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Arthritis in lower back and finger joints. Treatment?

I'm an active 65-year-old woman. I know I have lower back arthritis, but in the last year or so, I have a pain, mostly in my left leg but more and more in both when I walk. The pain doesn't feel like it's hip pain, but it is on the sides of my thighs right beneath my hips. I can't sit for long periods of time, or I really have pain when I get up. Climbing stairs is also difficult sometimes. I do have arthritis in several finger joints, and I've assumed this is also arthritis. However, sometimes at night If I'm tired, my legs get so uncomfortable even in a recliner that I have to either lie on the couch or go to bed. Even in bed sometimes my thighs are uncomfortable to the point of being painful. I used to swim laps a few times a week and often water walk on other days. I try to walk in a park when I can't get to the pool, but with this leg pain, some days I can't get far. I'm not sure where to turn for help. My doctor knows my financial situation since my divorce is not great, so she hasn't encouraged me to get Xrays, knowing where that may lead. I may have no choice, though, if the pain doesn't improve now that winter is over. Help!
Asked On : Wed, 17 Apr 2013
Answers:  1 Views:  23
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Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement 's  Response
Feb 2014
Hello and Welcome to HCM,
Thanks for writing to us.
Although it isn't possible to diagnose your condition without an examination and a few tests, your history is suggestive of osteoarthritis . Often called wear-and-tear arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. Osteoarthritis treatments can slow the progression of the disease, relieve pain and improve joint function.
I would suggest getting this evaluated by an orthopedician for detailed examination. You may get the X-ray/MRI, some blood tests and joint fluid analysis under his/her guidance to reach the accurate diagnosis.
The following measures will help with the pain
Do regular Exercise. Exercise can increase your endurance and strengthen the muscles around your joint, making your joint more stable. Stick to gentle exercises, such as walking, biking or swimming.
Lose weight if you are obese- Being overweight or obese increases the stress on your weight-bearing joints, such as your knees and your hips. Even a small amount of weight loss can relieve some pressure and reduce your pain.
Use heat and cold to manage pain. Both heat and cold can relieve pain in your joint. Heat also relieves stiffness and cold can relieve muscle spasms.
Apply over-the-counter pain creams. Creams and gels available at the drugstore may provide temporary relief from osteoarthritis pain.
Take diet rich in calcium, vitamin d3 and minerals.
Hope this helps you.
Wishing you good health...
Dr Saurabh Gupta.
Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Answered: Wed, 17 Apr 2013
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