOTE: avoid those messagers with metal balls in them.. they can really hurt rather than help if you have OA.
And of course elevate knees and feet with OA.
A hassock in front of my living room chair is a necessity.
For the foot arthritis sadly I had to go to a perscription for pain control.
Tramadol (generic name for ULTRAM).
But not daily. JUST on the days I have the very worst pain, otherwise I use Tylenol Arthritis.
I gotta admit that Tramadol does a very nice job of OA pain relief but it also makes me sort of "unalert", like I need a nap.
I don't drive when I take it.
Taken before bed it's not gonna actually put me sleep but I find it makes for a really nice peaceful nights sleep when that pain was fierce all day.
I don't take Tylenol Arthritis when I take Tramadol.
For the heel spur pain I did get the steroid shot (thank goodness for that)
and was told to get soft rugs to walk on at home
and over the counter shoe inserts.
That has helped.
I aslo find soaking them in warm water really relaxes the pain in my feet.
UNBELIEVEABLE how much that foot arthritis hurts.
It hit me fast and hard, not a slow evolving like the spine & knee arthritis.
My knee & spine Osteoarthritis does not tell me when we are getting a storm but my right foot gets unrelenting sharp pains an hour or so before a sudden storm hits.
The right foot seems to have less arthritic joints (so far) than my left foot and therefore gets less pain.
Other suggestions I have for OA problems is to get both a good grab bar AND a Balance Bar for the shower/tub situation and well as shower bench and hand held shower.
My hand held shower has a messager setting and my arthritic back loves that.
I often put the plug in the tub so warm water can soak my arthritic feet while I shower setting on the bench.
Happily, I don't always have to use the bench but when I do it's there for me.
I also suggest a good "grabber" to reach those light weight things that cause us bending or reaching pain.
OH, and remember wheels are your friend.
Planters for pots should be on wheels, my laundry basket is on wheels, grocery cart from car to house is on wheels and it's easy to strap any heavy thing to a portable luggage carrier on wheels.
Any Furniture on wheels helps a lot with housekeeping too.
Because of my knee and foot arthritis I do keep a normal cane available in my unberella stand at home as well as one in the car..for bad days.
Don't Slump. Keep your posture as straight as you can. Kept the muscles around your spine strong to hold that spine in place straightly.
PT can help with that too.
Simply reaching with both arms straight up trying to touch the ceiling while standing flat on your feet is a good non-impact excercise for the spine if you can do it.
OH, about height.
When my adult son said "Mom, you shrunk" it was real eye opener for me.
I remember saying the exact same to my elderly aunt many years ago.
His comment was what prompted me to go get a bone density scan.
YEAH. I've shrunk 2 " but that is from my osteoporosis, not my OA.
Looks like I wrote a book, but You asked what we do to control the osteoarthritis problem so I tried to think of everything I've done about .
I hope my suggestions help someone.
Snowmelts, boy your like a walking book of information , so sorry you have so much on your plate.
I wanted to ask you about Tramadol. I didn't know you could take this when you need it. I have it but because they say it is so hard to get off of I decided not to take it. However, I have OA in my hips and I am just a few weeks away from surgery. The pain is so incredible I am thinking of taking the Tramadol just to get a nights sleep. They say it works! I was just worried about taking it everyday but intermitten seems better to me. Thanks
My worry is the same as your's, I don't want to become dependent on the Tramadol. At least not untill I have no choice.
I really can't drive when I take it.
Tramadol is not addictive,
but you can become dependant on it and if that happens, tapering off rather than going cold turkey is recommended.
I have taken it every night for up to a full week, it was a bad pain week and it was necessary.
But other than that one episode I take it only sporaticly, so far.
Maybe you could cut the pill on half and take a half a pill a night But if you have hip surgery scheduled so soon I'd go ahead and take a whole one at night since your hip surgen is going to give you something else anyway during surgery recovery.
I do take other perscriptions, but not because of my arthritis.
Oh my...after reading what all you folks have to live with it scares me to know what lies ahead for my old body!
I hurt my back in a diving accident off a high board when I was 19 years old, ruptured a disc, and pain has been growing and developing for 50 odd years since. As of yesterday I had to use two canes and hang onto the clothes line to pin up some some towels in the nice Spring breezes. I got a new prescription from my doctor to get a new wheelchair as the old one just plum wore out, and my daughter dug out my brother's wheeled walker to help me get around in the house.
I am 76 years old and darned if I want to live like this for too many more years!
I have to take too many pills for too many things so I limit Tylenol to one tablet with breakfast just to dull the pain in back and knees and get my day started. The joints simmer down if I just sit, the Fibromyalgia doesn't! Needless to say I am not a ball of fire...
