RA and back pain

Jules Community Member August 05, 2008
  • From what I've read and heard, RA mostly affects the "small joints".  SO, I am wondering if the TERRIBLE lower back and hip pain I have is RA related.  I have never injured my back, and have had an office type job my whole adult life.  I had an MRI of my spine 2 years ago when they thought my RA was MS and my spine was normal.  A regular Xray showed a "bone spur" and normal Osteoarthritus prior to being diagnosed with RA.  I had gone to an alternative Doctor who was also a Chiropractor to the tune of over $5K my back was better, my RA was worse and the "supplements" were exspensive and not helping, so I stopped going.  Now, the back pain is back and horrible...so I am now wondering...the RA in hands, feet, knees has gotten so much worse of late, could the lower back now just be part of the RA kicking in???  Also thinking that just maybe my back gets bad when my feet and knees get bade because I walk or shall I say "limp" wierd and throw my back off balance??  Anyone else have back issues that are RA related?  What do you all think of seeing a Chiropractor, does it help for RA related back pain?

     

    On another note...I am so grateful to have found this site.  I have so enjoyed the posts by Amy and Lene and everyone else too.  What a relief to have this outlet and support.  Thank you all!

     

     

16 Comments
  • schaaf1981
    Oct. 07, 2014

    I too suffer with low back and bilateral hip pain. I have had RA for about 15 years. 

  • Anonymous
    Pat
    Mar. 18, 2012

    I was diagnosed with RA about 5 years ago. It started in my back and legs about 15 years ago. The symptoms would come and go at first, also shingles on one side of the spine and then on both. First it was just my right leg, then after a couple of years it was both. I had MRI's, CT's they ran the gamut. I had a neurologist, who done nerve tests, I also have...

    RHMLucky777

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    I was diagnosed with RA about 5 years ago. It started in my back and legs about 15 years ago. The symptoms would come and go at first, also shingles on one side of the spine and then on both. First it was just my right leg, then after a couple of years it was both. I had MRI's, CT's they ran the gamut. I had a neurologist, who done nerve tests, I also have nerve damage in both legs, mostly the ankles and feet, due to multiple trauma when I was between 15 and 25. I had narcotics to begin with (lortab) but, finally the neurologist sent me to an ortho surgeon who told me at the age of 49: you have the worst case of DDD due to trauma, and RA in your lower back I have ever seen in someone your age. YOU don't want ME to do surgery and I don't want too. I would hate to be you 10 years from now." I had ESI's in my spine, and they really helped. I could at least get out of bed in the mornings. It seems now, at the age of 53 that it is not so bad, but I just read that RA can go into remission, but it ALWAYS comes back. I have pain everyday, some days worse than others, it is now moving to my knees and ankles. But, I try to control my weight, and "baby" my back, I have been in less pain the past year, but I know the day will come, when it's BACK. God Bless You. But, I have more good days than bad right now. And I cherish each one of them.

  • Anonymous
    mam4
    Feb. 02, 2011

    I HAD BACK SURGERY IN 2004 AND SINCE THEN IV HAD LUMPS ON OUTSIDE OF SPINE ITS LIKE A CLUSTER OF THREE. WONDERING IF IT LUMP FROM R.A. VERY PAINFUL. HAD R.A. SINCE 2003. ANY HELP WOULD BE HELPFUL.

  • dmarkle
    Jan. 14, 2011

    Hi hun, I am 26 yrs old and I have had lower back pain for the last two years.  Not just an aching but so much pain to keep me from functioning normally.  I finally ended up in the hospitial because of it and it was diagnosed as RA.  I have pain in my hands and wrists and neck but no where else.  My docotor explained to me that RA can effect...

    RHMLucky777

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    Hi hun, I am 26 yrs old and I have had lower back pain for the last two years.  Not just an aching but so much pain to keep me from functioning normally.  I finally ended up in the hospitial because of it and it was diagnosed as RA.  I have pain in my hands and wrists and neck but no where else.  My docotor explained to me that RA can effect everyone differently, in my it decided to attack my back.  I feel so disabled and not one treatment has worked so far.  I would rather have small joint pain than to feel like I am 60yrs old and can barely get around my house.  I am married with five kids and it is hard to think about our future and everything that I am going to miss because of my pain.

    • melissa branz
      Mar. 17, 2014

      This is exactly how I feel I to am only 26 yrs old I am in the process of physical therapy and I had xrays and ct scans and mris and nothing so the dr put me in pt and honestly it is making it worse and I spoke with the therapists she told me to talk to my dr because I also have been having pain in mu neck wrists and knees since I was 16 and when I talked to...

