I’ve been experiencing issues with lower back pain for the last 10 years or so. The pain has gotten worse and more debilitating as I’ve gotten older, to the point to where it hinders my daily life. I’m only 30 years old, so this is a big problem. In fact, it’s been a problem going back to my childhood. The journey has taken endless doctors to figure out what’s going on and why I experience so much pain. I’m happy to report that I finally got a solid answer from a rheumatologist: I have osteoarthritis.
Dog Mom Diagnosis: Battling Osteoarthritis
Years ago when I sought help for my back pain, I had x-rays and an MRI done of my spine. Nothing showed up. I sought a second opinion from a doctor who actually listened. He told me it sounded like I had more of a hip problem, and he was right. An MRI showed a slight bone deformity and blunting and fraying of my right acetabulum (basically I have a crappy right hip). However, I tried every treatment option under the sun and the only thing that helped me was medication. I tried massage, chiropractic adjustments, back and hip injections and physical therapy. Nothing worked.
At the end of 2018 I had enough. I was sick of the doctors just throwing medication at me and I wanted answers. I’m only 30! I can’t live in pain forever!
My pain is so excruciating and severe, that OTC drugs don’t even slightly help. But I also know that staying on any medications is not good for my body. So, again, I sought a third…and fourth…and fifth opinion.
Doctors kept telling me the same thing. “I don’t know. It’s so odd. I don’t know.” Until one appointment where the doctor could see the desperation. He looked at me as I buried my face in my hands. “I don’t know,” he said, “but I want to send you to a rheumatologist.”
A rheumatologist? How on Earth are they going to help me? How are they going to find out why I’m in pain all day, everyday?!
Blood work, apparently.
Arthritis of sorts runs in my family. It is genetic. It can manifest itself in different forms, and people exhibit different symptoms. What are my symptoms, you may ask?
- Chronic low back pain
- Chronic right hip pain
- Chronic right leg pain
- Stiffness if I’ve been sitting for too long
- Lack of range of motion in my right leg and hip (ever since I was a child)
- I walk with a slight limp
When I saw the rheumatologist, I told him my story. Again. For the 800th time, it seemed like. I also told him that I suffer from hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Disease, and I wasn’t sure if those issues make my pain worse.
I’m sick of talking about my pain and the battles I’ve been fighting with it. I’m sick of the appointments and medication and no answers. So the doctor did blood work and I waited a few days.
Rheumatoid arthritis was ruled out from the results of the blood work. In conjunction with my prior imaging and lack of success with other treatment plans, the doctor diagnosed me with osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease. It typically affects joints in the hands, knees, spine and hip. Symptoms can worsen over time, which is definitely the case with me. I experience four of the five main signs that a person has osteoarthritis: pain, tenderness, loss of flexibility and stiffness. And boy, does it suck.
So, I’m 30, and I have osteoarthritis.
But here’s the thing – now I know. Now I can move on with this information to better my situation. To start, I began using CBD oil instead of medication. Although it’s not quite as effective as medication, it’s healthier and it does help my pain. The slight discomfort I have is much better than the extreme pain I was experiencing.
I’ve also become more active. I can’t work out like a “normal” person because of the issues with my joints, but I have physical therapy exercises to strengthen specific joints. I started spending more time outside with Wynston, whether it’s going on walks in new places, or checking out a new lake. I make it a point to generally be more active without straining my body, and that has helped a bit.
Osteoarthritis puts a damper on everything I do. Sit, walk, sleep. Literally anything I do causes me pain. However, I’m learning what works for me on the new CBD regimen, and I’m working on my joint health through vitamins and exercises.
Overall, I feel better since the diagnosis. I have answers that make the most sense. I’m on a natural treatment as opposed to taking potentially harmful medications. And Wynston is happy because we’ve been more active together 🙂 Honestly, I’ve been looking at the situation in an extremely positive light, and I’m feeling confident in my ability to kick osteoarthritis in the butt.