What can I do about arthritis in neck and lower back?

Posted by trellg132 @trellg132, Aug 16, 2019

What to do about this

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@trellg132

I'm 36 with back problems

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@trellg132 You are young to have these problems right now but glad your being proactive about it . I didn't know the arthritis had a 12 step ritual for arthritis will have to look it up . I know the water exercises do help . Ive been lazy about this have to get back into the pool.

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So sorry to hear your problems started so young. I watched my mother develop arthritis in her forties but no one seemed to know what to do to relieve it.
She was very active and went camping because she thought the sun helped her pain. She also liked sitting under a tree with her handiwork projects.
I am well taught in nutrition and believe in more exercise for girls at a young age, and also taking calcium at a young age, especially if you are having children.
My gymnast granddaughter, in her 20's, is working on exercise and nutrition as we try to figure out how to avoid developing arthritis in her young body, as we have been told it is to be expected after sixteen years of competitive gymnastics. She now teaches the sport. My arthritis in my knees started at age 40 when I discovered I could no longer scrub the floors on my knees, which I really enjoyed doing. What I have learned over the years is to avoid sugar, not only because of diabetes, but because it made my knees ache. It also feeds cancer very well. We will keep working on it until we win, or die trying. I believe the coming generations will benefit from our trials and errors until we get it figured out. Just don't sit for more than 30 minutes. I play the piano to get my mind off my problems and I don't bother with over the counter pain meds anymore. After a while they don't seem to relieve much. I must say that my back surgery helped and took away most of the pain, but I am somewhat limited in what I can do now. It's o.k. as I don't need a walker. I look normal. Dorisena

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@lioness

@trellg132 You are young to have these problems right now but glad your being proactive about it . I didn't know the arthritis had a 12 step ritual for arthritis will have to look it up . I know the water exercises do help . Ive been lazy about this have to get back into the pool.

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Yea I know I was also born 4 months early so might be the cause of this

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@trellg132

Yea I know I was also born 4 months early so might be the cause of this

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@trellg132 I wonder if that might be true or did your parents get the wrong date LOL

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We pushed gymnastic training on the youngest granddaughter because she was so small, did not eat well, and did not appear to feel really healthy. It improved her stamina, her energy, and her spirit, and she finally grew to a normal size so we think the years of training in elementary school benefitted her immensely. Now that she is an adult, we will continue to advocate eating well, as the doctor says she still needs more calories. She goes to the gym regularly as her entire family does, so I hope we are on a good, healthy track. We can't do much about the past or our condition when born. Dorisena

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@lioness

@trellg132 I wonder if that might be true or did your parents get the wrong date LOL

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That reminds me. My doctor said my second son was born three weeks early. I said he was born 10 days early, and reminded the doctor that I was there for the conception and he was not. LOL It was a difficult birth, he was small and had a pointed head in the front, but he is fine now at age 60! LOL

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@lioness

@trellg132 I wonder if that might be true or did your parents get the wrong date LOL

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Lol no it's true

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Yea I'm 6'0 237 lbs need to lose some pounds

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@dorisena

That reminds me. My doctor said my second son was born three weeks early. I said he was born 10 days early, and reminded the doctor that I was there for the conception and he was not. LOL It was a difficult birth, he was small and had a pointed head in the front, but he is fine now at age 60! LOL

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@dorisena Don’t you hate it when your doctor just doesn’t give you credit for knowing something? I knew my dates perfectly yet my doctor didn’t give any credit to them and let my son go three weeks late, at which point there was evidence that he was definitely overdo, such as meconium and they could tell he had lost weight – even so he was 9 pounds, 2 ounces. I changed doctors for my second pregnancy for that reason, and also because he ended being away when I delivered and I did not like the horrible doctor who subbed for him – he was eventually sued for another case and really was bad. Both babies were summer babies so I knew there was a chance I’d get the other doctor again, and sure enough as it turned I would have!

The new doctor was great, as was the whole group he was in.
JK

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@contentandwell

@dorisena Don’t you hate it when your doctor just doesn’t give you credit for knowing something? I knew my dates perfectly yet my doctor didn’t give any credit to them and let my son go three weeks late, at which point there was evidence that he was definitely overdo, such as meconium and they could tell he had lost weight – even so he was 9 pounds, 2 ounces. I changed doctors for my second pregnancy for that reason, and also because he ended being away when I delivered and I did not like the horrible doctor who subbed for him – he was eventually sued for another case and really was bad. Both babies were summer babies so I knew there was a chance I’d get the other doctor again, and sure enough as it turned I would have!

The new doctor was great, as was the whole group he was in.
JK

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@contentandwell Boy isn't it something how you cant even trust your own Dr. you have to be your own advocate and watch everything. Glad it turned out well for you . That was a big baby.

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Four years ago, I was diagnosed with advanced degenerative osteoarthritis. Here are some things I've done that I think has made a difference. I've included some references that others might find useful.

1. I read 2 books, "Mayo Clinic on Arthritis" by April Chang-Miller and David Sobel's, "Arhtritis: What Exercises Work". Highly recommended. I really needed a better understanding of what I had and how to deal with it.