My mind is young and I still think creatively, so my "mind world" is more fun to live in than the one I have while trapped in this body and in this house.
I bought a five seater Spa and found out I can't tolerate the chemicals used to keep it sanitary nor the heated water, which dries out my skin (although it sure felt good at first!) So I let my young friends use it.
If I were younger and richer I would gladly hire a private massage daily. Sigh! THAT will never happen...I wish I could drop some weight but never get past losing twenty to thirty pounds because I have no way of burning calories.
I find the best thing is to try and just not think about it as much as I can. The worst time for me is from midnight to around 3 AM when I am almost too tired to sleep and my mind is racing. Calling my wee dog to crawl under the covers with me is the best sleeping pill I have found, I rub her where I hurt and I think it tricks my mind in some round-about way...
If I were younger and richer I would gladly hire a private massage daily. Sigh! ...
Oh yeah me too,
Thankfully, I don't have Fibro to deal with like you do.
I have other physical disabilities/problems but they are basically under control and not related to my osteoarthritis.
For me, the Osteoarthritis is a seperate battle, not combined with my other problems. I do consider that I "battle" it. The more curve (bend) in the spine means the muscles and nerves will yell out with more pains. Arthritis is progressive and can't be stopped but I want to slow the bending rate.
My goal is to NOT have a total "S" curved spine. My Chiropractor is my co-conspirator in this battle to keep the spine aligned as good as we can.
I am 61 and yep, I'm overweight (not obease, just too big. As my brothers say... I'm fat).
I know it would be easier on the joints with osteoarthritis if I'd loose weight.
But you see, my only excuse for that is that I'm addicted to ice cream.
I also have a good dose of natural laziness.
"Most days" if you see me taken out the garbage or shopping, you'd never know about my joint problems. I'm just another slow Sr. Citizen.
I only use the cane when I feel whichever joint is too much problem for the day and I need the insurance of the cane to avoid falling.
I DO use it when necessary cuz falling is certainly to be avoided.
I DON'T do stairs though.
Knees won't let me really.
My spine is much less of a daily problem since I started fighting back with all the stuff I listed in my first post above.
My goal is to NOT have a total "S" curved spine. My Chiropractor is my co-conspirator in this battle to keep the spine aligned as good as we can.
Your chiropractor cannot ultimately fix that. All the person is doing is slightly aligning things - your muscles will pull it right back out later. You must do proper stretching, strengthening, and posture exercises to keep those muscles fit.
I won't lie, I'm a bit lax on keeping up with those sometimes and it's hard not to slouch -though the muscle spasms I get from it has me fixing my posture quickly.
If you haven't had thorough PT that teaches you to fully care for your back, then I highly suggest it.
Oh I know he can't fix it once it's bent, nobody can.
But he can help me keep it from getting really bad really fast.
You have to start keeping it aligned as you go, not after the fact.
Been seeing him 2 years and my back is straighter, my Bursities is gone and I feel at least 3 years younger because I have a lot less back pain.
Sure enough I still have the arthritis and its surely progressing every day but with my Chiro's help my spine actually feels MUCH MUCH better.
My Chiro has told me of excercises to do as well as the reg visits. He's all for PT and messages along with the spinal subjegation he does to help line up the joints.
I have a "Wobbler" seat I use at home that he gave me.
YEAH I ran the route of PT 3 times a week for a couple years.
yes, 2 Years.
That was not really very much help to me.
I DO do a few of the excercises at home when I feel the need.
PT is helpful, Nothing wrong with PT.
BUT it's NOT enough.
My elderly mother (80 yrs old) has the "S", her sister doesn't.
Both have bad OA.
My Mom never did see a Chiro. (no insurance for that)
She takes pain pills constantly for the pain of the muscles running off the bent "S" shaped spine.
My elderly aunt (81 years old) has been seeing a Chiro for decades and it's paid off.
Her Chiro has succeded in keeping the spine lined up over the decades.
Sure, she does get backaches that come with useing her arthritic spine and has to lay flat a lot but she is not "S" shaped.
My aunt was in a car accident a few years ago and her back hurt so they Xrayed it.
They said the results were impossible to read.
Her spine is so bad from the OA that they couldn't even tell if anything in the spine was newly broken or not.
BUT she has no "S".
She stands stright even though her whole spine is an OA mess.
Being straight lets her not have the pain that comes with the bending.
You see I have real live examples right in front of me as to how this OA in the spine progresses for the women in my family.
Mine was 15% bent when I began seeing the Chiro 2 years ago.
So I started early enough to hope to NOT become an "S" shape in the next 10 years.
I prefer to have a back like my aunts instead of like my Mother's.
