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Who here has lumbar arthritis?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Lower Back Pain
I am hoping to hear from those of you that have bad arthritis in their lumbar spines. What are your symptoms and what are you doing to treat them?


  • I have arthritis of the facet joints. Symptoms are pain and difficulty straightening up from laying / sitting position. Back locks up when walking just to name a few things. Most days I can not bend or stoop. I had a lumbosacral back brace fitted at an orthotics place and it helps me alot. I am also on methadone, cymbalta and percocet for breakthrough pain. Have you been diagnosed with this?
  • Yea, I have arthritis, some stenosis, and bulging disks at 3 levels. And Grade 1 Spondylothesis (sp?). They all think the arthritis is the big culprit.
  • there is a good possibilty that they are right. I can tell you first hand that it is very painful.
  • Hi, I have arthritis in my lumbar facet joints. I am having a lot of pain, and burning in my back. Can you tell me what you mean when you say your back locks up? When I'm walking sometimes I feel like there's a catch in my back. I don't really know how to describe it, but the muscles down my back and butt tighten up and I can hardly walk. Thanks for any info. you can give me. Hope
  • I have arthritis in my lumbar spine along with some other issues of pinched nerve, foraminal & central stenosis.

    I can relate to that catch in the back. It feels as if something is moving in my back and catches. It mostly happened when I was walking on graded surfaces, or up/down stairs, or turning. Now it seems to catch much more frequently.Is that how it feels for you?
    Usually I have to lie flat for awhile at some point during the day.

    I just started lumbar epidural steroid injections. I go for my second one today. No change yet. I really hope it helps, because it's very painful. I take tramadol, baclofen and lyrica. It takes the edge off, but I still have pain.
    I can't take percocet, vicoden, ect....I will become very sick
    and just vomit.

    I could sort of tolerate norco, if I have to. That can even make my stomach queasy. I certainly can't function as far as work or driving on it.

    I have tried pilates, physical therapy, tens, and now injections. I am considering acupuncture in the future. Anything that might help.
  • Sorry to hear your pain is so bad. I have been down the steroid road. You name it I have tried it. Acupuncture, unfoftunately did not work for me.

    I wish you luck and hope you get releif soon. Good luck!!!
  • My MRI results say I have arthritis, DDD and other assorted stuff. Bottom line for me though, is they don't know what is causing the pain.

    I am taking relafen (nabumetone) and neurontin (gabapentin). I've tried Darvocet, Ultram ER, Vicodin, and a Fentanyl patch. Only the fentanyl helped the pain, but it also made me violently sick. None of the others helped the pain at all, and the Ultram (made me sick too) and Vicodin also caused side effects.

    I have had 12 acupuncture treatments, with no real noticeable relief. I've had 2 lumbar ESI's, 1 facet steroid injection and 1 facet nerve block all with no real relief. I don't know what the doctor will want me to try next.

    Luckily I can still manage day to day, though it's not comfortable. And some days are better than others.

    I wish you luck in finding relief.
  • I am so sorry but I just now noticed your question to me. When my back locks up it is usually when I have walked more distance than I am able to or going uphill or stairs. The best I can describe it is that my lower back tightens up so much it does not want to let me move, it is like it is frozen and can move no more. That is my best description. Sorry it took me awhile to respond. Feel free to PM me if I do not answer in a timely manner. the absolute best relief that I have found for this is a rhizotomy (nerve burn). They actually kill the nerves that are carrying the pain signal to the brain. It usually lasts me about 9 months to 1 year when the nerves regenerate.
  • Hi SKZ, I can relate to your pain. I am Female, age 54 and most all my pain is related to arthritis in L3 L4 and something 1. I took Vicodin because at the time was on another med that prevented me from taking tramadol. I got my doctor to ween me off that med properly and did start taking tramadol along with celebrex. My family dr. started freaking out about giving pain meds and sent me to pain management. At the time I was working 46 hours a week and didn't see how I was going to find the time to go to pain mgnt. But, as he was cutting me off, I went and it turned out to be for the best. I feel that I got lucky w/this pain dr because after, facet injections that didn't last long enough I got medial branch nerve blocks to see if I was a candidate for radio-frequency to freeze so to speak the nerves. The first set of 4 needles did absolutely nothing but the second set worked and I just had the rizotamomy RF to kill the 3 nerves that sent the pain signal to the brain. :H
  • painintheback - you are the first person I have met that mentions how your back 'locks up' bending forward! I have searched and searched for this discription in every low back article I could find.

