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Arthritis and Joint Conditions

Posted by @reecy in Bones, Joints & Muscles, Mar 4, 2012

I am 68 yrs old and have had fibromyalgia since my late twenties. I have learned what works for me and keep it under control 99% of the time. Recently, the pain was so severe that I went to the ER and was eventually diagnosed with degenerative joint disease. My doctor put me on diclofenac and tylenol arthritis. The pain has been excruciating since Fri am and nothing is working. Massage, icy hots, TENS unit, excercise and hot shower and heating pad. I also tried tiger balm. Nothing. I talked to 'Ask a Nurse' and my doctor with no help. Please, any suggestions?


Posted by @reah1, Mar 4, 2012

I can really sympathize, as I have severe osteoarthritis (which is most likely "the degenerative joint disease" your doctor referred to) and neuropathy in my feet due to chemotherapy. Rather than Tylenol, may I recommend ibuprofen or buffered aspirin (if you can tolerate it). You need something that helps reduce inflammation. Tylenol doesn't do that.

Recently, I had a cortisone shot in the affected joint. It's not fun to get it, but the benefits can last for many weeks or even many months. The benefit is that it works immediately, by getting right to the spot where you have the problem.

The problem with osteoarthritis is that the padding & fluid provided by your bursae is eventually eradicated. The cartilage between the opposing joints gets worn away, and you wind up with bone rubbing against bone. Which is extremely painful.

The way to diagnose osteoarthritis is through X-rays of the affected joint(s). In my case, after years of pain I finally went to see an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in foot and ankle problems. The X-rays taken were taken by his staff, with me standing on the weight-bearing joints rather than lying down on a table in the X-ray department.

Since my diagnosis, my choices have become rather clearer and I am much more able to cope. Good luck!


Posted by @reecy, Mar 4, 2012

Thank you for the info. I have always used 600mg of ibuprofen a couple of times a week when I had to, but my new doc put me on diclofenac & tylenol and is resistant to anything else. I have taken trazadone for ages to help me sleep soundly to control the fibro but he says I have to go to a pschiatrist to get that. This is a very painful adjustment. I don't seem to have many choices at the moment except to curl up and ride it out.

Just when I start whining, I talk to someone like you, who really has it rough. I hope one of your choices leaves you pain free.


Posted by @reecy, Mar 11, 2012

Update. After 8 days I got in to see a neurologist who believes I have a pinched nerve in my shoulder. NOT the chronic pain that I have with fibro. THAT I am used to controlling. I am still in pain but was given Tramadol which is taking the edge off. I can't get an MRI until Wed. I am very disappointed in my new PCP for not listening to me instead of reading my chart.


Posted by @aglassofsherry, Mar 11, 2012

Have you seen a rheumatologist? My rheumatologist diagnosed me with Myofascial pain syndrome and gave me Tramadol for pain. I stopped taking it when my family dr prescribed an antidepressant. She said That I couldn't take them both, so I have been trying self Myofascial therapy to help. It does help some, bout does not really help enough. Do you relate to any of this.


Posted by @reecy, Mar 11, 2012

I understand what you are saying but have no knowledge of Myofascial therapy. Since the ER doc sees no sign of arthritis, I am waiting until the MRI results come in. The pinched nerve can be treated easily once diagnosed. If the arthritis is there, I will be researching every method I can find to bring peace! Thanks for the info.


Posted by @aglassofsherry, Mar 11, 2012

My xrays don't show arthritis either, but apparently the fascia underneath our muscles causes pain when overused and gets knotty in some areas causing pain that feels like bone pain. I just read a book called "Integrative therapies for Fibromalgia, Myofascial Pain and Chronic Fatigue" by Celeste Cooper that was very comprehensive and explained a lot. It is a tough read but helpful. Are you taking an antidepressant along with the Tramadol? If so, do you have any side effects? I wonder if my dr is just being overcautious.

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Posted by @reecy, Mar 11, 2012

Last year was a truly bad one, (all has passed, than God) so my then PCP put me on 20 mg of Prozac a day. My new PCP promptly took me off. As I said, I can't even get the trazodone anymore without seeing the shrink. I am waiting on an appointment. I feel great other than the current pain and don't want more antidepressant. I am retired and, now that my life has calmed down, I sleep about 6 hrs a night and nap when I want. The chronic fatigue no longer bothers me. I just want this persistent pain to be dealt with.


