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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Suggest remedy for joint stiffness and back pain

Answered by
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Dr. Karl Logan

Orthopaedic Surgeon

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 705 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 3 Nov 2015 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: I am 00 years old. In the last few months, I have found increasing difficulty getting up out of a chair and walking other than a short distance. While able to move around in my office/at home, I cannot go any length on foot. I try to sit properly having an ergonomic cushion on my desk chair to support my lower back when working on my computer. Lying down is not an issue and am able to get up and recline back at night generally once with little difficulty. I only experience occasional pain but have a feeling of stiffness/tightness when sitting and walking. I'm becoming concerned going to the likes of a shopping centre, market etc in case I lock up and can't get back to my car to return home. Have a longstanding whiplash injury for which I received hyperbaric treatment about 8 years ago after a fall. What to do in the first instance please?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Karl Logan 5 hours later
Brief Answer:
Hi Thanks for your question

Detailed Answer:
To help answer your question I need some further information.

Do you feel the stiffness in all of your joints or just one particular joint / area?

Are you stiffer in the morning when you get our of bed or towards the end of the day?

Do you have any pain at all and if you do where is it and what does it feel like?

Thanks


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Neel Kudchadkar
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Follow up: Dr. Karl Logan 32 hours later
The stiffness of concern I'm experiencing is in my lower back making it distressing to have to get up & down, to bend to pick up things at floor level and to reach forward to move/pick up items. Holding items between my right thumb and forefinger is difficult enough as I have arthritis and I cannot maintain the grip and often drop what I've grasped but that's another matter. I've been recommended to have an operation to remove a bone at the base of my thumb which I'm planning to do soon. So, my worry is my lower back as it's affecting my mobility. I need a pointer to what the problem may be so that I can plan to suit. Do I need an MRI to determine what the problem may be if physical?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Karl Logan 18 hours later
Brief Answer:
Trapeziometacarpal osteoarthritis and back pain.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

thanks for the information.

I'm sorry to hear you are having so much trouble with your hand and back.

The problem in your hand is very common and called trapeziometacarpal osteoarthritis. This is one of the commonest locations to get arthritis. The operation that you are waiting for is a trapezectomy which is an excellent operation to get rid of the pain you are experiencing, however it takes approximately 3 months before you start feeling real benefit from the surgery. In the mean time a soft splint that wraps around your wrist and protects your thumb can help as well as antiinflammtory medication if you can take it (you could check this with your family dr).

This stiffness in your lower back sounds disabling. Lower back pain is very common and can often be helped with antiinflammatory medication (if you can take it), massage and physiotherapy. If despite these measures your pain is ongoing then an Xray of your lower back may show some of the problems that are leading to your symptoms. In the abscence of any leg pain (sciatica), weakness or numbness then it is unlikely that any surgery will be of benefit although with Xrays of your lower back a specialist could counsel you with regard to this. If you do have pain that seems consistent with nerve entrapment or have claudicant symptoms in your legs (calf pain on walking which resolves on resting) then an MRI scan may be indicated.

I hope this answers your questions.

Best wishes


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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Follow up: Dr. Karl Logan 31 hours later
Many thanks - would I have to have a general anaesthetic for the trapezectomy?
Regards
doctor
Answered by Dr. Karl Logan 3 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Usually done under general anaesthesia

Detailed Answer:
hi,

thanks for the follow up question

Usully yes you would need a general anaesthetic although it may be possible to use a brachial plexus block or a briers block and for you to be awake.

best wishes
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Sonia Raina
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