• over 1 year ago

    How do you live with osteoarthritis?

    I have osteoarthritis in my hands. I have been recently diagnosed. About 6 months ago a dr. gave me an injection at the base of my thumbs. The pain was gone for about 6 months. It came back with a vengeance, though. I had to see a different doctor because my insurance changed.
    When I saw him, he did the injection between my lower thumb joint and my wrist. OMG, I ended up in the ER that night in agony. After a week of agony I finally got a prescription for some Tramadol.
    The problem with that is it makes me sleepy. How am I going to go to work and live with this?
    I work in a hospital lab and use my hands all day popping tops off tubes and opening cups and jars and stuff. The pain is so bad, I can't open the reagents I need for my job. Lately, I have had to get coworkers to open them for me.
    Does the pain ever get better?
    What do other people do?


  • over 1 year ago

    RE: How do you live with osteoarthritis?


    I am so sorry you are going through this and fully understand. If you click on my user name you can read my full biography. I have been managing moderate to severe chronic pain since my late teens and now I am 60. So, over 40 years. I have severe osteoarthritis throughout my entire body. In 2015 I had both hips replaced - the right in June and the left in November - and that surgery was totally successful and I am thrilled with the results. My hips are the only places on my body with minimal to no pain.

    Today I can especially empathize as I am in terrible pain and have been for several weeks - even my left hip. We have had a very wet spring and summer here in Western New York. Wet weather and osteoarthritis do not play well together. I just took some enteric coated aspirin and a muscle relaxer. I am allergic to all prescription pain medications, so rely on what I just mentioned plus a great lift recliner, sleep number bed, monthly chiropractic adjustments (next Wed. 8/16 is my next appointment) but mostly my wonderful wife, sons, pets and above all my faith.

    No question this hard. Pain is a pain, However, there are tools that help give us relief and deal with the pain. Have you tried joining a local "Y" or other fitness club that has a pool and/or hot tub? Water can be very soothing for joint pain. Are you taking any supplements? I have found that glucosamin helps, and am trying a new type of cinnamon capsules called Ceylon. Turmeric also has been reported to help with arthritis pain.

    What type of doctor(s) have you seen? Have you seen a rheumatologist and/or a pain management specialist? I have found the latter to be helpful but only short term. As already mentioned, I see my chiropractor once per month. That helps my back pain, but not the rest of my body like my hands.

    Keep doing your research. Keep moving as much as possible. Keep a positive attitude.

    I pray you find answers and relief soon.

      • over 1 year ago
        Thank you Dave for your encouraging advice. I appreciate you.
      • over 1 year ago
        ...My rhematologist put me on Celebrex 7 years ago to help slow the OA in my knees and fingers, especially; he also prescribed Voltaren, a diclofinac gel, which I use on my hands before golf! This gel works great for me.
        I can't see how chiropractic manipulation can provide anything more than very temporary relief; massage by a loved one, yoga, or a good stretching program would likely be more beneficial, avoid any injury associated with certain types of chiropractic, and certainly would be cheaper.
  • over 1 year ago

    RE: How do you live with osteoarthritis?

    I understand what you're feeling with your hands, they are reason number 1 for why I can not longer work. I'm a tool maker, I used to be able to work to tolerances as small as .00005 of an inch. I've made parts for satellites, fighter jets, firearms, surgical devices, cryogenic let you name it, if it was made from an exotic material í made it. But to do that work you need hands that work without pain, tremors or loss of motion. I also have had an ankle reconstructed, spinal fusion, with nerve roots scraped out on my vertebrae. At 44 I was done, couldn't take the pain anymore, I certainly couldn't use pain meds while working. At 6 months I also applied for SSDI, I don't think it took me more than a couple of months either. Their Dr read my records and looked over all my surgical scars and agreed I was done. There aren't too many things you can do for a living without hands. For me the pain never gets better without the drugs hopefully for you it will.
  • over 1 year ago

    RE: How do you live with osteoarthritis?

