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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: MaryW
Date: 05-11-2006, 09:27 AM (1 of 12)
I have been having a lot of pain lately in my right knee and elbow. After xrays (which showed nothing) the dr. said he suspects early osteo arthritis. Is this the same as osteoporosis? One of those really basic questions that I didn't ask. :sad:

Now, my wrists have been playing havoc, I think I am falling apart. Anyway, exercises were recommended and I have been doing them. Just my little rant for the day. Who is it that said "getting old is NOT for sissies."
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: Kaitlinnegan
Date: 05-11-2006, 09:59 AM (2 of 12)
If you don't mind me posting in the "Middle Age Spread" topic (hey, I am experiencing some "Quarter Age Spread"!) -- osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are pretty different. Osteoporosis is when your bones start breaking down and are more prone to fracture. This is what you hear about when people fall and break a hip -- interestingly, I heard that they think sometimes the hip breaks first and causes the fall, although this is very difficult to sort out. Osteoarthritis, in my rudimentary understanding, is when the bone kind of starts growing out into the joints, making movement at the joints very painful. They have probably prescribed you some pain relievers drugs to help with the pain and increase your mobility. Anyway, hope this helped somewhat. Sorry to hear you've been having pain -- I hope you're feeling better soon! - the new home for Sew What's New
User: Kaitlinnegan
Member since: 03-20-2006
Total posts: 222
From: SummersEchos
Date: 05-11-2006, 01:09 PM (3 of 12)
A friend of mine has this in her knees. She told me it was a common form of arthritis. She has pig fat injection done twice a year, and says it does wonders for her.

User: SummersEchos
Member since: 09-29-2004
Total posts: 884
From: HeyJudee
Date: 05-11-2006, 07:15 PM (4 of 12)
Mary, join the crowd...I have osteoarthritis in the base joint of my left thumb - next to wrist. The orthopedic surgeon says I also have shortening tendons which is gradually pulling my thumb of my hand...which means I will eventually I lose the use of my thumb. He explains osteoarthritis as the cartilage between the joints wearing out and then the bones rub together which causes the pain. Here is an explanation of osteoarthritis (

Since we are talking about health issues, last week I found this Canadian site on health ( that may be of interest.
TTFN from
User: HeyJudee
Member since: 01-25-2005
Total posts: 1366
From: Sancin
Date: 05-11-2006, 07:46 PM (5 of 12)
Mary, Mary, Mary, where do I start! Osteoporosis has been well explained except that the bones break as calcium loss leaves the bones porous. So here goes with osteoarthritis which I am riddled with. OA is also referred to as 'wear and tear arthritis' or 'degenerative joint disease'. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis it is not a generalized condition that affects other parts of the body. Doctors tend to like the RA stuff because there is a lot of biology and chemistry to it and don't like OA as there is not a lot drugs that stop the process and cutting doesn't always work, except in joint replacement. If you do a web search for the American, Canadian and British Arthritis Societies sites you can get a lot of objective information. If you go to treatment sites or listen to friends you get a lot of stories and myths. Basically the cartilage that surrounds the ends of each bone in the body (like ends of chicken or beef joints) to give them a smooth surface when rubbing together in moving starts to degenerate, sometimes from previous damage (maybe unknown thus often confused with normal aging process) or as in my case due to a family genetic disorder. As these bone ends get rougher the bone compresses causing little bits of bones to 'extrude' from the bones to the sides causing bony 'spurs'. These spurs rub on the surrounding tendons and muscles causing inflammation, muscle spasms and thus pain. The spurs can also lead to limited motion in the joint and if severe enough to total immobility in that joint - like brakes on a car. Immobility can also be caused when the muscles are not used (d/t pain or intention) and become fibrosed aka hardened or frozen around a joint thus locking it. Many people do not move d/t the pain which tends to make it worse yet one needs to keep the muscles strong and limber by moving. With RA one should rest the joints to prevent the inflammation process from leaving 'junk' in the joint and causing the whole joint to disintegrate and worsen inflammation in other parts of the body, like the heart and kidneys.

