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Monday, August 25, 2008

A new pain, new understanding?

Several weeks ago I started to have sharp pains in my right hip area, descending to the top of my right thigh. It made it difficult to walk without limping. At first I had trouble getting out of bed in the morning because the pain was so great. Over time, the pain has diminished at least to where I don't fear getting up. At times it goes away, I don't feel it when standing or walking, but it is usually just around the corner, waiting to come back.

My suspicion is that the arthritis has simply spread to my hip. My sensitivity to my left knee has placed additional strain on my right leg, and on my hip especially, which has caused the arthritis degeneration to accelerate in that area. I have no scientific proof of this situation, but it makes logical sense.

My hope is that the severe pain will diminish enough over time that I can manage things like longer hikes without much pain. It's probably what they call an arthritis flareup, and the first time it flares up the pain is much worse and longer-lasting.

When I speak to my doctor about arthritis pain all that he offers is pain relief, and we have had a struggle with that. First, I do not want to become dependent on anti-inflammatory drugs because they do not cure anything and they can cause more cartilage disintegration down the line. Interestingly, when I search for more information on this link, I find it more easily in articles on arthritis in companion animals than in humans. Yet we are all animals and we often respond similarly to the same treatments. The wikipedia article on osteoarthritis mentions damage to the articular cartilage related to the use of one of these drugs (presumably studies have not been done with the others or results have been inconclusive).

Another problem for me with Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) is that they go right to my stomach. I had a serious ulcer, caused by ibuprofen, in 2000. I have been sensitive to these drugs since then so I must avoid them. Acetaminophen is an alternative I use now and then that doesn't seem to offer much help either.

When I was in the hospital in Scotland in May, for another ulcer (this one caused by the H. pylori bacteria) I was given acetaminophen with codeine and did not experience side effects. I therefore mentioned this when at my regular doctor's office recently and he gave me a prescription for it that I can use when I need it. I have found that when I take two it sends me into that floating place that usually means I get nauseous as well, so that isn't a good thing. I have found I can take one with little ill effect so I do have that available for when I feel desperate.

Although this hip pain has been very bad for an exercise program I try to follow, I have rarely used that drug. Instead, I look for signs that the pain is diminishing, signs that this is indeed a flareup and eventually it will calm enough to allow me more movement with less pain.


Janet Meydam said...

Judith - I can relate to your attempts to manage your arthritis without medications. I was diagnosed with sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 27 and just about every NSAID I have attempted ties my stomach into knots. Unfortunately, all the alternatives people have suggested I try have been unsuccessful also, so I do rely on drugs, but I do have a different type of arthritis than yours.
It does sound like your hip might be starting to go out on you. That does tend to happen when you compensate for other joints. I don't have any real words of wisdom or miracle cures for you, other than don't give up on the exercise. I know it's really hard to stay motivated, since I have that same problem. Good luck! I have linked to your blog and I will be following your quest for pain relief. I have just accepted the fact that I will have pain the rest of my life, so I admire anyone who actually finds pain relief. I hope your hip settles down! Janet

Judith said...

Thank you, Janet, for understanding what I am trying to do and not trying to get me to try some miracle cure.

And thank you for your words of encouragement. I am not giving up on the exercise, although I am not doing as much of it now as I would like to.

Kristine said...

Judith- I would highly recommend you go to this site and read about the research on this this new technology that's been proven to decrease inflammation within minutes. No drugs to take, no dangers or side effects whatsoever. The technology is called "Barefoot Connections". It's been in scientific testing for over seven years and they are undergoing the FDA approval process.

It has to do with an unlimited supply of free electrons on the surface of the earth that can be tapped into in your home. This greatly decreases free radical damage which is responsible for inflammation process.

This is very, very exciting and interesting. Results are 100% guaranteed. I know of many people who are using this and the reason for my blog comment is I am seeking to share it with others!

Best of luck to you.

Catherine said...

Thanks for your blog, I have been diganosed with Seronegative Spondyloarthropy, and autoimmune disease that looks and feels like RA but is negative for HB 27 or RF.
Blogs like yours have inspired me to start one of my own
Its hard to find other people out there who know what your talking about!
I am luck though my soon to be husband is a Naturopathic Doctor so I have lots of support in finding ways to manage my pain with limited medications.

Judith said...

Catherine - thank you for your comment. I do think it's helpful to record our experiences for others to read, especially when they are not the typical medical process. And thank you for the link to your blog.

Garren said...

This may help...I have a friend (local pottery maker) who was on 8 to 10 tylenol per day plus other medicines just to be able to work. He started drinking MonaVie Active everyday which is an impressive mix of the world's best fruits and berries including the acai berry. After 1 week he was completely off all pain killers. He now drinks about 4oz a day and is still fully relieved from arthritis. Let me know if you want to try it or want more info. I hope this helps! Garren

david s klein, md said...


I am a physician specializing in the treatment of pain, particularly those who are complicated by auto-immune disorders and endocrinopathies.

I developed a cream for my patients that might be of considrerable interest to you. It is a high concentration (40%) MSM ointment in an advanced transdermal base. The cream works within 15 to 30 seconds, lasting 2-4 hours, or more. We call it "Kink-Ease." It is manufactured for me by a pharmaceutical company, assuring a very high quality and consistency.

It is inexpensive and particularly effective for problems involving the feet, hands, wrists, elbows and knees. To a lesser extent, it is useful for the hip and neck.

Look it over, my patients love it.

my wewbsite is

Bryantcafe said...

Judy, I certainly agree there is no miracle cure. I would think massage and acupuncture would be helpful. There are also some interesting books on managing pain from a spiritual perspective. Hugs, Mary

Judith said...

Hi Mary,

I think acupuncture might be helpful but I can't manage the cost, and I feel I am doing rather well on my current track. As for spiritual methods, that's a big no for me. I am not spiritual and have no patience with it. Thanks for commenting and reading!