40-Somethings - Arthritis anyone?




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chickadee2
11-19-2012, 08:37 PM
I have osteoarthritis in my neck, knees, and feet. I also have small kids. Anyone else dealing with arthritis - I am 47 and don't want to feel like I'm 97. I want to manage the pain - esp. the pain in my feet. I miss walking!! Any tips? I am on 1200 mg a day of Glucosamine but it isn't helping at all :(


kaplods
11-19-2012, 08:56 PM
I have osteoarthrits, fibromyalgia, and possibly mild rheumatoid arthritis (I have some kind of autoimmune disease attacking my skin, joints, and respiratory tract - though the autoimmune sympstoms are under decent control since giving up wheat and taking fish oil and vitamin D supplements).

Glucosamine did nothing for me as well, however the fish oil has been extremely helpful. I was unable to take NSAIDS (turns out they were aggravating, and possibly even causing my "asthma").

I started taking fish oil, because of a study that found that fish oil was so helpful for arthritis, that many subjects in the study were able to discontinue or greatly readuce their pain medication.

I take 4,000 mg daily (2 in the morning and 2 at night). This is quite a bit more than the most common dosage suggested for "heart health" so you may want to talk to your doctor before trying it (and if you're on coumadin or other blood thinners or before any surgery - because fish oil can have a blood thinning effect).

It took about six weeks for me to notice dramatic improvement (though I started to notice small, but noticeable improvements after 2 or 3 weeks - if I'm remembering correctly).

I also highly recommend water exercise, especially if you can find a warm water arthritis program (your local Arthritis Foundation or Department on Aging and Disability Resources, or even your family doctor may be able to point you to the nearest program). Some YMCA's will keep their pool warm enough for Arthritis Foundation standards (water about 85 degrees - 90 is even better).

Now I can swim at the YMCA (water temperature 82 to 84), but when I started I couldn't tolerate water this cool. Our area does have a warm water therapy pool (kept at 90 degrees), and it is absolutely awesome.

The admission costs were reasonable when I started ($5 for hubby and I both to go). The price has almost tripled, so we decided to try the YMCA because it was a better value. It took me a while to get used to the cooler water, but the adjustment was worth it (there's also a hot tub and a sauna, which both help after the swim).

If there were a way to live permanently in warm water, I would.

chickadee2
11-20-2012, 07:10 AM
I have no idea if I have firbromyalgia but sometimes I wonder, and don't know how the doctors can diagnose it. I am tired a lot, and sore a lot, and stiff muscles. Some days worse than others. Thank you for the tip on the fish oil! I bought some about 2 years ago, from Norway - orange flavor. Recommended by a friend and it's been in my fridge this whole time - do not ever use it. I should check the exp. date and start taking fish oil! That was a great tip!!!! I know it's good for your heart, didn't know what else it could help!! I am not on any blood thinners but that's good to know how it can affect you. Funny you mention the water because I have just recently started using our YMCA pools. One is warm water - but it's smaller and it's the one the kids use for swim lessons and has glass walls where parents observe through. So I use the larger pool, never crowded, cooler water but has lap lanes. I am not a good swimmer, I go one lap and have to pause and catch my breath. I am only going about 3 days a week for starters - and of course Tgiving coming up. And they do have a hot tub and sauna. I wanted to go into the sauna the last time I was there but I could tell a man was in there and I would have felt strange. I'm so glad to know that someone else is using a pool and loving it. Have you lost much weight thru water exercise?? I have a long way to go. Oh, btw - do you still take the glucosamine at all? Thank you so much for taking the time to post!!!


Kate SE26
11-20-2012, 09:54 AM
Hello,
I have severe osteoarthrits in my left knee and also starting the other knee, my neck, hips and feet.
I am taking diclofenac modified release capsules 75mg twice a day. Just with my recent weight loss I am trying now just one dose in the morning. I am a nurse and work 12 hrs shifts, being on my feet all day and coming home in agony. The tip with the fish oil is very good, I will try that too, but have low hopes as I probably will not tolerate it as I can't eat fish without getting really sick, but I will give it a try as my sensitivity might be just caused by the protein, I hope.