Many people are not told which type of arthritis they have, or worse yet, think it is part of aging and do not seek assistance. Essentially OA is the leading cause in the world of chronic pain. When looking for assistance on line check out the chronic pain sites as well as arthritic and rheumatoid sites. The treatment most physicians order are anti inflammatory drugs (aspirin or NSAIDS - non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs - naprosyn, advil, indocid, diclofenac, etc) to lesson the muscle inflammation and thus supposedly pain. Gentle exercise is also essential. I and many others find that complementary health treatments also help - applications of heat or cold, TENS, exercise - general and specific - prescribed by physio's, acupuncture, Therapeutic and Healing Touch, etc. I personally find that visualization and meditation is the best for me, but also have acupuncture and massage therapy and as my shoulder is in a flare up right now I am off to a physio tomorrow. Cortisone injections as Summer Echo's mentions are sometimes used, but with caution as the needling process can break down the joint even more, thus only 2x per year recommended. Cortisone is a strong natural anti inflammatory. I had some 2 weeks ago in my shoulder joint and it did nothing to relieve the pain, which is terrific when I move or lift anything.

The joints most commonly affected are the knee's (THE MOST), hips and lower and cervical vertebra - with the knees and hips frequently replaced with synthetic joints. Also affected, in case of old injury, anywhere the injury was or above or below it. Not everyone has everyone of these joints affected. It is usually on one side only, but I sure seem to have it on both sides. Finger and sometimes toe joints are affected. My hands are very ugly with nobs on all finger tip joints causing my fingers to look not straight and are clumsy. There is not usually pain in those joints but other finger and toe joints can be painful. RA affected individual hand have the fingers actually deviating away from the thumb at the joints closest to the palm. The small bones in my feet have changed leading to flat feet, hammer toe, and an overlapping toe. I wear orthotics for this, but my brother only has foot pain and falling arches. He is going to get orthotics which should help him.

An interesting or not bit of fact is that pain is not a true reflection of degree of joint degeneration. Some people rarely have pain and have a lot of joint destruction and others have little destruction and a lot of pain, supposedly due to pain tolerance, pain substance (new theory) and general muscle strength and movement. I am surprised that your Xrays do not show anything as they are usually the clearest diagnosis (blood work if RA), but a lot depends on where the 'spurs are' and how skillful the Xray reader is.

Personally I have found that developing an attitude about chronic pain is the best management. Have to admit that 'some days are diamonds and some days are stone' - and they do feel like stone - and go with the flow. Somethings will have to stop being part of your life. I mourn long walks d/t my back degeneration, yet have adapted in driving with pillows and height of seats, like in sewing. Heat and cold applications are as old as dirt and work. Liniments have also been used for centuries. Capaisin (hot pepper) liniment is thought to absorbed and affect the 'pain substance' over a period of time and sometime the menthol type of liniments work.

Oooh K - overwhelmed? Good luck, Mary and others. To quote my father, 'its a great life if you live it!'
*~*~*~* Nancy*~*~*~* " I try to take one day at a time - but sometimes several days attack me at once."
User: Sancin
Member since: 02-13-2005
Total posts: 895
From: Chrysantha
Date: 05-12-2006, 12:08 AM (6 of 12)
Osteoporosis is also most commom in women who are white, blonde, of nordic descent, take birth control pills (for many yrs), smoke and have LOTS of children, don't drink or eat dairy.

Usually after 35 women start to lose bone mass, due to age and all the other factors stated above. You can get a bone density test done. (you lay on a table and x-rays are done from the 'back/bottom'.) It takes about 15 mins.
Usually the results are 'minus' (whatever), and the Dr will give you calcium suppliments. (if you need them.)

I different..(yeah like you all didn't know that already.) My tests came back as a +6..which means I'm making new bone, instead of losing any. (which my Dr's are mystified at...) I'm a milk drinker, I like cheese and ice cream, never smoked, no birth crontol pills and no kids. So I'm not likely to break a bone. (in fact I've never had a broken bone.)

My mother on the other hand, didn't like dairy, had 3 kids and 4 yrs before she died, broke her arm and it never healed. (osteoporosis) She smoked too.
Some times it runs in families and sometimes it doesn't. My grandmother (my mothers mother) didn't have it.
User: Chrysantha
Member since: 09-06-2002
Total posts: 2414
From: allie-oops
Date: 05-12-2006, 03:30 PM (7 of 12)
Mary, I have severe spinal osteo arthritis. KEEP EXERCISING. When you stop moving, you won't be able to start again. Mine wasn't diagnosed until it was REALLY bad, due to not having insurance, and I have [in addition to the severe arthritis] severe nerve damage. I made the mistake of not moving when it was hurting, and I'm so sorry now.