    I've had a stable L5-S1 herniated disc with mild spinal stenosis for 4-5 years. Then 2 years ago I also had a L4-5 annular tear, had interforaminal injections and then facet injections. At no time has anyone told me I had arthritis. DJD, etc.

    In July I had sudden onset of right calf pain and decided it was peripheral arterial disease (I'm 62) so started a walking program, 40 minutes every other day. While it has slowly improved a little, walking uphill is the real kicker. What concerns me is that during my walk I also get left labial discomfort and feel like I need to urinate, and sometimes the top of my left iliac crest burns (like when I had the annular tear with all left leg pain.) Nothing fits this current description. I was told the nerve supply comes from S1 for the labial and urinary bladder.

    I also reseached 'mechanical low back pain' and still they don't describe this lock up feel I get. It happens almost every day when I have to push an object (patient stretcher.)
    But I just stand still, clench my fists, and it subsides enough so I can continue. But it really takes my breath away. Supposedly spinal stenosis does not present this way.

    So I am glad to hear I am not alone!!! And I guess it is just arthritis.....
  • I get totally locked up when I do side bends to the left. My right hip area hurts so much I cannot get back up from the bends!! I have learned to not do them LOL. When I go to Aquacise, I am the only one who cannot do this exercise where you take your arm and put it over your head to the side to stretch. ARTHRITIS!!
  • arthritis is it and it is no fun at all.
  • Im your huckleberry lumbar arthritis as well as in the hands. and im only 22 so im sure theres more to come :jawdrop:
  • I have lumbar arthritis too. I just went to see the NS for the first time hoping they would just cut me open and fix me, but no such luck. Because of all the hardware I already have in my back. My lumbar has taken a beating and I have arthritis of a 70 year old (I am 38). I will get an operation but he is hoping to put if off until I am about 50 or so, so that it will last the rest of my life with little problems. If I get it now he thinks I will have hip problems etc. I am going to have injections on sept 11th. I have never had them before and am very scared. I already called ahead to see if they sedate you or give you an IV andthe answer was NO. My family doc gave me some xanax to calm my nerves. I hope it helps. I am going to take some tonight as a "dry run" to see how many I will need. I wantto be slobbering(sp) when I go in there! Ha! I just wish they would knock me out. Has anyone had these injections for arthritis? Do they hurt? I am not afarid of the pain afterwords, just during. Thanks,Melissa
  • I just had a radiofrequency rhizotomy on Monday the 8th. Its a procedure for arthritis where they use radiofrequency to burn the nerve endings. Its supposed to last 8 months to a year and half (sometimes longer). I noticed being better immediately, which is rare. It wasnt that bad. Much better than I expected. I had 4 levels done on my right side, which is by far my worst side. I just wanted to call this to your attention. I have high hopes for his. You can get this again if needed.
  • I had 3 levels done and after 2 weeks am beginning to wonder if it should have been 4. Basically the majority of the pain is gone where I got RF but he lower and lowest nerve he didn't do because the first of medial nerve blocks to see if I was a candidate was too low. Wonder if they will do one more. Guess they have to do what they have to do until they get me squared away because oste-arthritis is ever sooooooo..... painful as you well know.

    I was not better immediately and even though I feel (or don't) ha ha rather, I really feel pain where I didn't before because I had so much pain in L3,4,5. I think S1 is now saying hello you forgot ME.