Glucosamine was also one supplement that I used for a while but with no recognisable effect.

Three years ago I also had injections of hyaluronic acid which cost me quite some money. I wanted these again, but the orthopedic consultant that I saw said he has shares in a factory producing these injections and he makes a fortune, but being honest to me, the effect is zero. It is just a money making business.

chickadee2
11-21-2012, 09:27 AM
Kate - I'm sorry that you are feeling so much pain. Esp. since you have to be on your feet all day. I dread seeing a Dr. for an Rx - because when I see the commercials - in the fine print they always have warnings about terrible side effects. If I can reduce the pain with weight loss and fish oil then I'm going to try. As for the Glucosamine, I'm surprised it's not helping me. I've heard of a LOT of people that love it and saw great improvements. I have not yet talked with a specialist. I just know when I had knee surgery for a meniscus tear, the Dr. saw arthritis and fixed it up, so that knee is fine but my right knee has started to creak a lot, and my chiro saw osteoarthritis in my neck xray and a recent MRI of my foot showed a lot. I'm 47. I feel sooo much older. I love the tips and the advice. I have no idea what diclofenac is but will look into it. Thanks for the info!

kaplods
11-21-2012, 12:16 PM
Kate- if fish makes you ill, try a vegetarian omega-3 suplement (usually flax seed based), as the best theory for the improvement is the anti-inflammatory effects of the omega-3 fats - so the flaxseed should work equally as well.

kaplods
11-21-2012, 12:58 PM
I have no idea if I have firbromyalgia but sometimes I wonder, and don't know how the doctors can diagnose it. I am tired a lot, and sore a lot, and stiff muscles. Some days worse than others. Thank you for the tip on the fish oil! I bought some about 2 years ago, from Norway - orange flavor. Recommended by a friend and it's been in my fridge this whole time - do not ever use it. I should check the exp. date and start taking fish oil! That was a great tip!!!! I know it's good for your heart, didn't know what else it could help!! I am not on any blood thinners but that's good to know how it can affect you. Funny you mention the water because I have just recently started using our YMCA pools. One is warm water - but it's smaller and it's the one the kids use for swim lessons and has glass walls where parents observe through. So I use the larger pool, never crowded, cooler water but has lap lanes. I am not a good swimmer, I go one lap and have to pause and catch my breath. I am only going about 3 days a week for starters - and of course Tgiving coming up. And they do have a hot tub and sauna. I wanted to go into the sauna the last time I was there but I could tell a man was in there and I would have felt strange. I'm so glad to know that someone else is using a pool and loving it. Have you lost much weight thru water exercise?? I have a long way to go. Oh, btw - do you still take the glucosamine at all? Thank you so much for taking the time to post!!!


Doctors should diagnose fibromyalgia by a combination of diagnostic criteria and exclusionary testing. The main diagnostic criteria are "tender points."

This explains them, and their location

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20345635,00.htmlare


Some doctors are using tender points as the definitive diagnosis (11 or more and you have fibromyalgia, 10 or fewer and you don't), and it really shouldn't be, because other disorders can cause the same pain/fatigue profile, and if the doctor happens to see you on a great day, you might not have tenderness in all or any of those points. The doctor has to see you when you're flaring, and has to exclude other disorders (such as lyme disease).

A clinical diagnosis can take months of testing, but some doctors have a "treat and see" approach. I've heard that when lyme disease is possible, that you really need more than one test (I've had two or three), because an initial test can sometimes turn up negative.

For mild cases, the testing may not need to be nearly as extensive as mine was. My case was so severe though that I was sleeping up to 20 hours, couldn't drive because I was falling asleep at the wheel.

While I had pain in 16 of the 18 trigger points, my worst symptoms by far was the fatigue. The pain was terrible but it was the fatigue that kept me from working. I had a lot of experience working in even severe pain (sure it slowed my brain functions down, but I had a job with somewhat flexible hours and I could stay late or even work at home to compensate), but no one can work while asleep.

Doctors are getting better and better at diagnosing fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue (most doctors now consider these to be on the same spectrum of disorders. Fibromyalgia is the usual diagnosis if there is pain involved, even if fatigue is the primary symptom. One doctor even said to me that "fibromyalgia is chronic fatigue syndrome with pain, and chronic fatigue syndrome is fibromyalgia without pain).