It's in my feet, knees, everywhere. The only exercise I can do is my neck exercises from PT, and riding a recumbent exercise bike. I can't walk any distance, as I limp on both feet and it throws my back out further. Swim if you can, it's one of the best exercises. FIGHT that pain, don't let it stop you! I do my exercises religiously now, and it does help - exercising causes your body to release endorphins, nature's pain killers. It also does wonders in elevating my MOOD, so that I'm better able to handle the constant pain. And that is something you need to be careful with, as chronic pain causes severe depression! I do not want to live my life with depression. I'm only 47, and I plan on keeping moving til I die.

I would also advise you to research on your own, and get another opinion. I agree that x-rays are the best diagnostic tool, and should have showed something. Another huge cause of joint pain is undiagnosed allergies, especially food allergies, and I have found a link between things I eat and my pain. You may want to keep a food diary for awhile to see if you notice a correlation.
Hugs and prayers,
"onward through the fog"
User: allie-oops
Member since: 10-25-2002
Total posts: 282
From: Magot
Date: 05-12-2006, 04:23 PM (8 of 12)
my elbow pain is tentatively called 'tennis elbow', the knees and hips - oopps wearing out! However I still cycle,knit and run up and down stairs all day. Weight bearing excercise is essential to prevent or counter osteoporosis and excercise is needed to keep the joints moving in osteo arthritis. So no slacking!

Always knew you had a thick skull Chrys - now you have the diagnosis to prove it!
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: Chrysantha
Date: 05-12-2006, 08:42 PM (9 of 12)
by thick skull you mean 'fat head' ??? hhhhmmmmm...... :shock:
:dave: :dave: :dave:

yer just jealous.... :wink:
User: Chrysantha
Member since: 09-06-2002
Total posts: 2414
From: Sancin
Date: 05-12-2006, 09:27 PM (10 of 12)
I different..(yeah like you all didn't know that already.) My tests came back as a +6..which means I'm making new bone, instead of losing any. (which my Dr's are mystified at...) I'm a milk drinker, I like cheese and ice cream, never smoked, no birth crontol pills and no kids. So I'm not likely to break a bone. (in fact I've never had a broken bone.)

OP is also more common in thin women, Chrys. Estrogen is stored in fat cells and estrogen is necessary for the formation and integrity of bone. Didn't you mention you had unusual estrogen history? This is probably why you are now making bone! :wink: And fatso's like me, with my body shape, rarely have osteoporosis.

The truth of the matter is that while I have osteoarthritis I really wouldn't want to exchange for osteoporosis. Both are the pits!

Allie oops - not so funny, but d/t my back degeneration I cannot ride any bike - hearing you talk about it sends spasms down my back thinking of the last time I tried!! Just goes to show everyone is different and everyone has to find their own path - but move while finding it :sick:
*~*~*~* Nancy*~*~*~* " I try to take one day at a time - but sometimes several days attack me at once."
User: Sancin
Member since: 02-13-2005
Total posts: 895
From: Longblades
Date: 07-12-2006, 09:19 PM (11 of 12)
What about Chondroitin with Glucosamine Sancin? DH, poochie-girl and I all take that. We can see a real difference in the dog. I believe I read that it is proved to stimulate production of sinovial (sp?) fluid and cartilege if the OA is not too far advanced to begin with. That was a couple of years ago though, and reports on how these things work seem to constantly be revised. One new thing I've heard, and read about on the net, is a link to diabetes due to raised glucose levels.
User: Longblades
Member since: 07-14-2005
Total posts: 182
From: plrlegal
Date: 07-26-2006, 11:48 AM (12 of 12)
Speaking of osteoporosis -- my bone scan this time came back with very positive results. I have been on Fosamax (prescription calcium bone builder) for a year now and apparently it is working. My bone scan this time showed a 10% increase in bone density in my upper spine and 4% increase in my left hip. So, if caught in time, bone loss apparently can be stopped. DH and I also take the Chondroitin with Glucosamine plus MSM every day.

User: plrlegal
Member since: 05-19-2001
Total posts: 318
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