Posted by @aglassofsherry, Mar 11, 2012

I had been on Lexapro for 3 years because of post traumatic stress disorder and went off of them last summer. I didn't think I needed them anymore, but was told that some of my muscle pain could be related to going off the antidepressant, so I reluctantly started them up again. However, I do believe, after 2 months of being back on them, that it helps a little bit. What is a PCP?


Posted by @reecy, Mar 11, 2012

primary care physician. an insurance label. My fibro is so well controlled that I seldom need anything. At most, some ibuprofen once or twice a week. I have always felt lucky that mine was controllable. That's how I knew that this time it was something else. I tried all of in my book of tricks and nothing worked. Even the Tramadol barely touches it. I tried vicodan in desperation. Nothing.


Posted by @reecy, Mar 20, 2012

Latest and greatest diagnosis. There is very little arthritis. I have a herniated disc. It really defines the pain running accross my scapular and right arm down to my right pinkie. My neurologist gave me pain meds that take the edge off until I can have surgery on Mar 27. I was also told that this was probably the source of my pain since January. Teaches me to quit assuming that a doctor always has the answers. My PCP cancelled the pain management session!


Posted by @jeanie64, Mar 19, 2012

My mom suffers from that to she has more trouble with the left knee and it gets swollen real bad durin this type of weather when it cold or raining. She went to this doctor in Hondo, Tx and got a shot on her knee it helped a little, but the medicine wore off and she is in terrible pain sometimes she can't even get out of bed. She can't travel to San Antonio, Tx and been tryin to get an appointment with the doctor here in Hondo, Tx but to be honest the doctor that comes to Hondo is nice but the nurses are such ??? well can't say it on here. I've gotten into it with them and try to explain to them my mom can't not travel to San Antonio so my mom got upset and told me to jst stop calling and now she is in pain. I hate to see my mom like this and it makes me cry with her, what else can I do for her I saw something bout baths where can I go to, to find out more Please thank you.

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Posted by @reah1, Mar 20, 2012

Yes, it's typical for changes in weather to impact the discomfort of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. My best guess is that the doctor who came to Hondo gave your mom a shot of cortisone. If there's any way she can do it, she probably needs for him to refer her to an a orthopedic specialist who deals with knee replacement surgery. A friend of mine had a problem with her weight which made her arthritis problems and the deterioration of her knee joints that much worse.

She went on a weight loss program before she was able to safely have the surgery. Following the knee replacement, she underwent physical therapy which helped her strengthen her muscles around the knee joint. She's now able to work again, though she gets around with a cane. The last four months were very hard, but losing the weight was really helpful and she's determined to get some more off. She can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and is on her way back to improved health and a lot less pain.

Weight loss is really important. I've been trying to get weight off, myself, but it's hard to do when pain is slowing you down. I think the key is getting exercise, even if all you're doing is sitting in a chair.

If your mother is on Medicare, she should be covered for those benefits. In addition, if you call the local agency on aging, they should be able to provide information about transportation for disabled persons. The much-reviled Dept. of Health & Human Services has a very helpful web site where you can get a ton of information. For starters, here is the link to the Federal Administration on Aging:

If your mother does not have health insurance, hope like heck that the Tea Party folks and the health insurance industry don't wreck the Affordable Health Care Act. Write your congressman/woman or call up the district office to let them know what your family is going through. Good luck!


Posted by @jeanie64, Mar 20, 2012

Well actually my mom had a procedure done on her where they cleaned out the knee and that the same one that hurts her she is 80 yrs old and she does not want a knee replacement. She is afraid if does not work it will make it worse for her, and she is allerig to asprin so she can't take nothing with asprin. Thank you for the advice if you have any other ideas please let me know.


Posted by @anon12697042, Mar 12, 2012

Hello I have fibromayalgia high blood pressure anxiety depression I'm taking cymbalta my doctors double the dosage .last night I keep turning did not get enough good sleep I tried Bengay ointment and have a massage ball it helps sometimes and I needed more exercise more walking to ease the pain and theraphy pool which is hot swim and try sauna also whatever works tried talking to friends and text to distract the pain massage as well hoping things will work out for everyone pray sometimes it helps.