      RHMLucky777

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      This is exactly how I feel I to am only 26 yrs old I am in the process of physical therapy and I had xrays and ct scans and mris and nothing so the dr put me in pt and honestly it is making it worse and I spoke with the therapists she told me to talk to my dr because I also have been having pain in mu neck wrists and knees since I was 16 and when I talked to my dr she said I show no signs of ra I have 3 children my oungest is two and I can not even bend to pick him up so I don't know I feel like I need a second opinion what do you think?

  • Anonymous
    ann
    Sep. 07, 2008

    When I started reading your story it sounded alot like what I went through 20 yrs ago. I will be 46 this month and I have severe RA, 1st back surgery 21 yrs ago then 8yrs later neck surgery then about 5yrs later major back surgery that took 17 hours to complete.  The reason I mention all of this is because I also had all the problem you talk about...I...

    RHMLucky777

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    When I started reading your story it sounded alot like what I went through 20 yrs ago. I will be 46 this month and I have severe RA, 1st back surgery 21 yrs ago then 8yrs later neck surgery then about 5yrs later major back surgery that took 17 hours to complete.  The reason I mention all of this is because I also had all the problem you talk about...I too saw a ciropractor....long story and I don't want to offend anyone.  You are correct about your back going out of wack because your feet and or knees hurt.  When you are not properly standing you are putting alot of strain on your back....also if you are not at your ideal weight that only will emphasize the problem.  I still struggle with RA.  I take 8 methotrexlate a week, 2 plaqunil a day and an injection of Humiria once a week verse once everyother week, folic acid, Vit D, G&C.  The one thing you shoud know is that there is alot of info out there for you.  I wish I had the internet back then....however I did get by.  
    There is a DVD that I just love that is very low impact.  It is called Walk away the pounds by Leslie Sansone.  Not sure of the spelling of her last name...anyways I think it is wonderful...It is so easy and gives you tons of energy and truly makes you strong in every sense of the word.  When you are strong in body and mind its amazing what we are capable of doing.  Best of luck to you....I truly hope you find the answers you are looking for.  Ann

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous
      Oct. 15, 2009

      I was diagnosed with RA 6 years ago.The 1st medication that the Rheumatologist prescribed was Embril.I now am getting Remacade infusions along with Methatrexate(5 weekly)and folic acid. Recently,my LS Spine started KILLING me.I thought it was my hip,but the doc.keeps saying it's because  the back pain is radiating down my leg.THEN, one visit I end up seeing...

      RHMLucky777

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      I was diagnosed with RA 6 years ago.The 1st medication that the Rheumatologist prescribed was Embril.I now am getting Remacade infusions along with Methatrexate(5 weekly)and folic acid. Recently,my LS Spine started KILLING me.I thought it was my hip,but the doc.keeps saying it's because  the back pain is radiating down my leg.THEN, one visit I end up seeing the nurse pract.because the dr. was stuck in the OR and she says it's bursitis and gives me an injection of steroids in the hip.It is still rediculously painful,I can't sleep at night and I am going out of my mind.I saw the Dr. today and he wants to do an LESI(the steroid inj.with live xray right into the spine.It is so confusing!!!!

      I just want some refief without narcotics.

      The Ra is better with the Remacade-still the feet,ankles,elbows and hands,but nothing like it was .The AM is the worst.Just had to complain to someone who understands.

      I feel like I am 100 years old some days!I want my life back.

    • Anonymous
      Ann Worden
      Oct. 15, 2009

      I have question for you.....you mentioned that you had pain going down your leg....which leg?  The right or the left?  Have any of your Doctors recommended an MRI to see what is going on with your back?

    • Anonymous
      Susan
      Oct. 15, 2009

      It is bilateral ,but most prominent on the left side.I had the Epidural today.It wasn't too bad.My problem is that I was an OR nurse for 25 years so I always think the worst.(I never just have a headache,I think I have a brain tumor!)

      My husband has been very ill for 7 years (cancer) so I realy have been focused on him.

      The Ortho guy today said if i do not...

      RHMLucky777

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      It is bilateral ,but most prominent on the left side.I had the Epidural today.It wasn't too bad.My problem is that I was an OR nurse for 25 years so I always think the worst.(I never just have a headache,I think I have a brain tumor!)

      My husband has been very ill for 7 years (cancer) so I realy have been focused on him.

      The Ortho guy today said if i do not get results after 2 epidurals he will order an MRI.

      Thanks for responding.

    • Anonymous
      Ann
      Oct. 15, 2009

      I pray you find the answers your looking for.  I found it to be the hardest when I did not have the answers.  Once you have the answers.....and hopefully you have a great doctor.....(working in the hospital I'm sure you know the difference between the good ones and the great ones and can choose accordingly).....

       

      Whatever you do or have your...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I pray you find the answers your looking for.  I found it to be the hardest when I did not have the answers.  Once you have the answers.....and hopefully you have a great doctor.....(working in the hospital I'm sure you know the difference between the good ones and the great ones and can choose accordingly).....

