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X-ray showing osteoarthritis. Suffer from severe lower back pain. Need surgery? On norspan, celebrex and lyrica

Feb 2014
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Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 5930 Questions
I have been referred to see an Orthopaedic doctor in a few weeks time. This is because I have had chronic lower back pain for several months now, however, the pain has been creeping up for many years. X-rays have shown that I have Osteoarthritis, a trapped nerve in the spine is yet to be determined. The pain travels across my hips region and down my legs, yet only as far as below my knees, on odd occassions it travels halfway down my calves, strange! I am a little worried that the doctor is going to advise an operation as my Brother had the same symptoms and Osteoarthritis and when he woke up from operation he found he had a "floppy foot", it appears the trapped nerve had been damaged for too long and is now disabled, also had to have his car modified to enable him to drive. I'm in two minds as to what to do, do I have an operation or continue to take pain-killers for the rest of my life. The medicationn I'm on now is Norspan (10mg), Celebrex, Lyrica and Panadene Forte, of course a couple of these meds have taken their toll on my bowels. The pain in my lower back is disabling and I keep getting "break through" pain from the meds anyway. My Brother has suggested I have an MRI but then, the surgeon may suggest this anyway. Also, is there a medication that I could take that would be better for the pain.......Can you help me with the ins and outs of taking the risk with an operation. Thank you. XXXXXX
Posted Mon, 8 Apr 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 3 hours later
Hi and welcome to XXXXXXX
Thanks for posting your query.

From description it seems you are suffering from osteoarthritis with degenerative disc disease. Due to this bulge of disc occurs and it causes pressure over nerve roots. This is the cause of your pain radiating to hip, knees and legs.

I advice you to go for MRI so that exact diagnosis can be made.

If on MRI if the pressure over nerve root is due to disc bulge, discectomy is a surgical option.

Nowadays it is done through microscope (microdiscectomy). It is quite safe procedure.

But at present I suggest you to consult a physiotherapist for good physiotherapy of back in form of back extension exercises, intermittent lumbar traction and TENS theraphy. This will ease the pain.

Hope this will help you. Please do write back if you have any additional concerns.

Wishing you good health...

Dr Saurabh Gupta.
Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: X-ray showing osteoarthritis. Suffer from severe lower back pain. Need surgery? On norspan, celebrex and lyrica 8 hours later
Thank you for your reply. Just read the report on the X-ray I had done and it said: Significant scoliosis noted over the lumbar spine with degenerative disc disease. I will go to my local GP and ask her if I can have an MRI now so that I will have these x-rays to take to my Orthopaedic Doctor in May, I will also ask her for the name of a Physiotherapist. I have lived in a Rural area since retirement 2 years ago so most of the surgeons and other XXXXXXX providers just visit here from Adelaide....Some years ago I slipped on some grapes in a supermarket and hurt my right foot and knee, is it possible that my back problem could be the course of the ongoing pain in my right knee and right foot?
.......Now for another question. I am following in my Mothers footsteps with the Osteoarthritis and have swelling of the joints in both hands, the right hand is more significant with a great deal of pain and my fingures are now beginning to look "wind swept" and bent and can hardly close my fingures, the knuckles are swollen also. Is there an operation that would fix this problem. My life is my gardening but of late I have not only had the problem of pain in my back but also of my hands, plus the knee and foot! so unable to do any gardening. Can you advise me please. Thank you XXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 22 hours later
Thanks for posting your query again.

Your back problem could be the course of ongoing pain in your right knee and right foot.
Your hand pain and deformity seems to be due to degenerative arthritis.
If the deformity is more , it can be corrected by corrective osteotomies.
The following measures will help with your back pain
• Lie on a hard bed.
• Anti -inflammatory drugs like Tablet Motrin 1 tablet as and when required ( do not repeat a dose before 6 hours) with food will help relieve the pain.
• Avoid forward bending.
• Correct your posture while sitting
• Avoid prolonged sitting
• Avoid strenuous activity & lifting heavy weights.
• Apply diclofenac gel on the affected area. Warm compresses will also help.

I would also like to give some advice to make the life better and to fight with these joints pains-

Do regular physiotherapy of joints.
Hot fomentation to decrease the joint stiffness
Hot bath of Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate)-Magnesium has both anti-inflammatory and anti- arthritic properties and it can be absorbed through the skin.

Hope this will help you.

Wishing you good health...

Dr Saurabh Gupta.
Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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