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Osteoarthritis and severe pain

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Old 11-01-2010, 09:33 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Texas
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ccmitche HB User
Osteoarthritis and severe pain

I've posted on several boards because I don't know what specifically is causing my severe pain.

I am 33 years old and about 4 weeks ago I suddenly felt severe pain in my upper/middle left side of my back. I have been down ever since. About a week or so ago I started to feel some relief and was able to walk to another room of the house w/o tears rolling down my face.
I can't grocery shop, cook, stand, walk etc. I am not back to where I started and cant walk from one room to another w/o tears. The pain is very bad.

4-5 weeks ago I had an xray and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and my thoracic spine is curved. My spine is also out of alignment.
This pain is so bad it feels like a knife is going through my back. I also feel intense burning like my back is on fire. Sometimes the pain shoots down my left arm and at times I feel the pain in my chest which my doctor says is my thoracic spine.

I can't take this pain anymore. I feel like the doctors are minimizing my pain and not taking me seriously. The rhumetologist also diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. My ANA test came back positive but they don't think it's lupus because the levels were too low.

I can't even sit in a chair. I have my pillows set up a certain way and if I lay there long enough I will atleast tolerate the pain. However, if I move or get up I start all over to get the pain tolerable.

I only have 3 more weeks of sick leave and I can't imagine being able to go back to work then. I have 2 kids to support. I'm scared and don't know what to do.
I'm thinking about quitting my job now so I can get my retirement and hope I can work again soon.

Right now my back pain is so bad and the pain in my left arm is bad and I just want to cry. I want to go back to normal.

I had a few episodes prior to 4-5 weeks ago where I felt severe pain after cooking...due to prolonged standing but after an evening of rest I was fine. This time I haven't gone back to fine at all.

Back in April I felt severe low back pain and thought I had a kidney infection...which was negative. The doctor did an xray of my low back at that time and dx'd me with degenerative joint disease.

Could all this be from my diagnosis or could I have an actual injury that they missed? I don't understand how my diagnosis could bring such sudden severe pain.

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Old 11-02-2010, 06:36 AM   #2
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Re: Osteoarthritis and severe pain

Hi CC,
I can relate to the horrible, miserable discomfort you're going through and being left wondering if osteroarthritis and fibro can be the cause of your debilitating pain. It's difficult to run a house hold, such as cleaning, cooking, shopping, etc. when you're in so much pain. The brain can't seem to let go of the pain and focuses constantly on the level of discomfort, rather than on the task we're trying to perform, right?

I was initially diagnosed years ago with having the beginning of osteoarthritis, which started in my spine and has now spread to other parts of my body such as the psoas muscle, then bursitis in my left hip, the balls of my feet, my neck, my hips hurt in the back of my body,as well as the hip socket itself! Just to WALK hurts, right? especially when you've been sitting down for a while? or upon rising in the morning from sleep, if one can call that sleep,because of having to turn back and forth throught out the night because if you sleep too long on your shoulder, the bone deep, intense pain wakes you up and MAKES you turn over to the other side.
after being dx'd with the osteo a few years and I was still suffering pain, I was referred to a rheumatologist who examined me and told me I also have fibromyalgia and put me on some type of medication and gave me a follow up visit.
when I went back to the follow up and told him I was still suffering in intense pain where I couldnt' even turn my neck while driving my car to see if on coming traffic was coming, he decided to test my vitamin D3 level, which none of my doctors had ever questioned of testing..
I went back for the follow up again to get the results of that test and when he told me how low it was and he treated me for it, I felt much better.
it took time, but my insurance changed and I had to see a different doctor, who still to this day has to always test my D3 level because just when we get it up to the healthy level, it goes back down again. they like to keep it at a certain range.
having a low D level can cause similar symptoms to arthritis disease's.
and even Lymes disease.

has your D3 ever been tested?
and has your doctor ever tested your blood for C-Reactive Protein and the ANA test for an autoimmune disease which is called Rheumatoid Arthritis?
which is totally different than Osteoarthritis.

difference being: Osteoarthritis- is the breakdown of the cartilage that serves as a cushion between the bones of your joints and when this degenerates, the bone rubs on bone which causes the pain and spurs to form. osteoarthritis usually attacks the larger, weight bearing joints, such as the hips, knees, spine, but mine is starting in my feet and hands too.

Rheumatoid Arthritis- is an autoimmune disorder, which can effect different organs, joints, tendons, ligaments and even muscles.
the fluid around your joints, (synovial membrane) becomes inflammed and swollen. so they say it's an inflammatory process. it usually effects the smaller joints of the hands, wrists and feet.

Rheumatoid can strike at any age and Osteoarthritis strikes us as we become older and they call that the "wear and tear" disease.

Maybe you should try a different doctor?

don't feel like you're losing your mind or let anyone make you feel like you're being a hypochondriac, which you can start feeling like if the dr's aren't really taking you serious and if tests are coming up negative.
something is going on in your body if your ANA test came up positive.
please pursue it before you get worst. and I KNOW you feel at this point that it can't get any worst than you are... but believe me, it can...

please try to keep us informed of what's happening with you. I'd be very interested in knowing the outcome of this.
I'm here for you if you need to vent. this is what the boards are for.
we're here to support one another through crisis or questions...

My sincerity to you..

Old 11-02-2010, 11:59 AM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Re: Osteoarthritis and severe pain

Thanks. Is Vitamin D3 the same as vitamin D? They did check that and mine is low. I was told to take 2000 mg. of Vitamin D per day. I am doing that.

I left a message with my doctor. He wanted to me to come back in 2 weeks for blood test results, but they didn't have any available appts. His office is 40 min. away and I don't think I can stand driving that far w/this pain. I have a pillow for my back in my car but pain is still bad. I can't sit in the chairs in the dr. offices for long or my car for long.