2. I made an appointment at Dan Abrams Healthy Living Center with a physical therapist. ( https://dahlc.mayoclinic.org) I asked for exercises that would help me deal with the arthritis in my spine and neck. It took several months to be able to do these exercises. Some were painful when I started, but they have all gotten easier. They have two major benefits. They add strength to my core and they improve my range of motion. You will sweat if you do these exercises. I do these exercises at least 3 times per week. They take about 20 minutes. I do other exercises for strength and aerobic conditioning.

3. The Arthritis Foundation, (https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/workouts/other-activities/tai-chi-arthritis.php), recommends Tai Chi. I got the video and learned the routine. Even if you can't stand, you can do this routine. Mindfulness and balance are the two biggest benefits I have obtained from my daily routine. The mindfulness has helped me to deal with the daily pain.

4. The Mayo book recommends losing weight. I lost 50 pounds on a program offered by the Veterans Administration. The program is more of a life style change than a diet. I've kept the weight off for two years now and have noticed a marked improvement in my knee joint and hip pain.

5. I've had 3 cortisone shots in my spine, a couple in my knees, and 3 in the shoulder. All have helped for about 3-6 months. About once a week I take a Tylenol Arthritis.

At my last doctor's appointment, my doctor said I still have "advanced degenerative osteoarthritis", but I have amazing mobility for someone with my x-rays.

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@jmb73

My MRI of neck shows arthritis in the area where the nerves leave the spinal cord and it is causing a constant headache. I am taking CBD with a little THC and it is helping but sometimes the pain is really bad. I sit with a heating pad on my head and that helps. Do any of you have this and if so any suggestions on how to cope with it. My PC is suggesting pain management for shots but I have had shots in my feet and hip and they don't work. So I don't want them. I have a low immune system and just got over an infection at the site where the pin was screwed in for my Gamma surgery. It took 8 months to get rid of the infection. This is in the same area of my head but my PC doesn't think it's related. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks, Joan

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Hello @jmb73 . From the title of your post, it sounds like you have arthritis within the spinal canal. I had that because of bone spurs and a ruptured disc compressing my spinal cord. The only way to fix that is surgery to free the spinal cord. I had that surgery 3 years ago and it gave me back my coordination of my arms and my ability to do my art work which had been affected by spinal cord compression. Prior to surgery, I had muscle spasms that pulled my cervical spine out of normal alignment, gave me bad headaches, and the spasms were rotating and tilting my vertebrae independently. C5/C6 was the level of the injury and compression, and C1 through C4 would rotate, and when C1 & C2 were twisted or tilted, it caused bad headaches and vertigo. I worked with a physical therapist who did a lot of things to realign my spine and block pain with a Dolphin neurostimulator. That works by sending an electric current between 2 handheld devices and it blocks the neurotransmitters that transmit pain signals. She did myofascial release to stretch tight muscles that were locked. My case was complicated by also having thoracic outlet syndrome which was worse on one side, and the tighter side of my neck was responsible for the twisting muscle spasms. I used heat wraps on my neck and arnica gel topically to ease pain, and I wrapped the bead filled microwave wrap around my neck like a cervical collar to restrict my movement because moving would start a muscle spasm. I saw several surgeons over 2 years and none would help me because my symptoms were unusual. I had "funicular pain" that sent pain anywhere in my body from the compression in my neck. The only fix for me was surgery and I came to Mayo for that. My therapist bought me time during those years by reducing my symptoms.

I had only one cervical epidural injection as a diagnostic procedure before I came to Mayo, and it caused more pain than it took away, but it did block the pre-existing pain for about 5 days, and then it slowly returned over a few weeks. The pain it caused was a sharp burning pain with electric shocks into my dominant hand because of the pressure of the fluid that was injected and had no place to go. The surgeons wanted me to do more of the injections and I refused. They are used to put off surgery, are not FDA approved for this use, and I knew that surgery was the only thing that would fix my problems. By the time I was able to have surgery, the bone spurs had grown enough that if I bent my neck forward (across the sharp edge of the spurs), it sent an electric shock down my entire body. I only had compression in the spinal canal, and not at the foramen where the nerve roots exit the spine. My disc had collapsed about 50% of its height, so when I side bent my neck, it did hit those nerve roots with sharp pain because the bones were closer together. Bone spurs also grow around nerve roots and that can be caused by the inflammation from a ruptured disc when the contents of the disc is extruded near them. I do know there are some procedures that can only clean out arthritis in the foramen if there is not a problem with a disc.

I'm not familiar with gamma knife surgery and presume it is to stop pain by destroying nerves that cause the pain. FYI, injected steroids also interfere with getting a clear image on a diagnostic MRI. I had to wait 6 weeks before I could get another MRI that showed that my bone spurs had spread and doubled in volume. It is the body's attempt to stabilize the spine because of an injury by growing bone because the pressure on the end plates of the vertebrae is uneven. Over time, this can cause the spine to fuse itself in whatever alignment it is in, but not necessarily a good thing.

Here is my patient story. Let me know if I can be of further assistance. https://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2019/01/09/using-the-art-of-medicine-to-overcome-fear-of-surgery/

We also have an informative discussion about Myofascial Release Physical therapy. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/

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