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Arthritis???!!!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

When I was working in my first restaurant in Vegas, I eventually had to quit due to some unbearable pain in my back.  It got to the point where no amount of medication, icing, stretching, etc. would relieve the pain.  For me it was one of the saddest events of my life...I had waited so long to get to that point to be in a professional kitchen, and my body failed me.  I pushed through as long as I could.  But once I started not sleeping at night, it just became too much.

 

I don't want to get into a discussion about healthcare, especially healthcare in Nevada (although I would reeeeeally like to vent about it, but I won't) but let's just say that my doctor wasn't all that concerned with my issues.  So, for the past 19 months, I have been operating under the assumption that I had sciatica.  Stretches, exercises, etc. According to my doctor at the time, sciatica normally goes away on its own after a while. 

 

Anyways, my wife and I moved back to California.  We finally got health insurance and I have been trying to get my back issues resolved.  I found an excellent doctor who was really concerned that I was experiencing pain, and wanted to resolve it...not just send me on my way.  He examined me thoroughly, asked DOZENS of questions, and even ordered some more tests.  But from the first five minutes of my exam, he told me flat out, "Its not sciatica."  And that was just based on his initial questions!

 

Anyways, after some initial tests and exams, he diagnosed me with arthritis!  ME!  I'm only 34!  I wasn't sure how to take it.  At first I was relieved, because now my problems have a name...something that can be fairly treatable.  Later, I was a little down about it...because doesn't arthritis get worse as the years pass?  I just got the diagnosis yesterday, so I haven't delved into researching it that deeply yet.  But based off of my aunt's experiences with arthritis, I am not horribly encouraged. 

 

I know things will be fine.  And I may have a milder form of it (specialist visits next).  And like I said...I am almost MORE relieved to know that my pain has a name....it has been properly diagnosed, and I can now get treatment.  Feeling like this for over a year has affected me more than I realized.  I think I've been ignoring the pain, even though its never gone away. In fact, because the doctor was so thorough and was asking me such detailed questions, he brought me face-to-face with how I have actually been feeling for the past 19 months.  And almost ironically, I now feel worse than before my doctor visits...he made me aware of my pain again. DANG IT!  What's that saying?  Ignorance is bliss?! 

 

So over the next little bit, let's see how things go.  I am completely grateful for concerned physicians and glad I found a good doctor so quickly upon moving back to my home state.  I need a beer! 

post #2 of 5

Arthritis in the back has several forms. I have major bone spurs that compress the nerve roots causing pain. I had back surgery last June to free up the nerve roots at L4/L5/S1 but the rest of the back still has problems leaving me with chronic pain. For someone who hasn't felt it they think you are making it seem worse than it really is but the sleep deprivation gets old fast!

post #3 of 5

Not to be competitive about it, but I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis (the garden variety type) at 25. I didn't give it much thought, but as I have aged, I have pretty much constant pain. Until a few years ago my back wasn't a major problem, but when I retired after 30 years of teaching, it got worse. I've got bone-on-bone areas, which irritate the nerves. I want to avoid back surgery for as long as possible, so I went to the pain clinic at my local hospital. The anesthesiologist tried several injections into the bakc, but nothing helped. I'm now on Lyrica (for nerve pain) and also have Lidocaine patches. I can manage as I am now indefinitely. Some days are more painful than others, but nothing so agonizing that I can't bear it. I have a Select Comfort bed (the mattress can be adjusted from very soft to very firm using an air bladder inside the mattress) and wear good shoes. I get stiff when I've been sitting too long, but it works out quickly. I also have been taking water aerobics classes several times a week, and that has helped a lot, too.

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post #4 of 5

imho, pain must be one of the worst "disabilities" because it can't be seen and therefore is not recognized by others.  This must be even worse when this occurs at a young age.

post #5 of 5

Two major types of arthritis:  Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  If you gotta have one or the other be thankful you get Osteo and not rheumatoid.  I have osteo of the joint just below the fingernails.  I can't play guitar anymore very well, but because I don't have to bend that joint very often, I still can play piano a bit.

 

 

I take something called Lodine (an aspirin derivative).  It makes a lot of difference.  Fortunately I don't have arthritis anywhere else in my body.   Just the usual pain that comes with being 61.

 

However, for extreme pain control, there is the Medtronic Synchromed implantable pump, which is refillable with a percutaneous needle maybe once every month or so depending on dosage.

 

The outlet of the pump is a small silicone piece of tubing that is inserted into the spinal column and delivers morphine.   No danger of addiction because the dosage is so small when administered in the intrathecal space of the spinal column and there is also a "brain/spinal cord barrier" that doesn't allow the drug  get you high or anything.  It is specifically used for intractable pain or for pain of cancer.  It works like nothing else.

 

If you have insurance it is an option you should check into.  The pump is several thousand $.

 

But you will be pain free for the rest of your life.

 

I should know.  I invented the pump (originally for diabetic injection of insulin), but the pump has been on the market now for over 20+ years and is as reliable a medical device as you can find for pain control.  Coincidentally, it is also used to treat spasticity using a drug called Baclofen.

 

doc

 

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