Hi - age of diagnosis?

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hello, I'm Jackie from the UK. Yesterday I went to the back pain clinic, talked to the nice lady, and was referred for an MRI scan. She was a little vague about the reason for this, just talked about 'inflammation' and that I should take ibuprofen as often as my stomach will tolerate while I wait for the results (normally my GP tells me I'm not allowed to take it as I have chronic gastritis). However I can read upside down and she had written on the form ?AS. Going home to google it I found that I had exactly the right symptoms except that I am "too old" - I'm 51. I have had back problems on and off for at least twenty years but most of those were in my upper spine and when I had a bout physio would sort it out; the constant lower back pain started a couple of years ago, which wasn't helped by physio or pilates. I have tendonitis in both hips, both elbows and both shoulders as well and that's been going on for a lot longer - ten years at least.

So: how unusual is it not to be diagnosed until you are in your 50s? And any idea how long am I likely to have to wait for an MRI scan? I was too startled to ask!

0 likes, 5 replies

5 Replies

  • Posted

    I also had been getting pain for many years but was 56 when diagnosed. It took 3 months for the doctor to make his mind up despite the fact my brother had been diagnosed many years earlier and even then he agreed to xrays " just to satisfy my mind" he said.
  • Posted

    Hi Jackie,

    I'm told it's very common for older people to be diagnosed with AS, although it's likely that older patients will have had the condition for many years.

    I am 66 and I was diagnosed with AS this year although I am told I have had the condition for 45 years or more.  AS is typically diagnosed many years after the condition starts.

    Regards Ibuprofen, there are alterative anti-inflammatories which may affect your stomach less.  Tell the pharamacist about your gastritis and he/she may suggest an alternative.  Otherwise always take Ibuprofen with substantial food or get a stomach protector (such as  Omeprazole) from the chemist.

    AS is not necessarily a life changer. Just understanding  that inflammation has to be controlled helps a lot.

    How long you will have to wait for an MRI scan depends on resources in your NHS area.

    In the meantime  go back to your GP and tell him/her that the Pain Clinic suspects you may have AS.  Ask for a blood test to establish whether you have the HLA-B27 gene as AS is very often hereditary and the B27 gene is present in over 90% of AS patients (establishing whether you have this gene will form part of the diagnostic process).

    Good luck with it.


  • Posted

    Thanks Ray, I'm already on Omeprazole for the gastritis. The back specialist said that I'd be referred straight o Rheumatology if it showed up any 'inflammation' so presumably they'd do the blood test? However I may have to go to my GP anyway as the back lady recommended I ask for some tranqs for the MRI (I am quite claustrophobic), so I can ask.

    You could have knocked me down with a feather, Trevor, I wasn't expecting anything like this at all. I'd heard of AS, but hadn't googled it (LOL) because I guessed that my problem was either osteoarthritis or just a chronic muscle weakness or something that the ordinary physio hadn't really got to grips with.

    My OH has pointed out that I should get the appointment letter soon, even if they actual appointment is some time away.

  • Posted

    Hi jackie , I am still waiting for an mri after bein in pain for more than 20 years I really dont no what is wrong with me but its definitely more than just a bad back . I just want an anwser , if you keep taking ibuprofen u end up with a bad stomach aswell as a bad back . I think it does take a long time to diagnose and feel that im just inearly stages at 45. Was wandering do you feel really tired with ure back and pain ??
    • Posted

      No, I haven't particularly noticed fatigue. However I had other health problems already which sometimes make me very tired and force me to pace myself -  so I may well have been unconciously slotting the back problem into that. 

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