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Just OA?!

sassy411ssassy411 Posts: 199
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Chronic Pain
So xrays are showing that all of the wretched symptoms in my neck & the pain in my hand are "just OA". Am I supposed to be happy about this?

Apparently, there is some bad stuff going on in my low back. My DO's nurse isn't the best when it comes to enunciation, so I have to wait for a letter from doc & referral for MRI.
Best I could gather, the xrays showed DDD, narrowing of spaces & I don't know what all else.

Is it normal to be so dismissive of OA? It hurts--don't they know that? While I'm happy there is no evidence of RA, I'm not sure I can write this off as mere arthritis.

I'm on pain meds & Soma which helps keep the neck headaches at bay, at least.

Oh well, we're just at the beginning of the process here.


  • HI Sassy,

    I hate when they say "just". Like this isn't bad enough to warrant their attention. What type of doc are you seeing? Hopefully a spine specialist now that you have this diagnosis? Maybe the MRI will show something else to explain what you are feeling. Sometimes I think the waiting is the worst part.

    GOod Luck

  • He's a DO--he's not the one who said "just", it was his assistant on the phone. My OS has the same attitude about my knee.

    I'm getting an MRI but for my low back, not neck. Low back is apparently where they found trouble beyond "just OA."
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,836
    As Kris said the word just is something I wish the medical field didnt use all that often. Sure, there are times when they are comforting a patient and will tell them that there really isnt anything wrong.

    There is nothing Just about Osteoarthritis. It can start out pretty mild. In the early stages there may be just a little discomfort and not even pain. But one thing for sure, it does progress.

    I had a bone scan done in 2004, that was the first time my doctors saw an mass accumulation of arthritis in my shoulders and hip areas. No pain, no discomfort, just (the word again) something to watch.

    By 2006, my shoulders started to cause problems. I started going in for cortisone injections once a year. The shoulders continue to worsen, but at the same time, I had so many thoracic flare ups along with several herniated T-discs, I paid less attention to my shoulders.

    Starting in Mid 2008, my shoulders had really gone down hill. The injections were every 4 months. X-Rays were taken at 6 month intervals. Finally by Mid 2009, the doctors told me that the OA progressed so much and so fast, the only solution was complete shoulder replacements. Well, thats what I did do in 2010. I am recovering now, but it was not easy.

    My point of this is to make sure you stay on top of things. If that means yearly visits to the doctors for diagnostic testing, then do it. Each test hones in on a different area. For disc problems, the MRI is one of the better tools, for Arthritis, X-Rays do the job, while for nerves its EMG testing.

    Once you have been identified with OA, it is probably something you should discuss with your PCP.
    Many times they may suggest some blood work to look for any Rheumatoid Arthritis.

    DDD, that for the most part you can manage with some approved exercise programs and OTC NSAIDS. For more details on DDD, please look at: Degenerative Disc Disease

    Your best course of action is to establish effective two way communications with your doctors. Many times that will provide better results then some of the medications they might prescribe.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Ron,

    That sounds awful!

    I did get a lot of bloodwork done, still waiting for results. My GP said he ordered a bunch of stuff to rule out different sources of my pain.

    I'm waiting for the MRI to be scheduled. My GP won't give me a referral to PT without that--I am desperate to find cardio I can do without tearing myself apart, either hips, neck, back or knees seem to get mashed no matter what I do.

  • My situation is that I have degerative osteoarthritis in my facet joints and my surgeon takes it very seriously. Just OA...HAH! When you have OA in your joints, and this being SH, in your facet joints, I can personally tell you that it can be as painful as a disc problem, sometimes more so, and is something that only worsens and won't heal on its own.

    Luckily, my ortho spine surgeon knows this and treats me with kid gloves. He understands that my cervical spine is a big problem with the arthritis - I even have edema in my neck that trying to protect my joints.

    So just OA? You don't have to have a disc problem to have serious pain and/or serious problems. And having a doc that understands that is a blessing.

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