osteoarthritis

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i used to suffer from stiffness after driving in my van for between 90-120 minutes around 12-24 months ago. This then changed to pain in the legs and hips after driving.

Now however its painful after sitting in my van after 15-30 minutes.

I have recently been diagnosed as having osteoarthritis but was informed i was too young to be considered for a hip replacement at the age of 43.

I would have to work my through the different strenghts of painkillers first and the doctor also wrote down to take glucosamine sulphate.

Does anyone on this forum have similar symptoms or advice/tips that may make life a little more comfortable?

It comes at a time when ive just changed jobs from working for a large company to a very small company that involves the two owners and myself and i feel awful informing them.

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  • Posted

    Pete, no matter what is wrong with you it seems they almost always diagnose hip OA if they find degenerative changes in your hip joints. So the symptoms you describe with clear x-rays and they'd keep looking. But if they find degenerative changes they stop looking for a cause, put you on painkillers and tell you to wait it out until it's time for a hip replacement. The reason this is so wrong is because degenerative changes in hips is very common at your age - in healthy, symptom free people. It means nothing.

    I had a similar diagnosis age 42. I'm now 50 and virtually symptom free. It never was OA. A correctable muscle imbalance. It's a cop-out diagnosis that I suspect is wrong for lots and lots of people.

    Have you been referred for physio therapy? Who made the diagnosis? Doctors rarely know much about soft tissue problems that cause these kind of symptoms. Nor do surgeons. Have you asked where they think the pain is coming from - so hip joint itself; muscles? I'd hazzard a guess it's soft tissue - in which case you need to address that problem rather than simply masking it with pain killers. Regardless of whether the degenerative changes in the joint are responsible for causing soft tissue problems you need to keep the soft tissue functioning as well as is humanly possible.

    A driving job could well cause the symptoms you describe in someone with healthy hip joints. Try massage. Look up trigger point therapy - you can do that yourself. If massage helps then chances are the source of you pain is soft tissue in which case your doctor needs to be referring you for physio rather than fobbing you off with strong (potentially damaging) pain killers. (Although good luck with that!).

    Sometimes just a change can be enough to put things right. You're driving (sitting) for long periods each day. This (for starters) will shorten hip flexors and weaken glutes. This can cause leg and hip pain. Try and spend less time sitting and get out and walk, swim, climb hills - whatever you can manage as often as you can. This *could* be enough to reset the muscle balance. But you need to keep it up long term. A physio would give you some exercises to help strengthen the weak muscles and stretch out the tight hip flexors (a good one would at least!).

    Good luck with it!

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    • Posted

      Thanks Susan, i am going tolook over all my replies and write main points down and discuss on next visit to docs. 

      I have a few other questions to ask.

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  • Posted

    Hi Pete

    There be lots if alternative opinions and probably more than one official diagnosis along the way - I had terrible problems driving long distances when I was in my early 20s - my lower back and hips would seize up - and my sternum would become sore and "sticky" and crunch and click in my ribs.  I would limp with hip inflammation.

    My diagnosis was a form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis - X-ray also diagnosed osteo arthritis early on even at about 20 years old!  I am now 48.  My Dad had to have 2 hip replacements 

    I will have read so many articles and medical studies on arthritis that it is a joke in my family -

    - Osteoarthritis is not just wear and tear - it can be low grade inflammation.  In fact I subscribe that osteo at an early age is wear and tear that is not repairing as it should in a young healthy body.  It is also likely that osteoarthritis may in some cases be autoimmune in nature (according to Harvard University studies)

    - Inflammation can be caused by environmental factors - such as diet and balance of gut bacteria

    - Both inflammation and inability to repair can also be caused by lack of essential minerals and vitamins

    - Nutritional status and gut bacteria (the balance if different species) living in our digestive tract are known to contribute to many diseases

    My own health was removing foods that were effecting my inflammation - and we're also making my gut barrier "leaky" causing bacteria to trigger an immun response that were also attacking my bones and cartilidge.

    Evidence that this can happen has been assured now by celiac as a model of autoimmunity as it is not just the gut that is attacked by the immune system when a person eats wheat - it can be any tissue in the body (gluten ataxia - brain, dermatitis - skin) - so that's just one protein we know that can leak in and cause havoc.

    Other proteins such as bacteria can also do the same.

    Do you have any patterns when do days are better than others and you can drive without pain ?

     

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    • Posted

      Cant say i do have better days than others. It normally kicks in after 30 minutes sometimes less. At first i thought it may of been my driving position but pain came in different vehicles even as a passenger.

       I also thought it may have been a trapped nerve, but things have gradually got worse. 

      I do have to look back at all my replies before i go back to the docs and write down possible issues and discuss at close hand. I just feel as though GP's dont have the time nowadays. 

      I would rather discuss with a consultant who is an expert who can rule certain things out and possibly give an exact diagnosis and advise than my GP

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    • Posted

      That was the problem I had. You're talking to a GP that really quite often knows nothing. They're just working from a script.

      But what type of specialist do you go for to get the exact diagnosis? I went to an orthopoedic and sports medicine specialist. One of the best in the country - I went private because the GP was so apathetic. He wiggled my hip a bit and diagnosed OA with great certainty. He's since been proven wrong on very many claims about things that couldn't be reversed.

      If your case turns out to be like mine you need someone with soft tissue expertise. But who? A physio is all the NHS can offer. But I've had it from the horses mouth that physios aren't trained to diagnose or deal with this type of complex movement impairment/muscle imbalance.

      And what if it's the problem TreatMeGently describes - who's the specialist for that?

      I'm not tring to depress you (it sounds like it, I know!! LOL). Really just trying to stress that you need to fight tooth and nail and do your own homework. It's possible that you do indeed have a straight forward case of hip OA and that the doctors have got the diagnosis spot on. BUT they WILL make the same diagnosis for everyone with roughly similar symptoms and in very, very many cases they are so wrong.

      I've even had a GP tell me that she knows she's frequently misdiagnosing when she makes an OA diagnosis, but a) most people aren't interested in getting to the route of the problem (they'd rather just have pills to mask the pain), and b) even if they were interested there is no specialist to send them to.

      Don't be fobbed off. You've got years ahead of you - what you do now will go a long way to determine what quality of life you have.

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