/ Arthritis - Any advice?
Anyway, so far conversations with my GP have pretty much centred on pain management, and it must be said that a handful of codeine certainly makes descent easier, but I'm not sure I'd want to be leading on it. Does anyone have any suggestions about managing arthritis in a climbing context?
Glucosamine, chondroitin, fish oil are all worth looking into.
There's also the option of adjusting your diet towards the "anti inflammatory" recommended diet which basically involves cutting out wheat, gluten, dairy etc, this will also help with weight control.
It's also worth investing in some trekking poles to keep those big crag days going, along with good sturdy footwear.
Lastly, a good physio or chiropractor may be able to get you a bit more movement and make you more comfortable.
Keep at it, don't give up, and push on!!!!!!
Get refered to a Rheumatologist.
The hip, while painful, isn't really a problem in the long run as replacements are fantastic. Knee replacements however aren't anywhere near as successful yet and don't have the same longevity (though I suppose if someone goes from not being able to walk to being able to, then that is a success). So maintaining your own knee for as long as possible is essential. I suppose it all depends on how far along the line you are with your arthritis. Mrs J's right knee has no cartilage at all (the result of a skiing accident/ligament damage 25 years ago that was never treated). For four years now she has injections of a lubricant direct into the joint (3 injections, twice a year). She's able to do everything - without pain - except run (she's a very active trekking guide and a climber) and is in a far better and happier state than four years ago. I know from other people that have tried it that it doesn't work for everybody but it's certainly worth considering.
Brufen or Diclofenic (prescription) or if you can't take them a COX-2 inhibitor (prescription and some health concerns- discuss with GP / specialist clinic and you may find some milage in discussing usage patterns, you might get a greater willingness to prescribe for occasional use to facilitate exercise than for everyday use to manage moderate pain). Much depends on your GP - if you haven't got a sympathetic one won't don't be fobbed off.
Glucosamine I think helps but probably not enough to keep going now you have an actual problem - I think this helps with injuries and long term trends but won't make a big difference on a long climb / walk as you've described.
Other people swear by walking poles to tame descents and definitely consider adapting other kit (boots / rucksac / weight).
Giving up leads to poor fitness and weight gain which really doesn't help.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes swears that cider vinegar has pretty much cured his symptoms - normally I'd dismiss that as old wives' hogwash but, well, he is Sir Ranulph Fiennes...
I'm interested in this anti-inflammatory diet that somebody mentioned - not heard of that before. and what was that about cutting out tomato and mushroom - why?
I could definitely pay more attention to my diet, not least because at the moment there's too much of it. Interesting about the tomatoes and mushrooms - I wonder what that might be about. my partner yesterday mentioned that someone she knew had had great results from cutting marmite out of their diet - Which I have to say would be a wrench in my case.
Anyway, thanks for your replies, they've given me some starting points - I guess we'll see what happens next....
I too have arthritis in one knee since falling out of a tree when 16. Was told I'd have a false knee by the time I was 35. Still going with the same one.
Muscle bulk is your best friend. Strong legs less pain. Insist on seeing a specialist - I was sent 3 years ago to a specialist ostea physio. She gave me exercises to lengthen my shortening leg tendons and strengthen key muscle groups. I now just suffer dull aches on descent, and am a little slower than most.
It depends on the causes what you should do. Be insistent with the doc and get an expert to assess you.
+1 on that.
Also, keep active if you can, for most people lack of movement makes things worse.
Glucosamine and the like have failed to show any benefits in the trials that have been done, but there haven't been that many. Take it by all means, some people claim it helps. I used to, but haven't got any worse since I stopped about 4 years ago.
For a few ideas/inspiration have a look here
When I was diagnosed with artritis I was told to lose weight and get fitter. I did and it has worked to an extent. In the beginning I took a lot of pain killers, particularly diclofenac, but now I only take them when it's really bad.
Poles also help on the steep descents when carrying a lot of weight.
I find the diclofenac helps but i have to be careful and just roll with the punches, if i am on a bad day then i try and take it steady, it's all about finding a balance.
As said above - get referred to the Rheumatology dept by your GP and see what help they can offer.
