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The symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Georgette, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 30

My pain started in my cervical spine right before I turned 36. My neck hurt all the time so I just took Tylenol until it became unbearable and finally I had an MRI. That was when they told me I had osteoarthritis. About a year later my back began to hurt so I had and another MRI. Osteoarthritis there too. I have been 13 years in pain management and I still hurt.

Comment from: KAYE, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 24

I had pain from osteoarthritis for almost a year; there were bony changes in the spine. There were no significant changes after epidural injections. Further x-ray found the hip was bone on bone. Total hip repair completely cured me; I am beginning cane use now.

Comment from: Julie250, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 14

I have a large pituitary tumor. MRI's have shown it growing for 15 years, yet I don't believe I have ever had a growth hormone test (GH). My spine is in a state of advanced and severe degeneration. I have pigment dysfunction; problems with epithelial cells, cancer left ventricular hypertrophy, hands and feet that have grown, as well as nose, nose bridge, forehead, tooth spacing and many other things. I am now accidentally biting my lip very often and very hard, accidentally while chewing, because of a bit of misalignment in my jaw. My feet are badly deformed and are arthritic. There are tumors under them. I have many skin growths. I have severe muscle problems and joint pains. I believe I have acromegaly because the tumor is over 1 cm. My spine is killing me with severe and advanced degeneration and a very severe curve, but I don't think the majority of Canadian doctors know a thing about acromegaly and from what I've witnessed so far, many of them also don't have the time to learn about it. I haven't seen an endocrinologist in years and have never been to a rheumatologist in my entire life. In spite of the fact that I have proof of all of this on all the reports and MRI's, I am absolutely forbidden from getting a handicap placard. In fact, the very request made my doctor scream and scream at the top of his lungs for a good 5 minutes. He was so mad I asked for one because he didn't think I was as crippled as most people with handicap stickers, even with all of these things -- yet oddly enough, I have rarely even seen a person at those handicap spots even so much as limp. I tried to find out how much training Canadian doctors had to get in order to renew their licenses each year, but this information is rather hidden from the public -- or maybe I should say "worded in a way that no one can ever tell for sure." I think they should be required to take some kind of upgrading course every year, like ministers who have to pay a fortune to prove they are qualified before they can upgrade.

Comment from: Julie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 14

About a year ago I had a total hip collapse. I fell on the floor and couldn't walk. Soon I will be able to get my MRI. (It takes about 9 to 12 months to get one in Canada). I had one about 7 years ago and it showed severe and advanced spinal degeneration. I also have a growing pituitary tumor as mentioned earlier. It's now over a centimeter. Soon I will get an MRI but they are only going to look at the bottom third of the spine. I'm worried about the choking and heart attack feelings I get from the middle of the spine though too (sometimes so hard I can hardly breathe for several minutes) as well as the severe neck pain, because there were problems in those areas 7 years ago too. I can't figure out why the MRI isn't taken of the entire spine. Doesn't it build up health care costs when each third of the spine has to be photographed one by one? After I get the results, it could take up to 15 months before I get to see a neurologist (usually 12 but I think it's longer these days) in Alberta.

Comment from: Linda, 55-64 (Patient) Published: October 06

It started in my neck; I have degenerating discs in my neck, some nerve damage. I have osteoarthritis in my whole spine, it's now in my knee and possibly my hips. My first symptoms were chronic pain in the neck and extreme headaches.

Comment from: Early OA, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 26

I have had neck pain since my early twenties. At thirty-five, I had one joint replaced in the neck and the pain went away. Now at 42, it is back and all over. It is in the neck (causing headaches), and my spine hurts every morning. I take Celebrex and this has helped but I have days when I’m know I’m going to have a rough time no matter what I do or take for medication. Doctors say it is arthritis but I have a hard time understanding that diagnoses since I am only 42.