I'm not on glucosamine at all. I've gone back and forth with myself over that. Sometimes I think I should take it as a precaution, but mostly I can't justify spending money on what I haven't found helpful.

I don't know what to say about exercise and weight loss, because exercise alone has never helped me lose weight (I just get hungrier and eat more). However, I think exercise has been extremely helpful to the weight loss, but only if I'm also using some form of calorie and portion control (I don't have to "count" calories, but I have to count something. Usually I've followed some form of exchange plan, because I find that easiest).

Diet-wise, I've found paleo and low-carb diets (with lots of nonstarchy veggies) extremely helpful for my pain and energy levels. I really had a hard time finding the energy to exercise on higher carb diets.

Eliminating wheat and drastically cutting sugar and grains (even the natural, whole-grain ones) makes a HUGE difference in my joint pain and inflammation. Now, I can even see it in my face and wrists (if I eat a slice of pizza or even a whole-grain dinner roll, for example, by the next day my face, wrists, arms, legs, and ankles are visibly swollen and I'm usually up 3 to 6 lbs in water weight gain. This is true even if I stayed in my calorie-limit, so it's not excess food or calories causing the water retention, it's the grains).

So I'd recommend a pain and symptom journal (Healthminder is a good one. You can check out the "see inside" feature on amazon.com to see if it's something you could use, or use it to inspire your own).

It really helps you find flare triggers. For example, I learned that weather affected my flares - but BEFORE the weather actually changed. I would have a severe flare right before the weather changed (hubby says I'm more accurate than the weather man - he tells his friends that if I suddenly start acting VERY different, whether suddenly feeling horrible, or suddenly feeling FANTASTIC that it's time to take cover, because there's going to be a big storm).

We suspect it's barometric pressure related, but tracking barometric pressure throughout the day has never been on my priority list. Instead, I do track weather trends. Every day I check to see what the weather is going to do, before deciding what I'm going to be doing. The hard part is when I feel great, and we see it's because a big storm is coming. Do I stay home so I'm prepared when the flare hits, or do we go out and run errands and try to "beat the storm" knowing I'll probably crash when the storm gets closer (often we'll run out, do the errands, and when I get home I get into comfy jammies and get into bed - with a book if the flare isn't uber-terrible, or with the electric heating blanket if it is).

Exercise helps, but not DURING a flare. Pushing myself during a flare just makes me feel even more drained. Sometimes it's hard to know how much to push and how much to rest.

One thing that's very helpful if you do have fibromyalgia (though I think this is true of all types of arthritis - sometimes fibro is considered a type of arthritis even though it clinically isn't) is that gradual changes are much better than pushing physical limits. If you're significanlty more uncomfortable than your "normal" that's probably an indication that you're doing too much.

This was hard for me to learn, because our entire culture sees exercise as something that you have to work very, very, very hard at or you're doing it wrong. If you're not sweating hard, feeling like you're about to drop dead, why you're just not motivated.

I couldn't do that kind of exercise. In fact, water exercise was so comfortable, that I had to set time limits in the pool - especially in the warm water pool. The freedom from gravity and pain made me feel invinceable, so I wanted to stay in the pool for hours and hours. One two hour session triggered an insanely bad flare (it wasn't a crazy amount of exercise either, I was treading water gently for most of it).

I knew I'd overdone it when I got out of the pool and my legs felt like lead. I barely had the strength to get dressed (hubby had to drive up to the entrance, because I couldn't even make it to the handicap parking lot stall where our car was parked).

I've had a few such learning experiences over the years, but my strength and stamina have greatly improved. I think the biggest contribution to weight loss though has been in my mental outlook. Exercise (even the sad little bit of exercise I can do) makes me feel stronger, more confident, more capable, less stressed, more committed to health not just the number on the scale...)

To be honest, I do think the exercise has done more for my overall health and happiness than the weight loss itself. The weight loss is more of a side-benefit. I suspect this because the first two years of this journey to better health I lost no weight at all, but it's during this time that I experienced the most health benefits.

