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Kaji 10-29-2012 06:50 AM

Arthritis at 41?
How unusual is it to have arthritis at 41? There's no redness or visible swelling anywhere, but I have joint pain and stiffness that started suddenly in July. I've been on anti-inflammatories going on three months and they seem to be working. I missed my dose yesterday (couldn't remember if I took it or not, so I assumed I had to be on the safe side) and by last night (and far more so this morning) my shoulders, wrists, and hands were feeling very stiff and clumsy.

The orthopedist x-rayed my knees, hips and lower back last month and said there's visible arthritis in my hips and lower back. He sent me to physical therapy for my back pain and sciatica, and I just started that a week ago. So it's too soon to know if it's going to help, but my therapists are scratching their heads and saying I'm a puzzle where the pieces don't quite add up.

My GP did the basic blood tests when this all started, and he said nothing unusual showed up. Should I ask to go and see a rheumatologist anyway?

Kaji 10-30-2012 07:42 AM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
I guess nobody has any more ideas for me than I have for myself.

elizabeth62 10-30-2012 08:09 AM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
My husband was diagnosed with arthritis at 45 with a blood test. He had no visible signs, like you, but was in a lot of pain. He was on methotrexate for years. In his 50's he began to feel better and wanted to try going off all medicine (was worried about side affects of long term use) but his doc was 100% against it. Couple of years later, a new doc told him that he could try stopping and so he did (I don't remember the details of how quickly he was tapered off, maybe a few months?) He got off the medicine without a problem and has been prescription drug-free ever since. He has achy days and takes a couple of aleve several times a week, but he's had no bone real disfigurement, just a tiny bend in one finger that isn't noticeable unless he points it out to you. He is 61. He always went to a rheumatologist and I know he thought some were better than others!

Amanda06 10-31-2012 11:19 PM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
My arthritis on fingers, started in my mid '40 and now I have arhritis lower back and hip area. Luckily, my GP rx'ed a good med. combo. that alleviates most of my arthritis-pains, except cold mornings.

I went to the Chiropractor who also works as Physical Therapy and she did an excellent job. Initially I went for my Pinched-Nerve but she took an X-ray after my complain of back-pain. Afterwards, she told me Arthritis in the lower back, around waist-line which sometime radiates to all way down to the upper parts of my knee areas. I know it's hard to get around with stiff and painful back and legs, but I always rely on my GP who is much better than specialists who rx'ed wrong arthritis med.

As to Chiropractor/Physical Therapy, I went twice a week, about one hour to 45 minutes session for three months' period. Not only my pinched-nerve around the neck getting better but also my arthritis pain started to subside. Through the experience, I think the most important thing is finding a good therapist who listens well to your arthritis-problem.

JRway 11-25-2012 07:16 PM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
Arthritis and Rhumatoid arthritis both can happen at any age. They are two very very different diagnosis though and based on some of the meds people are talking about it sounds as if they may be talking about RA which is an autoimmune disease. I'm 43 and have had arthritis for years in my neck thus causing pinched nerves. One of my best friends, same age, has had RA for years.Most of my pain is caused by fibromyalgia.

margarita889 11-26-2012 07:44 PM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
Hi there,
To misquote Shakespeare- Get thee to a rheumatologist and quickly. I started in my early 40s with both inflammatory and osteo arthritis. My rheumatologist has been my rock for over 20 years. I know without his expertise I would not be in nearly as good a shape as I am and certainly in a great deal of pain. When my arthritis began I felt like throwing up from the pain by the end of the day and bought correlle dishes because stoneware was too heavy for my hands to manage. With proper medication I am generally pain free(except when the weather changes) and as one joint or another has gotten bad he has sent me to therapy or put in a cortisone shot. It sounds as if your GP is someone you trust, but I would still get that referral asap.

Good luck


Kaji 11-27-2012 06:20 AM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
I've got an appointment with a rheumatologist tomorrow. I waited a few months to see that the meloxicam works, but I wasn't going to get better even if it felt like I was - the pills just cover it up, and if I don't take them it's welcome back shuffle the next morning. I just hope that the appointment is fruitful and he has some ideas of what's actually going on. I'm pretty sure it's not RA because there's no swelling or redness anywhere, just stiffness and pain. But on a bad day I'm using a cane to help hold myself up (after I gave in and bought it I realised just how long I've been hanging onto walls, window sills etc as I walk, and it's years not months!)

teteri66 11-27-2012 06:44 AM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
I usually post on the back board, but noticed your thread and thought I'd mention that depending on how bad your sciatica is, you might want to have the back problems investigated further. When there is arthritis in other joints, sometimes back pain is lumped in with that same treatment protocol, when there may be more effective ways to treat it.