Comment from: Georges, 65-74 Male Published: June 06

My osteoarthritis is located in my right shoulder. The pain extends from the middle of my shoulder blade, to the top of my shoulder, down the outside of my upper right arm, down the outside and underside of my lower right arm, through to my wrist, through the top of my right hand, ending just before and between my middle and index fingers. I've only had three, maybe four good days relatively free of pain since the pain started. At first I thought it was gout. This was the diagnosis of a local ER doctor, something which I encountered about three years ago. Then I was told it was arthritis, by an ER doctor in a VA hospital. Finally, I was told it was osteoarthritis by my local VA clinic.


Slideshow: Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain See Slideshow
Comment from: R Yarbrough, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 28

My husband has osteoarthritis of the elbows. He has already had elbow debridement twice in the right elbow.

Comment from: Female (Patient) Published: April 22

I had headaches and then my knees, neck and back were next. Now I have arthritis in almost every joint in my body. Neck, back, shoulders, wrists, fingers, knees, ankles, and feet. I am not sure if the pain in my hips are from the hips or the back. I have spurs associated with the affected joints. I was in my mid-twenties when these symptoms started. I am going to be scheduled for knee replacement in both knees. I have seen chiropractors and they have been of no help. Celebrex does not help. Ibuprophen has helped a little. I am 67 now and I'm really feeling the pain today. The pressure must have dropped. We went from the 80's to the 60's in one day. Rain is expected.

Published: September 10

I was just recently diagnosed with Osteoarthritis in both knees. I am 31 years old. I started getting symptoms about 6 years ago while training for a marathon. I ran every day and did squats and lunges every other day too. That did me in. At first, doctors diagnosed me with patella tendonitis which coincided with the symptoms I had at the time. I stopped everything and gained weight. Since then, the pain returns when the weather is about to change. I used the Glucos/Chron blend and can tell it helps a bit. Frustrating because I can’t really do any real workout, but I need to lose weight at the same time.

Published: September 10

I went for my yearly physical, and complained of aching hands and that my hips hurt. Blood tests came back with a positive ANA test. The rheumatologist ran blood tests and took X rays of my hands. This came back with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis. The hip pain was bursitis. She gave me cortisone shots in my hips and prescribed Arthrotec (NSAID) for the pain. I use hot wax dips, and lots of Aspercreme night time lotion (it smells good!). These things seem to help, since I teach special needs children and use a lot of sign language.

Comment from: bhairavi, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 31

I started having an enlargement at the first joint of the finger. It was not painful for at least three years. Suddenly since last six months my ring finger got a red, angry, and painful swelling, which the doctor has diagnosed as osteoarthritis. Have started a line of treatment along with exercise of the fingers.

Comment from: Liz, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 05

Aching pain between shoulder blades at night for a few weeks, then radiating deep pain down my right arm making it difficult to perform my tasks at work.

Comment from: Ward, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: September 06

I have no pain at all until I do some strenuous exercise like walking a long distance or up a hill. I can stop and set down and the pain will go away. My doctor ran some tests and said I had osteoarthritis although I see no one else that has commented that has similar complaints. I just turned 79.

Comment from: Florence, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 18

My knees are progressively becoming painful when walking. Recently, my knees have been very stiff and painful to bend.

Comment from: RStallings, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 06

I am 31 yrs old and recently diagnosed with OA. I've had low back pain for about 10 yrs and have been to several doctors about it. It started with numbness in my feet and pain running down the backs of my legs. It has gradually gotten to the point that I have a hard time moving at all and the only comfortable position is laying down. Nothing has helped the pain thus far. Now I am looking at a device that has small needles implanted under the skin. If that doesn't work then they are going to fuse the bones together. I'm so tired of this pain and not being able to interact with my kids the way I want to.