EagleRiverDee
11-21-2012, 01:06 PM
I developed such severe arthritis symptoms earlier this year that my doctor wanted to test me for Rheumatoid Arthritis, which I declined because I was about to change insurance and the last thing I needed was an RA diagnosis while trying to get new health insurance.

Instead, we treated it holistically.

I started out with severe pain in both knees, my left shoulder, left elbow, and both hands. I was in so much pain that at times I felt like just sitting in my chair at work and crying. I was unable to exercise.

First I did a cleanse/detox, primarily to remove any toxins that might have been causing inflammation. That was a one month process and by the end of that month the pain in my elbow, shoulder and both hands had gone away. I still had severe knee pain, however.

I then began experimenting with supplements. My doctor didn't recommend glucosamine, and so I tried a supplement called "Curamin" that is made of curcumin (from turmeric) and curcumin/turmeric have an excellent reputation for inflammation reduction and even helping with memory. And no side effects. I also started taking fish oil. The two supplements helped considerably and I was able to resume my active lifestyle with hiking, jogging, walking, resistance training. I also eat primarily anti-inflammatory - meaning foods that are known to be inflammatory I don't eat. The American diet is chock-full of inflammatory foods, so it definitely pays to get educated on that so you know what to avoid and what to seek out.

Don't give up! If one thing doesn't work, try something else. There's so many things out there now that can help.

avalonmoon
11-21-2012, 02:11 PM
I have osteoarthritis in my neck, knees, and feet. I also have small kids. Anyone else dealing with arthritis - I am 47 and don't want to feel like I'm 97. I want to manage the pain - esp. the pain in my feet. I miss walking!! Any tips? I am on 1200 mg a day of Glucosamine but it isn't helping at all :(

Yes (not diagnosed officially) I am 42 with it in my legs, fingers (I get that ugly swelling in my pointer finger too) I've recently had a different back pain than my normal one from an old injury, I believe it's turned into arthritis. Getting older isn't going to be a fun time with me. It's a good thing I'm getting weight off, I understand heaviness makes it worse.

chickadee2
11-21-2012, 06:18 PM
kaplods - I'm so sorry that you have had such a difficult time!! I'm such a cry baby over the slightest ailment...it's when I have more than one a time that I feel the pitty party coming on. I love denial when it comes to certain things - good to know about the trigger points - hearing you talk about it makes me think that I don't - it's most likely just the osteoarthritis making it's way around my entire body. Good luck to you! Thanks for all the wonderful tips. It's funny about the sugar - I had a great day today with the kids home from school - went to a park and out to lunch - at the end of the lunch I had a small treat which included hot fudge - and then we went for a 2 mile walk - and halfway thru the walk the arthritis in my foot started killing me - wonder if it was sugar induced inflammation? We have a lot left on our flex spending so I've gone into drugstore.com and bought a lot of stuff to make sure we spend all the money - and they have some hot patches for arthritis that I will stick on my foot - but they spell like breath mints or something. My kids can't stand the smell but they help. I truly wish you the best of luck in managing your fibro and arthritis!!!
EagleRiver- I have RA in my family - my grandfather and my aunt - but doesn't that also mean that joints will curve or bend differently? I have not been tested for RA - only osteo - and for the life of me I can't remember my blood work numbers - I think they were actually LOW - but yet it showed up on MRI - so what good was my bloodwork now that I think about it??? I would love to do a detox but would not know the first thing about finding one that works for me. I wonder if sitting in a sauna helps in anyway with detox? Because I have access to one at the gym? What you mentioned about curamin - seems like I've seen some Glucosmine / Curamin combo pills - at CVS or some other drugstore - it was generic brand and at the time it was buy one get one free - I did not get it as I was buying something from a friend who sells Shaklee called Joint Health Complex which contains 1200 mg of the glucosmine but so far it is not making a difference. I am so happy that you were able to get back to your normal activities! that's hopeful for me! I should google inflammation related foods. That's a great idea. I'm glad to know that someone else says fish oil helps. I took my first 1/4 tsp today because that is what bottle says but would like to double the dose as someone else mentioned - I have no heart issues or blood thinners - but still want to ask my Dr. if it's okay. Oh how I hope it works!
Avalon - I'm so sorry that you have it, and you ARE young. I also get a horrible low back pain that I think is from an old injury - it comes and goes but gosh does it hurt when it flares. I see your ticker with your weight loss - how impressive! That's great! You are 10 pounds below me right now - and we have the same goal weight in mind - I will have to follow your posts!