    Dear achyhands, I sympathize; I've lived with both osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia for 40 years. Since I react badly to NSAIDS, I had to look to natural supplements. What works for me is a combination of 4 different ones, which are all anti-inflammatories. They are: white willow bark (chemically similar to aspirin, but easier on the stomach), boswellia (resin from a shrub), ginger (I take it powdered in capsules), and MSM, a natural form of sulphur, which works well to ease arthritis pain. They are available in health food stores, but since I don't have a car, I order them online and have them mailed to me. I've tried using just one or two of them at a time, but my pain is better controlled using all four. The first three in the list do have slight blood-thinning properties, which you should know, in case your doctor wants you to take low-dose aspirin, as many of us seniors are advised to do. In my case, I told my doctor I would stay with my supplements, and would not take aspirin, as it upsets my stomach (and is known to cause g.i. system bleeding). You can research these supplements on your own, if you want. In my case, I was out of options; I cannot tolerate Ibuprofen and similar drugs; they cause me intense burning in my stomach. I hope this is helpful. This combination has made it possible for me (so far at least) to live with very bad knees (two years ago, I met with a surgeon who was ready to replace both of them). I said no, as I know people who've gone through that and had a terrible time (including my sister, who still walks stiffly, in pain, and uses a cane). I also have degenerative disc disease in my neck and lower back, with a history of three consecutive discs that herniated suddenly for no apparent reason, 9 years ago. I still have some pain, but also do stretches and exercises to manage it, and a chiropractor told me he doesn't even know how I'm able to walk around and manage as well as I do, given my various badly arthritic joints. I told him it's the combination of herbal anti-inflammatories I take; he was very surprised, and said he'd never heard that from any other patient! I guess the bottom line for me is, when traditional medicine fails us, or only has toxic drugs to offer ( such as the many people who are given prescriptions for harmful opiate drugs, for back pain, and then become addicted), that's when we patients need to educate ourselves, and take responsibility for our pain management, into our own hands. I hope this was helpful; I wish you Relief of your pain.
  • over 1 year ago

    RE: How do you live with osteoarthritis?

    To answer your question of "does it ever get better", I'm sorry to say - NO. It will only get worse. That doesn't mean it will happen fast, but it's a fact of aging. I have exactly the same problem as you - there is no cartilage left at the base of my thumb where it basically joins the wrist. I have bone spurs (sounds like you may have the same) which is bone-on-bone (no cushioning left from cartilage) on both hands. I can barely hold a pen any more. BUT the good news is, there is corrective surgery for this condition. I know my terminology isn't accurate, but they take part of a tendon (I think) out of your arm, and use that to wrap around the joint to create new cushioning. It's been done for many years and is highly successful. I'm thinking of having it done myself.

    Regarding your injections: did you get steroids or lidocaine? I get injections in both index fingers and both ring fingers every 3-4 months and that seems to help me. But it's a temporary solution. I asked my doctor, "Does everyone get arthritis?" and he said "Yes, some just sooner than others".

    I know that wasn't exactly what you were hoping to hear, but it's my reality. Hope you get some relief soon.
  • 11 months ago

    RE: How do you live with osteoarthritis?

    I know what you are going through as I have arthritis in my hands, among other places. I had cortisone shots with some short-term benefit but long term help only came from Advil or even better Aleve. These have a downside of stomach upset and I found that I developed a tolerance for them and the benefit declined. As a 70 yr. old bodybuilder, I analyzed my workouts and found that certain gripping made for lots of post-workout hand pain. I modified these with other movements and padding to reduce the need for intense gripping. I also take high potency fish oil and tried turmeric but it caused stomach problems. I stopped regular use of Aleve and found my hands remained relatively pain free and I use it only when necessary. You wrote that you have difficulty with jar caps, etc. and these things were a pain for me too. There are cap lifting / turning devices for sale, including some in lab supply catalogs. The idea is to reduce the need for a hard grip. Check online for products that might help. Best of luck.