Comment from: Patrick, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 30

I was diagnosed with OA in my knees and jaw at 17 years old. I had pain and stiffness after running. I did cross-country in high school. TMJ caused blinding headaches and other issues (jaw clicking, locking, shifting molar alignment). The two things (jaw and knee) occurring together caused the doctors to finally look at OA. At that time I was told that my OA was equivalent to a 50 year-old.


What joints are most often affected by osteoarthritis? See Answer
Comment from: lola, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 21

My toe was initially numb and tingly, then the pain started gradually getting worse and spread to the ball of my foot. It’s been hurting badly for about three months. I had an MRI and the doctor said it was osteoarthritis. Nothing seems to completely take the pain away. Movement is difficult, since this is affecting my feet.

Comment from: Wayne, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 28

The first symptoms were in my left hip, I used to jog a lot and noticed my hip getting sore when I finished running. I went to the doctor and got X-rays and found out I have OA. I had my first operation on the hip about six months after and received a hip replacement in 2003 at 48 years old. I had some problems and the hip kept popping out because the leg was too short and had to be extended. So that was done in 2004 and only popped out once in 2008. I could have had another operation but told the surgeon that I would watch what I do. I still downhill ski, but watch how fast I go.

Comment from: betty, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 16

At the onset of osteoarthritis, I had severe back pain and I was unable to stand upright.

Comment from: Rocky, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 12

I have osteoarthritis with pain particularly in my hands. This is very likely congenital. I am surprised that there is no mention of the value of physical therapy (performed only by a specialist in upper extremity therapy) in dealing with the stiffness and pain. There are lots of suggestions about medications and one comment that a doctor said that the only helpful exercise would be swimming. It is really unfortunate that the first response is usually to ingest more chemicals. I strongly recommend having a consultation with a physical therapist with credentials in upper extremity treatment. I've been greatly helped and now I have a significant reduction in pain and stiffness, and increase in range of motion. Once you learn the techniques, you can easily use them at home.

Comment from: agnel, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 22

I have tremendous pain. My husband does not understand me. He thinks I’m too young to be complaining of pain. I’m a caregiver, caring for the elderly and now I need someone to care for me and understand my pain. I hurt all over at night and I do not sleep well. I get up and sit on a recliner for part of the night. My hips are in pain all the time, as well as my knees and my back, especially when I’m lifting heavy patients.

Comment from: papaaf, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 01

I had surgery for an injury to my left knee meniscus and cartilage. My knee was in constant pain and had to have fluid drained on three occasions along with a Synovioma injection. Pain decreased slightly and now I am told that I need a total knee replacement, but cannot get it approved by my employers work comp insurance. They stated it was a pre existing condition and my surgeon states it may be a trauma induced osteoarthritis.

Comment from: Susan, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 21

I have always had some small arthritic pains in the low back, but this month, my hands have been very painful. The lowest joint of the left thumb is especially painful, with a sharp needlelike stabbing pain, and is also quite swollen. In addition, twice I have had tingling, heat, and swelling of the joints in the left middle finger. I am an avid knitter, and I am so afraid I will lose my hands. I was on Celebrex for years for the arthritis in my back, but my doctor has recently taken me off this medication. My back feels fine, but the hands really concern me.

Comment from: Rocky, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: October 09

I am 65 and have had osteoarthritis in my hips, fingers and spine for some time. Now I feel it in my chest whenever I do stretching or lightweight lifting. My doctor told me it was my arthritis and all I could is swim for exercise. I didn't know I had joints in my chest, or rib cage that could experience pain.

Comment from: Karlita47, 45-54 (Patient) Published: July 27

I had a flare up on Mother's Day I was in severe pain. Could pull on my pants, pick up a coffee cup. The pain was pain I had never dealt with before. The pain is in my wrist and hands. I just receive steroid shots in both wrist and so far so good. My wrists were very swollen and red and felt like they were on fire. The swollen is causing my carp tunnel to be effective as well. I am looking into ways to keep these flare up to a minimum. Any suggestion would be appreciated. I am a 47 year old in good health.


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