Thank you everyone for sharing your stories with me. Each story has been very very helpful!!!!

EagleRiverDee
11-21-2012, 07:02 PM
Chickadee-

If I have RA I would be in the very beginning stages, before any major joint damage. RA is an autoimmune disease. I already have Hashimotos, and for some reason people with one autoimmune disease have a much higher risk of developing others. So it would not surprise me if I later develop RA or another autoimmune disease.

The detox I did was multi-faceted. Sweating was one of the components, so absolutely YES sitting in a sauna would help. Sweating is one of body's best ways of getting toxins out- the skin being the largest organ in the body. The other components I did involved supplementation, special diet, castor oil packs, breathing, etc. My detox was doctor prescribed and supervised but I can tell you a lot of it was diet. I had to cut out all the crap. No sugar, no processed foods, no wheat, no corn, no alcohol, no caffeine, organic meats and veggies and fruits when possible. It was the anti-inflammatory diet - all inflammatory foods are not allowed.

Good luck!

chickadee2
11-22-2012, 08:38 AM
I also have hashimotos, was told when I was about 24..then I moved out of state and no other doctor talks to me about it. They always check my thyroid (I'm hypo) and take synthroid - I also have intersticial cystitis - which I don't know if that is an autoimmune disease or not. Since my paternal grandfather and paternal aunt have it - I wouldn't be surprised - but it's depressing to think about. As for the detox - I don't think my family dr. would prescribe or monitor one - I will have to shop around for another Dr. and def. hit up the sauna at the gym. With my IC there are many fruits I can't have but I am def cutting out sugar / soda - I love carbs though - but need to cut them out - trying to switch to protein drink instead of toast. A nurse told me that I need to step up my protien and essential oils - but i don't know what the essential oils would be or how to get them. Which reminds me - I need to go take my fish oil! 2nd day - curious if within 3 weeks I see a difference! This thread has been helpful to me - thank you for all of the advice!

Kat117
11-25-2012, 07:49 PM
I have osteoarthritis in addition to RA, hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia.

I work closely with my practitioner to avoid as many meds as I can and use more natural approaches if possible. I do use clove essential oil mixed into jojoba oil as a topical pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. It works better than any of those biofreeze things or aleve.

Diet will make a huge difference in symptoms. Supplements are important to. MSM and black currant oil for inflammation, soaking in epsom salts helps prevent the build up of minerals and acid in the joints.

Garnet2727
11-25-2012, 08:05 PM
I have diagnosed osteoarthritis in both knees. My right knee is the worst; I've already had one arthroscopic surgery on it. I suspect that I also have arthritis in my feet and ankles. I've always had foot and ankle pain but it's getting much worse lately and it feels a whole lot like my knees.

Losing weight has helped my knees quite a bit. However, nothing seems to really help my feet and ankles. I take Aleve twice a day and that keeps the pain manageable. I tried glucosamine and it did nothing for me. I tried fish oil and, uh, well, it gave me the runs. Very much bad, explosive stinky runs.

I really need to go to the doctor and find out about my feet and ankles. I just hate spending all that time and money. But I have to admit that the pain is getting worse every day and the Aleve just isn't cutting it anymore.