       

      Whatever you do or have your doctors do remember once they've completed their job it will be up to you to do yours....meaning that you need to be aggressive in your recovery and do what it takes to get well.  It sounds as if you have alot on your plate.  God Bless you and your husband during these trying and difficult times.  It won't be easy. Sometimes you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

       

      May God's love and light shine on you and your family always,

      Ann

    • Anonymous
      MsNikki
      Jan. 05, 2010

      I too am suffering from the same symptoms that you all are having. I was having severe lower back pain that also passes up and down my left leg. I went to the doctor and she then sent me to a orthopedic doc and got blood work done. When the blood work came back it was said that I have RA and I was refered to a RA specialist. I suggest that anyone having the...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I too am suffering from the same symptoms that you all are having. I was having severe lower back pain that also passes up and down my left leg. I went to the doctor and she then sent me to a orthopedic doc and got blood work done. When the blood work came back it was said that I have RA and I was refered to a RA specialist. I suggest that anyone having the symptoms I am having go get blood work done asap. I am 25 years old and never thought that I would have something as bad as this.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous
      Jun. 16, 2010

      Hi I have R.A. and it is very serve I have middle back pain and my spine is starting to turn it cause alot of pain and I not sure what doctors you are seeing I seen a few and they all say the same thing to me it is the R.A. that is doing it and it will also cruve your neck bone in this is a normal thing from what I understand the Meds will only slow it down...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi I have R.A. and it is very serve I have middle back pain and my spine is starting to turn it cause alot of pain and I not sure what doctors you are seeing I seen a few and they all say the same thing to me it is the R.A. that is doing it and it will also cruve your neck bone in this is a normal thing from what I understand the Meds will only slow it down it will not stop it bottom line you will have pain some more than others and I take a lot of over the counter meds to keep from taking pain meds but any good doctor will tell you it will move into your back because you have bones and joints there just like your hands and feet and hips your back is in movment all the time turning twisting bending and more so yes it will move into it too! The one thing to look at is there are other people that are far off worse than we are and in much more pain

    • Anonymous
      mich
      Oct. 28, 2010

      Yes, severe lower back & hip pain can certainly be RA. I've had it for a mere 5 years. In 2 1/2 years, my hips, pelvis, and sacrum have degenerated severely and I have pronounced bone spurs in all those areas as well as my lumbar vertebrae. I went from a "normal" set of x-rays to this in less than 3 years, all while being treated aggressively. The fact...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Yes, severe lower back & hip pain can certainly be RA. I've had it for a mere 5 years. In 2 1/2 years, my hips, pelvis, and sacrum have degenerated severely and I have pronounced bone spurs in all those areas as well as my lumbar vertebrae. I went from a "normal" set of x-rays to this in less than 3 years, all while being treated aggressively. The fact is that my RA is more aggressive than the treatment (Lyrica & Cymbalta for fibromyalgia, Orencia infusions & MTX for RA).

       

      RA isn't the only reason, but it certainly can be a legitimate one. I wish I had an answer for treatment for everyone; I don't. I'm only just now seeing an ortho dr & phys therapist. We'll see what's going on after the MRI.

       

      Keep at it, keep asking questions, and never, ever give up, no matter how much you want to. I'm 43 now; looking at another 40 or so years of this garbage gives me a foul mood at times to be sure, but as they say "don't let the b@st@rds win." Same goes for RA. :)

    • Anonymous
      Rita
      Jul. 30, 2012

      Hi -I have the same story same meds and I am sched to get hip injections next week ..I dont know how taht will my back pain which is so bad I am not sleeping as well and spend most of my weekends partially sedated and in bed..

  • Chuck
    Aug. 05, 2008

    Hi Jules

    Sounds like you are having a tough time with your low back. From all that I have read RA does not seem to get into the low back. OA, bone spurs, degenerative joint disease and a bunch of other demons can reek havoc with the low back. You may be right that changing your walking pattern may be aggravating one of the underlying demons. It could also be...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hi Jules

    Sounds like you are having a tough time with your low back. From all that I have read RA does not seem to get into the low back. OA, bone spurs, degenerative joint disease and a bunch of other demons can reek havoc with the low back. You may be right that changing your walking pattern may be aggravating one of the underlying demons. It could also be associated with a hip joint problem which can be associated with RA. If you have not had a good work up by a Rheumatologist or Orthopedic surgeon, it may be a good idea.

    As far as using a chiropractor, they can be good for many things but you have already been that route. See if your physician can recommend a good Physical Therapist, this may work better for you. Disclaimer: I am a Physical Therapist that is now living with RA, and have treated many arthritic backs over the past thirty years. If you are not seeing significant improvement in 3-4 weeks after starting PT it may not be for you. You should not have to run up a $5,000 bill.

    Hope it helps

    Chuck

    • Jules
      Aug. 05, 2008

      Thanks Chuck, I appreciate your help.