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Chronic pain

Osteoarthritis - supplements, treatments etc

18 replies

Bonesofache · 14/05/2022 17:48

Diagnosed with osteoarthritis, only in my mid 40s so feeling fearful for the future. I've had no opportunity to discuss with a GP, the diagnosis came after an xray following joint pain and I've had no opportunity to ask questions etc.

I've managed to get some physio booked in and need to lose weight. But what else can I do? I've looked at supplements but there are so many on the market, each with something slightly different in, I don't know what to buy. What kind of a doctor should I be pushing to see in this situation? I know a rheumatologist is for rheumatoid arthritis, who looks after osteoarthritis? Should I be pushing for full body xrays or an MRI? I thought there might be a lot more on Mumsnet about this but I can only find a few threads! Thanks for any advice you can give.

OP posts:

Trialsandtribulationsoflife · 15/05/2022 09:51

Hi, I totally understand your worry. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in several joints in my early 40’s, so nearly a decade ago.
I had one rheumatology appointment to confirm it wasn’t rheumatoid and then discharged back to GP care. GP’s manage osteoarthritis, at least in our area.

I have naproxen on repeat prescription for when I get a bad flare up. I only take it for a max of 2 weeks at a time though as the lansoprazole you have to take with it can affect absorption I have ongoing issues with low iron anyway. I also have Zapain on prescription for when it’s so unbearable I can’t sleep but I only take that for a maximum of a couple of nights.

I have just been referred to physio as my hands are so bad I’m struggling to do my job and even gripping the steering wheel is difficult but I’m keeping my expectations low. I think they may be able to offer a splint. I had an OT appointment a few years ago who gave me splints for my wrist and told me to Google the Versus Arthritis site for tips and advice and then discharged me!

Alcohol can flare up arthritis and I discovered this really was a trigger for flare ups so I avoid alcohol completely now. Other than that the advice is to lose weight and work on strengthening the muscles so that they can support the joints. Having seen my DGM end up wheelchair bound and unable to care for herself due to her osteoarthritis, I’m determined to do as much as I can to stay as strong as possible. Her arthritis only developed in her 70’s, DM developed it in her 60’s and I’ve developed it younger than both of them!


Bonesofache · 19/05/2022 07:33

Thanks for your reply. Sorry to hear that you also have osteoarthritis. Have you noticed much progression since you were diagnosed a decade ago? Either in your affected joints, or it developing in new joints? Mine is mainly in my knee and hip, and I do need to lose weight, so I am hoping that might help a bit. Although I've noticed my elbows have started aching recently too. Very depressing. I am surprised by the lack of support and information for osteoarthritis given it must be very common, albeit more often in older people. I discovered the Versus Arthritis website so have been searching around there. I don't know if it's a waste of money investing in lots of supplements, but would try anything that might work to improve things a bit!

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PuggyMum · 31/05/2022 07:48

Hi @Bonesofache I've just been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my left hip. Been struggling for ages and largely ignoring it and carried on exercising but I ended up with a bad limp. I already had fibromyalgia so my back is pretty much always in pain anyway.

My rheumatologist did my MRI scan and then referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon who arranged a steroid injection (which I had yesterday and have to rest for a week). He said I need to try to last as long as I can on this hip and aiming for 50's. I'm 43.

I've tried to avoid painkillers in the main and listen to my body but I do have naproxen and omezerprole (sp) which I was taking ahead of the injection.

So far this was all through BUPA but they don't cover ongoing conditions so I expect I'll need to speak to my GP and if I need a steroid injection every 6/12 months I can just pay.

I've been taking a supplement called chondroitin which has helped a little and although I lost 4st last year I've put at least one back on Shock so really need to get back on it too.

It's crap isn't it though.


Jewel1968 · 31/05/2022 07:57

Have it in my hands. Have started HRT as I read some research seems to suggest it helps. I must admit my hands are better but it's early days. Only been couple of weeks. I am hopeful.


Anjelika · 31/05/2022 08:09

Jewel1968 · 31/05/2022 07:57

Have it in my hands. Have started HRT as I read some research seems to suggest it helps. I must admit my hands are better but it's early days. Only been couple of weeks. I am hopeful.

I too have it in my hands and am interested in hearing HRT may have helped you. I might look into that. I find mine is far worse in the winter. Like other PP's I too am astonished how little help/info there is out there.

