my grandfather is 71 and has horrible back problems

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Hi, my grandfather is 71 years old and has arthritis in his lower back. He has recently had 3 steroid injections which were weeks apart. He has also had other injections in the past I beleive and has taken some scary strong drugs to help with his back pain. Sometimes they help him and other times nothing. His back is still killing him. He moves very slowly throughout the day. Sometimes just certain movements make him hurt. Even sitting can be painful or turning while sitting. He tries to stay active by doing chores around the house and in the yard like most elderly people. He is retired and lives off his pension. I worry about him though. I do not know the exact details of his problems but the doctor said that surgery was not necessary. He is however doing horrible on a day to day basis and his back always hurts. Even laying on his side in bed, getting on the bed sometimes results in him screaming in pain very loudly. Is this normal for arthritis? I fear he will get worse or immobile completely as he ages. Should I be worried about it? Thank you for any help and I wish you well!

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Actually, these days 71 is not exactly ancient.  What was the radiological report on his back?
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    • Posted

      Hi Janeeyre I don't know about that. I would have to ask his doctor. I think his age is a contributing factor. He had a difficult life. He was also in the military for 29 years but I don't think this hurt him as he was an officer for most of those years and it probably kept him in shape!

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    • Posted

      I asked because, if your grandfather is in so much pain, he should at least have had x-rays of his back right now.  My back hurts like crazy the last couple of weeks.  I am younger than your grandfather but any movement has resulted in a sharp, stabbing pain.  But screaming?  Not here.  Are you sure grandfather is not being a bit overly dramatic? 
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    • Posted

      Yes he is certainly in that much pain. If you saw him while it’s happening its rather frightening, his face turns red. It hurts me to look at him. This is even after all the injections and narcotics. That is why I am worried. He has had this chronically but it seems like it’s getting worse now
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  • Posted

    Hello, as your father ever seen a consultant, he made need a MRI. Back pain is common but what concerns me is the sharp pain he is getting. I have had back pain for 20 years which is wear and tear and thou i suffer most days i can cope with it. The sharp pain maybe a trapped nerve or slipped disc. He needs to get a second opinion and see a different GP, drugs won't help unless the cause is identified and the right treatment is given, and steriod injections only work for inflamation. Go to the GP with him and insist on investigative scans and don't be fobbed off if they say it's his age or the cost. Half the battle is finding a consultant that deals with back pain and getting a diagnosis. GP's are not experts they just dish out pain killers in the hope it sorts itself. Your father needs a diagnosis. Pain is debilitating and tiring and i feel for him. It may take a few weeks to get to see a consultant, in the meantime he needs to stay mobile which it sounds like he is doing. Heat pads may help to give some comfort when laying down. Hope he gets sorted soon. 

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    • Posted

      Hi thank you for your response. My grandfather had an MRI done on his back. He has bad arthritis in his lower back. The doctor wants him to start physical therapy because the injections did not provide much relief. His symptoms seem consistent despite the drugs so this worries me. The doctor said that it is difficult to target that area by doing simple daily tasks. I am trying to stay positive that physical therapy will help smile
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  • Posted

    Sorry i meant your grandfather not father. 
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  • Posted

    After anything sinister has been rules out he should be referred to a qualified physiotherapist.  (Please, not a chiropractor.)  It is amazing what a physiotherapist can do to ease apaprently intractable pain.  They have methods for relieving spasmed muscles, e.g., dry needling.  They can provide other treatments at appointments to provide temporary relief and, perhaps even more important, prescribe exercises which will target exactly the issues which are causing pain, and help your grandfather help himself to relieve the pain he is in.
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