    Female, age 54
  • GOd Vicky, *I hear ya!
    The Drs. drive me insane. I am always having to tell them what to do. The physiatrist who referred to the rhizotomy guy was only going to have him do L4-5 on both sides and L5-S1 on the right. He ended up listening to me and making the decision to do 4 levels on the right side. I may still have to get those on the left too. he didnt want to do too much all at once
  • Well I went to get my injections yesterday. I was so nervous I took 3 xanax in 15 min intervals. I won't do that again! But it take off some of the edge. The cortasone shots did not hurt nearly like I was expecing. They did my coccyx first then next month they start with my lumbar. I do have stinging sensation where they were injecting. Is that pretty normal? I can't wait to see it it works!
    How doyou all get your docs to give you so much info? About what levels etc..I know nothing about mine.
    Peace be with you,
    Melissa O:)

  • I have some arthritis in my lumbar area as well, supposedly mild but am trying to see my rheumatologist with a frest start in mind.

    painintheback wrote:

    "When my back locks up it is usually when I have walked more distance than I am able to or going uphill or stairs. The best I can describe it is that my lower back tightens up so much it does not want to let me move, it is like it is frozen and can move no more. That is my best description."

    thats sounds like me to a "T", in the cold winter its far worse too.My sacral joints and hips sometimes feel like hot pokers were inserted and a tight belt "like" pressure respectively.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,728
    I have arthritis though out my body. 3 Anacin helps the best but aspirin has tore up my stomach. So I take celebrex 200 mg. in morn and eve.
    I can hardly move in the morning, I bought a special hydro therapy spa called sundance spa. each of 3 seats gives a different type of jet action. I use it first thing in the morning for 20 or 30 min. And that's the only time I feel human. 0 pain during that time. and it loosens me up enough where I can do my 1.5 mi walk.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • :O) Hi Melissa. Yes it's normal and so is pain after injections but if you do the ice every two hours after for 10 or 20 minutes at a time and really stay with it for the first 24 hours, the numbing from the ice helps with the pain but even more important keeps the swelling down. Just my opinion but I think the body not being happy about foreign objects steps up and says hello after the needle. I've had different injections but the first set with no clue what to expect after is what shocked me most. As for getting information out of your Dr.I was left so in the dark that I called and made a regular office visit and then nailed him down. Ever since, he has really been informative and so has his nurse. Best of luck w/that. Vicky
  • at L3-L4, and L4-L5 back in the 70s and the last one in 1980, I have developed serious Arthritis, and have all kinds of problems down there. As a matter of fact, the first time I went to get an Epidural, the Dr. couldn't get the medicine into the area because of all the Arthritis. A blind Epidural took the Dr. 1 hr and 45 minutes. It was horrible. After that, I started seeing a PM Dr. and he did the epis with a floriscope. Thank God for those things.
  • Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum, and these particular postings seem to have hit my problem right on the spot. I had scoliosis fusion surgery in 1984 somewhere on top, down to L3. I literally had "zero" pain for 23 years and was very active in all sports. Last year I turned 40, took a kickboxing class, and did myself in. Over the past 3 months, my pain went from being occassionally triggered by sports, to now being chronic and getting worse by the day. I have had MRIs, CTscans, Xrays, etc. Nothing definitive shows up to explain the pain I am having in my right buttock/hip/thigh (I have ruled out hip problems as well). In the past few months, I am constantly hunched over from back stiffness and pain. I can't walk for more than a few minutes at a time, and have a job and 2 kids to take care of.I am pretty much debilitated at this point. I had 3 epidural/forminal shots already, although, those were for trying to diagnose a pinched nerve (which does not show up on the films, nor did I get any relief). I am wondering if I have facet joint arthritis. I heard it is very common on the levels right below a spinal fusion. It seems to be getting worse and worse, and I do have relief if I bend over or curl up in a ball. My doctor didn't think so, but I think I'm going to insist on facet joint injections. For these types of issues, anyone have thougths on orthopedic doctor vs. neurosurgeon? I am seeing an ortho now, but I feel like he's giving up on me. Thanks for any insight.
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