Sciatic pain is caused by nerve root compression in the lower lumbar area of the spine. Arthritis may be part of the source of pain, but there are usually other contributing factors.

Since I don't know the extent of your back pain, I can't guess what else might be going on...but I just wanted to mention the possibilities.

Kaji 11-27-2012 06:48 AM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
I've got an appointment with my orthopedist on Friday. I want to get an MRI on my back because physical therapy hasn't been a lot of help to me, it's just shown me how much I can't do any more, and that there's obviously more than one issue going on with me. And everyone is like 'why haven't you had an MRI yet?' On a good day I'm fine, but there are a lot more bad days than good ones.

margarita889 11-27-2012 05:38 PM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
You really don't waste time! My guess is that the rheumatologist will not just give your joints a good look over but do a lot more sensitive blood work as well. They know just how to manage the medications so you get the most benefit with the least risk. There are many types of arthritis, literally hundreds, so hopefully they can get enough info from the tests to narrow it down and target it with treatment that is most effective.

Good luck


Kaji 11-27-2012 06:20 PM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
Well, I HAVE waited four months... I wanted to make sure it wasn't something viral that was just going to go away by itself, but since I'm very little better than I was at the beginning of August, I think that's long enough to wait. My SIL wanted me to see a rheumatologist months ago. Then my doctor sent me to an orthopedist and he put me in physical therapy and I wanted to see if that would help... and even though I hate to ask for it, I hope one of them is going to give me something more effective for my pain on the bad days when the meloxicam doesn't cut it. All I've got is tylenol and it might as well be tictacs.

Moldova 11-30-2012 04:19 AM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
Actually 41 Arthritis is more common than you think. I had my first knee surgery due to OA at 24 and while I was at the hospital, I met 13 years old who had her knee surgery due to OA as well...
They say many diseases now getting younger and younger, Arthritis one of them.
At age 12 I was diagnosed with JRA and guess what? At the Doctors office I met young kids, in wheel chairs not able to walk with a lot of damages to their bodies from JRA...
So as you see, 41 is the age!;) Unfortunately.
Our spinal changes start at age 25, so by age 41 you could have some changes in that area as well. Being fit doesn't really matter much, I was very fit and active all my life and after surgically fixing one joint, another one was on a way. lol

Keep your spirits up!

Calamity77 12-05-2012 05:49 AM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
Hi. I too wish I had answers. My problems started in September 2011. I am 43. Pain and stiffness in my ankles, toes, wrists and finger joints. I have had ultrasounds and appear to have multiple sites of inflammed fluid sacs around various joints. I have a positive ANA 1/320 which suggests lupus or rheumatoid but not enough conclusive evidence to diagnose. So at this stage, rheumatologist is treating with pain relief for osteoarthritis / tendonitis. He is unsure at this stage if i have a developing auto-immune condition or not. The condition flares in the summer months and after exercise I am stiff for many hours in the larger joints (hips, ankles). It seems really difficult to get definitive diagnosis. Have you had any blood tests?

Cassidy06 12-05-2012 09:57 PM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
I am 39 and will be having surgery for arthritis on my hand next week. About a year ago, I was having pain in my hands so bad that it hurt to drive or hold a coffee cup. The Dr ran a bunch of blood tests and they all came back normal. About 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalsia, but never treated for that b/c most drs did not believe in that particular "disease". It was called the "woman's excuse for pain". I still have pains in my neck, shoulders, back and knees. I am on celebrex once a day, but usually take an extra 2-3 tylenol. I WISH YOU TONS OF LUCK! Hope you have great doctors.

workinmom572 12-06-2012 01:08 PM

Re: Arthritis at 41?
please share what your two dr's said/did. I also am in constant am severe pain, stiffness in fingers, shoulders, elbows, knees, feet. am's are pure hell. I'm waiting on my GP to call with sed rate results, said that would show any rheumatoid. Once I get that, I may very well find a rhuematologist also as I can't live in this pain every am and need 2 hours to get going in the am as I want to get back to working and no way could I work anywhere the way I feel right now.
Good luck!

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