Posted by @reecy, Mar 12, 2012

Thank you. I also have all of the side effects of fibro but found out what I had to do to get through each day. After a while, I realized that it was working and I felt great. Hang in there.


Posted by @roxie43, Mar 12, 2012

My mom has osteoarthritis and the cortisone shots really help her. She also left the cold weather behind moving to a tropical island and she reports that this change also helped. She's not pain free 100% of the time but when we communicate I notice she complains of debilitating pain less.
So sorry that nothing seems to be working for you. Stay on top of your docs until you find some relief.
Take care & I hope that you are pain free very soon.


Posted by @reecy, Mar 12, 2012

Thank you. Two more days until the MRI and 3 more until I can get a shot in the neck. The pain is still pretty bad but each day slides by minute by minute!


Posted by @roxie43, Mar 12, 2012

I can't imagine the pain you're in. Just hang in as best as you can and I pray the shot alleviates your suffering.
God bless


Posted by @roxie43, Mar 22, 2012

Saw an infomercial on cactus juice for pain and inflammation called Napolea.
They said its 100% natural and had testimony of its users.
I don't suffer from any pain yet but thought I would pass the info ....check with docs before trying any new products by it sounds promising
good luck

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Posted by @reecy, Mar 23, 2012

very worth asking the doc about. thanks for the info. when you have chronic pain, you look for anything that might help.


Posted by @bettyann, Apr 19, 2012

Hi Reecy,
I'm so sorry about what you are going through...I hope by now it is much better. I just thought I would add what helps me. I've had fibro for about 20 yrs...and sometimes go for months with no flareups...Last Sunday (Apr 15, however, I had the worst attack I have EVER had~! Not fun...but am better. Have NO idea what brought it on, either!
Anyway...this helps me. I eat hardly ANY red meat...I have several friends with arthritis that doctors told to stop eating all red meat...they did and the difference in their pain levels was miraculous.
Whenever I have a slight flare up...which usually hits my R should area on down... I start taking MSM with glucosamine (can't do the chondroitin)...I take 2 or 3 1000 mg caps with one 1000 mg Vit C this twice a day on an empty stomach... When it doesn't bother me...I skip taking these.
I don't take Rx for the fibro...and NO otc drugs even TOUCH the fibro pain... homeopathics help some...especially Anica Montana and Bryonia Alba... as a quick temp fix.
I hope you are feeling better. Take care.

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Posted by @brucepa, Jan 21, 2013

Have you considered electromagnetic therapy?

BioLife Therapy System is the latest and most advanced technology in Pulsed ElectroMagnetic Therapy out of Italy and boasts unique dual transducer applicators. The transducer applicators allow for direct application of the electromagnetic treatment to the effected area on the body with specific frequency, intensity and time treatments. This allows for more efficient treatment and faster recovery of the pain effected area compared to the traditional mat only system.


Posted by @1825, Mon, Mar 21 at 6:19pm CDT

Have rheumatoid arthritis in my hands I am using a low dose of paquinal and shots of cortisone.
However I also use a manual wheelchair so it is almost impossible to follow any and all advice to rest and preserve the joints


Posted by @alysebrunella, Tue, Mar 22 at 7:45am CDT

Hi @1825, and welcome to Connect. I'm Alyse, and I'm one of the community moderators here. I found some self management tips for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (

Since you're not able to rest your joints, I would encourage you to speak with your doctor to see if there are other treatment options that may strengthen the joints in your arms and hands. Have you talked to your doctor about that? How has the pain been in your arms and hands lately?

Also, I'm going to move your question into the Bones, Joints & Muscles group.


Posted by @flor, Tue, Mar 22 at 10:51am CDT

When I saw the rehumatologist at Mayo in Rochester He said that I shouldnt
use any electricity in my hands: no blow your hair, no electric tooth
brush, no electric knife etc... That has helped me a lot and since then I
use my hair short so that I can do it with my hands. Hope it helps you.


Posted by @1825, Tue, Mar 22 at 10:59am CDT

Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate it


Posted by @1825, Tue, Mar 22 at 11:02am CDT



Posted by @spiritgoddess06, Tue, Mar 22 at 11:50am CDT

I use Salonpas...patches and spray. The spray is cold at first then warms up but I wouldn't use it with a heating element. I have problems with showers so I bird bath instead.

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