lizarddau
11-25-2012, 08:55 PM
gosh arthritis is a pain in the patootie...i can sympathise with you all i am 40 now diagnosed with osteo arthritis when i was 35...i have osteo arthritis through out my spine coupled with shermans disease which is curving of the spine..there is not a day where i don't experience some pain in my back...i have had to do a lot of things differently since it flared up 5 years ago after a bad car accident where i was rear ended on a highway..sigh...since resigning from work i put heaps of weight on and here i am...i do not take much in the way of supplements but i do take vitamin D..i was tested and my vitamin D levels were really low..i don't get much sun...and you need vitamin D to absorb calcium...my mum has severe osteoporosis (she is only 65 and living in a nursing home) and so does my uncle (he has only been diagnosed recently after a stress fracture in his neck) so i am scared of getting that too...i also cannot do much in the way of walking..my legs go numb and very uncomfortable but i am trying and walk twice a day most days...but the pool is my first love and i can do heaps there that i cannot do on dry land...tried the gym but after a while my back and neck and shoulders hurt soooooo much i was forced to stop...sigh...we can only do the best we can and try our hardest i think...cheers liz

Mara
11-25-2012, 11:26 PM
Hello! I was diagnosed with advanced arthritis in my right knee a few years ago. I worked retail for 11 years so that just aggraveted the problem. Anytime I bend you can hear the arthritis crunching. I just turned 29, so I think I was 25 at time of diagnosis. My knee would hurt really bad, but then it srarted to swing to the right when I was walking, causing me to fall a few times. Because of my age the docotor did not want to do injections. He said it would break the tissue down quicker. He said to wear a really good brace on days it started to hurt, and I did physical therapy for a month. That really helped. They gave me exercises that strenghtened my knee, and they did ultrasounds on it. Sounds weird but it made a huge difference.

Mogzillo
11-26-2012, 09:41 AM
Keeping a busy life with arthritis is hard! I've suffered with Ankylosing Spondilitis since I was 23 (now 29) Sometimes its crippling, other times I almost forget I'm sick. I have kept a journal of my symptoms for a year now but don't see much correlation between what I do and the flares. I try keep a clean diet with lots of fish and plants and do plenty of strength training, I've been doing pilates and some weight and cardio training. I exercise pretty hard despite my disease, but tone it down during flares and just walk around the pool. I believe the exercise helps most for my type of arthritis (rheumatoid is different) I can wake up stiff and walking like an 80year old and after 15 minutes on the elliptical be limber again.

I'm skeptical about most supplements because they are expensive and their contents aren't regulated. I do take fishoil and vitamin D on the advice of my doctors. Glucosamine has been proven to be ineffective for arthritis, so don't waste your money.
Its especially difficult to show cause and effect with arthritis medication because flares come and go, so people can incorrectly attribute the end of a flare with a supplement or diet. So try to do your research. I do take anti-inflamatories occasionally too and will be starting biologics in the near future. While anti-inflamatories carry risks I am exceedingly grateful for them as life would be much harder without them.

avalonmoon
12-07-2012, 12:57 PM
Avalon - I'm so sorry that you have it, and you ARE young. I also get a horrible low back pain that I think is from an old injury - it comes and goes but gosh does it hurt when it flares. I see your ticker with your weight loss - how impressive! That's great! You are 10 pounds below me right now - and we have the same goal weight in mind - I will have to follow your posts!

Thank you everyone for sharing your stories with me. Each story has been very very helpful!!!![/QUOTE]
Chickadee2, wow I'm so sorry I didn't return to this thread until now .. Yeah I have been told excess weight makes arthritis happen to even teens. Weight is not friendly is it? I hope your flares are minimal this year. Here's to them getting better as the pounds drop. *Crossing fingers* I lost a lot over time but since joing here not much but I am happy about every 1 of them.:carrot: You can buddy me if you do that- I'm new but I'de be happy to be a source of support if you like. Having arthrithis makes everything more difficult. My knees are getting it lately.

lizarddau
12-11-2012, 03:22 PM
hey guys..i have started my pool physio exercises and find them fantastic...although mind you the stiffness and pain of a night is bad after a while i loosen up and it gets better...i think i am losing weight and i hope that this helps too...i say think because i refuse to get on the scales..lol..lol..strange personal choice i know!!...i tried on a lovely top a friend bought me that was skin tight when i first tried it on..now it is loose but perhaps not loose enough yet...anyways off to the pool again....forgoing
my walk this morning for the pool...it is very hot and humid here so we go walking in the mornings as early as possible or after dark....so tonight it will
be a late walk...hoping it will rain today..that would be nice!!...hope everyone has a relatively pain free and lovely day...cheers liz