Wow..... you guys have it rough. Hang in there my story isn't nearly as bad so I can't complain. I can only share and send you guys well wishes.
I'm 43 have osteo in my right knee from a ski accident 13 years ago. The good news is it's seemed to stabilize, a bad day here or there, but I can ski without a brace most days now. It was hurting more for many years prior.
The lower back stiffness and ache started almost a year ago from having to do some heavy lifting when my father was ill. The pain seems to stay in my lower back with the occasional "shot" of pain thru the butt and back of the thigh. But the referred pain is short lived usually due to a bad twist or stretch. A little chiro mixed with PT helped last summer. I skied last season lightly to protect it. This spring I twisted wrong and felt like I had undone most of what I "fixed". I finally went to my Dr. and she said she didn't think it's a blown disc. Had x rays and they show, yep, DDD at L4-5 with bone spurs on most of my lumbar vertebrae. Dr. says I've got quite a bit of arthritis there.
I deal with the pain and stiffness with NSAIDS and stretching and core strengthening exercises. I'm hoping it ends up like my knee. Annoying but functional for years to come. However in the back of my mind..... does it get worse????
I have advanced OA in my lumbar spine as well. I'm 38, and years of moving Soldiers and Marines around (I was a Med Evac medic in the Army) is the culprit. Never even mind that after the first injury I just kept soldiering on... I did do extensive physical therapy, but ultimately it has been getting progressively worse.
I don't know where to weigh in on the medication issue- my doctor gave me the Fentanyl patch, and for a couple of weeks I was tolerating my pain quite well. Unfortunately it is quite incompatible with the shift that I am working (11p.m.- 7a.m.), and so I had to stop taking it.
I've given notice at my job, because the lack of sleep and too much sitting have made my back worse. I go on Monday to see the personnel office to discuss a transfer (under the "reasonable accomodation" clause of the ADA). I am waiting to see if the VA will approve my compensation claim and should find out in a month or two.
Hi ....i am a 63 year old woman who has danced and is still
dancing after a hip resurface surgery two jazz classes a week
and do one pilates class and one yoga class. My osteoarthritis started in my 20's in my spine. In my 30's it went to my
fingers and wrists...i have nodules or fingers with huge nodes
on the sides of the joints. Makes it hard to pick up things and
have any dexterity with your hands. It hurts on and off and
burns, but i deal with it. I have osteoarthritis in my hips which caused me to have my right hip replaced or resurfaced.
I have it also in my feet and toes....but hey, so far not in the
shoulders or knees!!!!!!
I guess what i am saying ....it is not cancer. I only have
taken motrin for the pain and i do massage, acupuncture
treatments on a regular basis which usually last for a month. My spinal bone density is +4.0 do to all of the extra calcium deposits and bone growth from the arthritis
which is a plus there. i have spinal stenosis and spondy
but i work with a pt and the dance classes provide me with
plenty of exericse and especially stretching. the worst thing is inactivity and sitting since it just compresses the
lumbar area more and stiffness sets in...you just need to
exercise through the pain and once warmed up.....it does
get better because you are lubricating those joints.....also
meds to me just make it worse...meditation has help also.
Alternative medicine along with some antiinflammatories
can work wonders.....wish you all well and keep moving.
Also watch the weight since it makes that much more load on an already deterioating joint.....Karen
[QUOTE=snowmelts;3545167]My worry is the same as your's, I don't want to become dependent on the Tramadol. At least not untill I have no choice.
I really can't drive when I take it.
Tramadol is not addictive,
I tried one pill yesterday as the pain was horrible. I don't think it did anything but make me woozy till I ate something, I read on the pain management board that you can get really sick when you try to stop taking it that is why I sort of said no to it in the end. Nothing really has helped me anyway except being in a warm pool. Problem, I can't stay in there Lol
Hopefully after surgery I will be able to stand again. I know the pain will be worse but also better knowing one hip will be ok soon. Thank you for kind wishes Snowmelts. Anything has to be better.
Wow, so many here with OA, may the pain be less for all of us.
Thanks for the advice Karen...... I plan on doing all the things I love forever too. I ski, scuba, sail (all a little abusive on the body) and try to balance it with swimming, and home pilates, balance ball, resistance training. I just bought a home pilates/resistance machine to play with. The gyms in my area are horrendously expensive. I've taken off 25 lbs this past year as well. Discovered I have ADD and the meds for that have a nice side beni of weight loss. I'll continue to take my NSAIDS for flare ups and go from there.
I wish eveyone here well and hope you find what works for you. Yes, OA runs heavy in both sides of my family and most of them lived/are living to ripe old age. I'm with Karen on the got to keep on moving.........