In the past I have had cortisone injections - they really helped - then finally a joint fusion op on the initial finger that I had it in. Was hoping it would be an isolated incidence but another finger has gone and the base of my thumb is not good either.


Idratherhaveacuppa · 31/05/2022 08:25

I was diagnosed in my mid 30's, it started in my toes and has since spread to my hands and knees. The base of my thumbs is the hardest for me because I use it the most!

I take glucosamine with chondroitin and omega oils. I'm not sure if they help!
I also take naproxen when things get unbearable.

Epsom salt baths help as does ibuprofen gel.

I also find that keeping joints warm in the colder months so wrist warmers are great.


Jewel1968 · 31/05/2022 09:11

I used to play volleyball in my youth and often wonder if that contributed to it.

I discussed HRT with doc and she didn't say it would help or not but thought it was worth a try. Only 2 weeks in but definitely see a difference in one finger but as you know the nature of the beast is flare ups. So could be coincidence.

I also try the omega 3 and eat lots of fish but didn't notice anything but it might help by slowing progression.


Anjelika · 31/05/2022 19:42

Thanks @Jewel1968. I guess anything is worth a try. I tried HRT about 7 years ago and the only improvement I saw was to my joints/bones. I noticed it every morning when I got out of bed but as I don't have OA in my knees or hips where I definitely felt less creaky, I didn't make the link.


Bonesofache · 10/06/2022 14:22

Thanks all for your comments. Sorry for the delay in responding, I've been away. I've started physio. Can't say I've noticed any difference. I have a noticeable limp, which I hate. Will it ever go??

Physio has said that there is no evidence that supplements work, but the one with most positive reviews from her patients is chondroitin, so I've ordered some.

A few people have mentioned that they have seen a rheumatologist. Do they help with osteoarthritis too? I think I need to push for an MRI too, will also consider HRT. Thanks

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AllLopsided · 29/06/2022 23:55

I am quite late replying, sorry. I have end-stage post-traumatic arthritis in my ankle. I'll be having an ankle replacement in the next year or so. My orthopaedic surgeon prescribed chondroitin years ago and I think it slowed the progress for a while. I am still taking it in case it gets worse if I stop! You need a decent dose. My surgeon recommended 1600mg a day for 2 weeks and then 800mg a day. If you miss a day, you have to do the two weeks higher dosage again. My pharmacist recommended 1200mg a day all the time. I did do 1200 for a while but dropped back to 800 as it's bloody expensive. Don't think I feel worse for it!

I also take fish oil, vit D, calcium and magnesium.

Ice helps too. I also have tendinitis in my hip (other side of course 🙄) and use Deep Freeze gel on it... sometimes I put some on my ankle too just to numb it for a while.


Bonesofache · 30/06/2022 09:06

Thank you. I just started taking 1200mg chondroitin every day so hope it makes a difference. So I guess it's an orthopaedic surgeon I ask to be referred to in that case. I've only had a text from my GP so far, advising me of the diagnosis and no follow up. I've been having physio privately but not convinced it's doing much so really feel I want to speak to some kind of expert about it all.

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MrsSkylerWhite · 30/06/2022 09:07

High strength turmeric with curcumin helps me.


Bonesofache · 28/07/2022 11:37

Just coming back with an update, in case it helps people searching for arthritis threads in the future. I've kept up with a programme of simple physio exercises, 5 mins on a stationary bike a few times a week (keeps the knee in alignment whilst moving the joint) and taking chondroitin and glucosamine. I'm definitely less stiff than I was and walking with less of a limp. So it's all worth doing.

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Jewel1968 · 31/07/2022 15:46

Update too on my HRT journey. Definitely an improvement in pain. Not just hands but back and hip too.

Might be worth a try for some of you if you are menopausal?


maddy68 · 31/07/2022 15:47

I know this is probably not something doable for you but I suffered chronically for years. Moved abroad to a dry climate. Hardly bothers me at all !
It's been life changing


Bonesofache · 31/07/2022 18:25

Thanks for the updates. Unfortunately I hate hot weather so dry climates are out for me! For those on HRT, how old were you when you started taking it? I am mid 40s and my periods are less reliable than the used to be, but the gynaecologist said it would probably be a few years before I should consider HRT????

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Jewel1968 · 01/08/2022 16:37

Mid 50s but I think I should have tried it earlier. If you think you are peri then you might be an option. You might need a blood test I guess?

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