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Posted in: Sciatica, and Spondylosis.

Spinal osteoarthritis with severe leg pain

Started by hlwilson on 08/19/2010 1:54pm

I am a 30 yr old female who has just been diagnosed with spinal osteoarthritis. I am expericencing severe leg pain that starts in my butt and radiates down my right leg all the way to my foot. I have had intermitent tingling in my calf and foot. The pain is worst when first standing or getting out of a car. It is so bad it takes my breath away and i have to wait a minute before i am able to walk. Sitting and driving are also painful but bearable. Once i am standing and walking the pain is less intense but i do have a slight limp from the pain. These symptoms are what prompted my primary to order a lumbar x-ray and thus come up with the diagnosis. All the information i have read about spinal osteoarthritis mentions nothing of severe leg pain associated with it. It also says that aging, weight, injury and occupation are contributing causes. I have also read that by the time you start experiencing symptoms you have already has arthritis for a while. It is not an acute condition. I wouldn't consider 30 advanced age and i am not overweight. I work in a dental office and have never had any type of back injury so it seems to me I wouldn't be a likely sufferer of arthritis. Misdiagnosis? Any opinions?

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No unfortunately I think your diagnosis is correct. Mine started about 10 years ago and I have exactly the same symptoms as you. I cant walk far and have to use a stick. I have a limp and just have to manage the pain with medication and gentle exercise. I wasn't diagnosed until May this year when the pain became too unbearable to put up with. I am 47 now so mine started when I was about 37. It is a disabling condition but you just have to keep going. As you probably are aware, the more you rest and stop moving around, the worse it gets. I didn't have any kind of back injury but the doctor did say that in my case it was probably hereditary. I hope it is a misdiagnosis but unfortunately it sounds very much like it to me. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Keep your chin up.

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HLWilson - Your symptoms are exactly the same as mine. As the day wears on, my pain becomes more intense. I have "accelerated spondalytic arthritis", plus two herniated disks in my neck and a bulging disk at L3-L4. The bulging disk presses on my sciatic nerve which causes the pain that you feel running from your butt to your foot. When it is really bad, it goes through my heel. I believe the arthritis started with 20+ years of martial arts. A car accident caused an annular ligament tear at L3-L4 which is allowing the disk to bulge. The pain is constant, but worse as the day wears on and my disks become more compressed. I have had PT, Chiropractic treatment, trigger point injections, and epidural injections. The pain continues. I am too young (43) to have to give up walking and hiking. I know the karate days are over and I am fine with that, but to be free of the constant pain would be wonderful. I take every natural anti-inflammatory supplement that I can, I also take 400-800mg of ibuprofen and .5 mg of xanax (for muscle spasms) every day. I am tired of this. I hope that you find answers. It is possible that a chiropractor could help relieve your pain if the disk isn't too bad. I had been helped before. After being rear ended by an '86 Buick, not a whole lot can help me...

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I'm sorry to hear about your pain. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a form of natural aging arthritis, and will be visible on x-ray for the majority of the population age 30+ (everyone has it but it takes a certain level of calcification to be able to see it on the x-ray). OA by itself is completely normal, what we like to evaluate is the level of arthritis for a given age range (taking into account any previous injuries which may explain any accelerated arthritis) and one thing that we do know is that OA all by itself is not painful. The thing that causes pain is the resulting inflammation and imbalances that can develop in the joints, ligaments, and muscles. The leg pain can be any number of things at this point, and it would take an evaluation to determine the exact cause (I recommend finding a good chiropractor in the area to evaluate you, as this is one area where we specialize) but it does not sound like a true symptom of the arthritis. You likely have irritation of your SI joints and the surrounding musculature which may be irritating the Sciatic nerve to some degree. These are all very treatable and you should do very well with conservative care. One treatment i have found very beneficial when combined with chiropractic care is called the Graston Technique. Do some research on this and find a Chiropractor in your area who is certified.
www.DrBaroneChiropractic.com

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first let me say i am sorry to learn about all your pain i am so sorry,i too have very high levels of pain ,bulging discs in my neck and osteroarthris in my back and hips plus osteroprosis,i have very bad pain that goes down from my hip to my feet and pain from my shoulder to my hand which is the worst part of all my pain i have had lots of scans mri scans and ct scans it goes on and on ,just wish docs could do more for my pains other than give me meds thankyou for listening

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I had 2 laminectomies at L4-L5 with arthritis building but no biggie. I was working and doing fine. Every now and then I had to do an IBProfin 800 mg for inflammation. A bottle of 30 pills could last a year. Then I had an injury of an attack dog attacking mine and tried to keep him from being murdered. My dog was torn that he had to be put to sleep and it made my spine go crazy with arthritis. What you are feeling is nerve damage. I have to take Gabapentin and it does calm it. I also take Xanax or Zanex for anxiety; which seems to worsen the pain. And of course there is the pain pills. I go from sitting to laying to standing and some walking. It is constant all day long. Activities like bathing and going to the store are very difficult and the pain sometimes has me panting like I am in child birth. Steroid injections can only be given 4x per year. It changes the pain from stabbing to throbbing; which is much easier to deal with after the week of pressure from it wears off. The shot seems to work well for about a month. I have been using Triamcinalone Cream on my legs and feet and keeping my feet wrapped in a heating pad. I had heard when a person dies, their feet go first. So with the pain being so difficult to control, it does help. Stair are something to stay away from. A back, neck and arm brace can help with pain in holding those areas steady. I was told when the pain gets too much, Hospice can be called in. That is where they start you on a morphine drip that within 6 months starts shutting down your organs so you can die out of pain and with dignity. I have heard the other two options is going out of one's mind because of the pain and being institutionalize and/or killing oneself. Not a whole lot to look forward to. Just trying to handle it a bit at a time. Not a fun thing to have.

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