Actually, a whole bunch of trials have failed to demonstrate any benefit with glucosamine or chondroitin, but don't let that stop you from taking them - just don't buy the cheapest stuff. However, EFA (omega) supplementation is proven to slow onset of osteoarthritis and associated pain; a number of proprietary supplements are available, but it's worth researching hemp oil.
Weight control is very important - not only is fat pro-inflammatory, but every extra ounce you carry is an ounce of pain. I don't personally subscribe to the anti-inflammatory diet theory, but as someone said, at the very least it might help with weight control.
Regularity of exercise is critical - try to avoid sporadic exertion, and in particular weekend exercise syndrome.
Be careful - and very well informed - about using selective Cox-2 inhibitors for pain relief; as an extreme example, look up vioxx. Preferential Cox-2s like Meloxicam can be useful, but tend to be used more in veterinary medicine. Pre-exercise pain relief works MUCH better than post.
Take a multi-modal approach to pain relief - consider non-drug adjuncts like acupuncture or magnets. They may work for you, they may not. But if you try to go drug-free, only persevere if your pain is completely ablated without painkillers; otherwise, use some medicine wisely.
Lastly, do listen to your body: it does have limits to its longevity and endurance. If, after all of the above, it still hurts to come off Tryfan (certainly wrecked my knees last month), you might need to adjust your goals.
Martin (logged in OH's account)
Once again, thanks for all your contributions. I'm a lot better informed than I was this morning - all I was sure of then was that denial didn't seem to be working anymore...
I have an inflammatory arthritis (something not too dissimilar to Rheumatoid), so I know a bit about what you're experiencing.
Have you been given a diagnosis of some sort of osteoarthritis, and he's ruled out an inflammatory disease? I agree with the people above it might be worth getting referred to a Rheumatologist. XRays and MRIs are also worth discussing with your GP to see what bone and soft-tissue damage is in there, they can also test your blood for any signs of raised inflammation. There's some genetic markers for Rheumatoid they can detect, but there's lots of other inflammatory forms that there's no conclusive test (if it's early it might not show up yet as bone damage), so they'll make a diagnosis based on a history, which is why it's a tricky one to diagnose between inflammatory and mechanical (OA) types.
Have a look at the arthritis research website:
for their report on alternative medicines. There's some good information on there.
Poles & strengthening exercises (Pilates / Yoga) are a life-saver.
I take a cox-2 inhibitor - for me, I find it's really well tolerated, much better than long-term use of diclofenac. These are anti-imflammatory though, so I'm not sure if they'd be of use in osteoarthritis. However, OA isn't a side of arthritis I know much about. The arthritis research site is really good if you've not already come across it.
I've an arthritic hip, the pain varies from slight twinges to severe pain. I take ibufren as and when necessary.
In this order:
1. Lose weight.
2. See a physio - I went private rather than through my GP.
3. Keep moving
4. Get a referral to a specialist - if it's bad then you should be offered this anyway from your GP
Can you refer me to some well controlled double blinded studies for that one. What I've read so far is WooWoo.
Well - I have to do something, but the thought of cutting out cheese and flour - I'm assuming pasta is going to be included there - is a pretty scary one - Still, they say the important things in life are always simple and the simple things are always hard - Let's see what happens......
Your arthritis is most likely osteo rather than rheumatoid, so the anti-inflammatory diet will have some benefits, but I suspect it won't fix your problem- highly effective in rheumatoid though (in case you don't know and excuse me if I'm telling you to suck eggs, but rheumatoid is an autoimmune disease and usually affects the smaller joints ie hands and feet, but can cause problems in knees etc and OA is wear and tear- Yours sounds more like OA, but you need to get this confirmed).
Best advice i can give is to reiterate some of the above and try to keep your weight down, lighten your pack as much as you can, strengthen your upper legs, especially the muscles around the knee with lots of squats, lots of core work to stabilise your knee and try to improve your flexibility. Thats always been the advice I've seen given and it worked for me.
Hope this helps.
Thanks - I'm pretty sure it's osteo - I mean it was mentioned by my GP, so that's what it is unless I'm misremembering.