I have to go take my daughter to get her shots. I know I'll feel like I'm dying afterwards!

How can I have such wear and tear at 33 yrs old?

Old 11-04-2010, 03:02 PM   #4
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Re: Osteoarthritis and severe pain

Hi need an MRI of your thoracic spine, ASAP. Rheumatoid arthritis rarely affects the spine(especially the thoracic spine)'s almost always osteoarthritis or one of a group of arthritic disorder called spondyloarthropathies. They cannot be detected by blood work. But you sound like an injury that everyone has missed.

You need to rule out spinal nerve or spinal cord compression as they can be very serious. They also need to check for tumors, cysts and something called a syrinx. X-rays won't show these very well if at all. They can't see inside the spine to check for cord compression at all. That is where you need to start. You need an MRI and maybe even a CT. and they should use a contrast medium with them too(if you can have them)

I strongly suggest you see a "spine surgeon". They come in 2 kinds....orthopedic and neurosurgeon. Doesn't mean you need surgery but you need someone who works on problems of the spine, daily. This is not something to play around with. I know....I've had 2 major spine surgeries and am now disabled due to partial paralysis. Had I seen a spine specialist earlier, I might not have the paralysis but I waited too long and let all the other docs dither around wondering what was wrong. Took the neurosurgeon about 5 minutes and 1 MRI to figure it out. Don't waste anymore time.........get to an ortho or neuro spine surgeon now!

gentle hugs.............Jenny(I have Oa and don't have Ra or lupus or anything else......they don't hit the mid back like that at the beginning).

Old 11-04-2010, 11:18 PM   #5
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Re: Osteoarthritis and severe pain

Thanks for the information. It could take months for me to get into another specialist.
It's so frustrating that the doctors aren't taking me seriously. I have a high pain tolerance and it takes a lot to put me down...and I've been down for over a month now with no relief!
I remember the night my back went numb. I was sitting on the couch with my daughter on a Sunday night..about 3 weeks ago? I asked her to rub my was hurting and thought that might help. Then I suddenly lost feeling in the same area of my back where my pain had been. I have not gotten the feeling back. It's still numb and I can barely feel anything touch that area because it is so numb.
I also had really bad chest and left arm pain that night. I went to the doctor again and she ruled out heart problems through an EKG.

Within the last couple of days that area now hurts to touch. It never hurt to touch before. My shirt rubbing against my back hurts. I am having trouble sleeping due to the pain.

I have a hard time believing its just OA or Fibro causing this.

Should I go to an ER? Will they do an MRI there? I have been worried about becoming paralyized since I have been numb. 3 weeks is a long time for that area to be numb.
I always loved back rubs and now I can't tolerate anyone touching my back it is so sensitive.
I have a small window of being able to stand and walk. I literally can't stand or walk anymore after that window. I can't sit in a regular chair either.

I feel like everyone thinks I'm crazy. I also feel like the numbness has spread. I think it was only numb in a small spot and now when I touch my back the numbness is farther down and farther out. I felt the tingly sensation when it was going numb that night...but not anymore. I don't notice it being numb until I scratch my back or something. I also touch it daily to see if the numbness is gone yet...but it has not gone away at all.

Last edited by ccmitche; 11-04-2010 at 11:22 PM.

Old 11-05-2010, 09:04 AM   #6
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Re: Osteoarthritis and severe pain

I am so sorry, ccmitche, to hear you are struggling with pain and numbness. Unfortunately, you are not alone in encountering doctors who don't take you seriously.

Not having any knowledge or experience with the US health care system, I can't advise whether going to ER would get you the help you obviously need, and deserve. But, it seems worth a try. After all, even if they turn you away, you'd be in no worse shape than you already are.

So far, my GP has been able to get me referred to specialists much quicker than expected. But, an acquaintance with psoriatic arthritis (in much worse condition than I am) was not receiving adequate care. His GP actually recommended that he go to ER and, if necessary, really moan and groan and play up his already dreadful condition as much as possible. Our city has far too few rheumatologists, and this was the only way the GP believed his patient would get to see a specialist in a timely manner. It worked.

Good luck getting to the bottom of your health problems. You have every reason to be concerned -- I know I would be in the same circumstances.

Old 11-05-2010, 10:19 AM   #7
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Re: Osteoarthritis and severe pain're not going to be least not without a lot more symptoms. I broke my neck and it took 2 1/2 weeks for anyone to even take an one believed me. Then surgery was another 8 days away. I watched my whole body slowly die and then come back.

Numbness in the area over the spine shows that small nerves from that area are being compressed. Pain in your chest wall and arm show that larger nerves are being compressed as well. Your trouble walking may be from further compression of your spinal cord in the same area. A herniated disk that presses on spinal nerves and the spinal cord can do all of this. Once it presses on the cord, it can cause all sorts of symptoms all the way to your toes.

Here are the symptoms you need to worry about. Muscle weakness in your arm or legs. Muscle stiffness. Numbness, tingling or pins and needles sensation in your arms or legs. finding that you walk kind of like a drunk...lack of balance and co-ordination. Dropping things that you thought you had hold of. Difficulty with fine movements like trying to sign your name if the affected arm is the one you write with.

These are signs of muscle dysfunction. It means that the nerves to the limbs are being adversely affected and if whatever is causing the nerve dysfunction and resulting muscle dysfunction isn't removed or fixed, then you are looking at paralysis. Pain is actually a good sign. Healthy nerves that are being pinched, scream at you in pain. Nerves that are in trouble, slowly stop screaming as they start to die. And as they die, all the areas they serve start to show a slow loss of function.

So are you showing any signs of loss of function in your muscles?


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