I had thought about squats, but I was afraid they'd just grind the joint down more - I take it that's not a danger?
Hi Ryan - any advice for OA of the fingers (inc. early signs of Heberden's Nodes)? knees and everywhere else seems fine. any tips would be welcome
the hip while painful isnt really a problem as hip replacements are fantastic - I have had arthritis in my hip for some time and although I am very active it is getting worse.
I would like some advice on hip replacemnts. I do some yoga and although I am getting on a bit suppleness or lack of it prevents me from climbing the way I used to. I still have aspirations to climb hard and push myself. I can also still run, swim and cycle although I cannot do these like I used to
I know people who are worse than me. I have a friend who comes on conservation weekends and has had a hip replacement and walks even slower than me. non climber. I also have a climbing friend who climbs no harder than severe. Both these guys have had replacements
what I dont want to do is make things worse and ruin my climbing potential for good
any advice would be really great
It's all about attitude; I'm guessing the two people you know maybe don't really want to push it too much. I followed a rigorous exercise/physio regime after both my operations and was back on the bike after six weeks, climbing regularly after three months. I was constantly surprised at what I could achieve and haven't looked back.
There are several threads on here about this, including one from me when I was trying to decide what type to have (and indeed whether to have it done! Do a search for 'hip replacement'.
Briefly though, at first I wanted a re-surfacing but here in France they don't do it so eventually I went for a THR. It was done in Lyon on 22 November 2010. I was climbing at Buis les Baronnies six weeks later on the 8 January - with the surgeon's blessing. I was back to my regular climbing standard within another six weeks. Now I'm 100% unaware that I've got a replacement. It's absolutely fantastic. You won't regret it and you certainly won't make things worse. They will get worse if you do nothing.
A few thoughts:
It's very difficult to force yourself to go into a hospital and submit yourself to a fairly major (though everyday) operation when you are still relatively mobile (albeit with pain). However, having the op while your muscles are still in good nick hugely reduces the recovery time. If you wait till you can hardly walk then your muscles are going to be in a bad state and getting them back to a normal state will take months instead of weeks.
I don't know about the UK, but I was given a type of hip that is more and more frequently used in France for active people. It's called a double mobility hip and is just about impossible to dislocate which is obviously quite important for a climber. Google 'hanche double mobilité.
Physio is the other key to a quick recovery. It will give you back your ability to make high steps and will prevent you from limping.
Don't mean to keep bumping this, but it's very encouraging to read - once again thanks to everyone for your advice.
Now it is getting bad in most joints.As a child it was my hip.
I think diet and yoga are the best answers to arthritis.
Try cutting out refined foods,dairy products,white sugar,chocolate,tea,coffee,alcohol and red meat.
Makes for a pretty boring life.I find my joints are less painful if I follow the above regime,but now it seems the arthritis is here to stay.
Jumping off hundreds or thousands of times onto bouldering mats will not do hips and knees much good;nor will campus board training or one arm pull up training.
Try flax seed oil and cod liver oil.
Yeah - I suspect running in boots with a rucksack on my back might have played a part in destroying my knees. They've been this bad before though and gone into remission, for want of a better word, so I'm hoping that some improvement is still possible.
That's absolutely typical of arthritis, going through periods calm and then flaring up.
I'll check that out - thanks
> I think diet and yoga are the best answers to arthritis.
> Try cutting out refined foods,dairy products,white sugar,chocolate,tea,coffee,alcohol and red meat.
Not sure how much truth there is in it but I've heard that cutting out wheat can help too.
One word - cycling!
So - let's see if I have this right: Cutting out wheat, tomatoes and cheese [dairy] is going to help.....
Can anyone see a way to sneak lasagne past that? I think I'm going to cry :(
Seriously though, thanks....
I guess the only solace is that if it helps to reduce the symptoms of arthritis then it's worth a try? My brother's taken a similar diet-based approach (in his case ultra low saturated fat began plus fish) to address the onset of multiple sclerosis.
Sorry to hear about your brother :( - and yes, definitely worth a try, just typical of me to leave things 'til the last possible minute, and to want my cake and eat it too - or in this case not....
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