I HAVE HAD RA SINCE EARLY 2006 AFTER HAVING A PULMONARY EMBOLISM AT AGE 57. MY BACK PAIN SEEMS TO BE GETTING WORSE AS YEARS GO BY AND MORE LIMITATIONS ARE OCCURRING, ESPECIALLY WALKING. I TAKE 10 MG OF PREDNISONE DAILY, AS I HAVE COPD/ASTHMA AS WELL.
usually RA is not believed to involve the spine, except for the very top joint and the SI joint. However, there is another type of inflammatory arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis that primarily affects the spine, but can have other joints (hands, knees, etc.). As well, given your age, it is possible that you may have osteoarthritis in your back.
I would recommend consulting your rheumatologist and asking for some tests of your spine to investigate the issue in more detail.
good luck! Please let us know how things go?
Sorry you are having so much back pain. I have low back pain, and I have seen an orthopedic specialist. I have DDD ( degenerative disc disease ) and bulging discs. Actually, I have DDD in the cervical and thoracic spine, as well. It can be very painful. Sometimes, back pain can make it difficult to walk, and sometimes it can make your feet go numb. I would suggest seeing an orthopedic doc to evaluate your back pain. My ortho works closely with my rheumatologist, and that is a blessing. On an interesting note, when they first x-rayed my back, the NP was so amazed. She said that x-rays do not usually show inflammation. MRI's do that. But on my back x-ray, there was so much inflammation in my lower and thoracic spine that it showed up on x-ray. She attributed that to my RA.
Please let us know what you find out. I think it is worth investigating. My doc told me if it gets too painful, they can shoot prednisone in the offending area and that will bring relief.
I had pretty severe lower back pain with numbness and pain in my right leg. The MRI was not very informative, some degeneration some bulging, lots of inflammation; this had been going on for years. I had PT. meds, all the therapy but it got so bad that when I took my granddaughter to Disney I had to rent a scooter because I couldn't walk any distance at all. My ortho sent me for injections in my spine followed by more PT in the pool - the injections made a huge difference. I think because in my case, much of the problem was inflammation. If your pain is the result of more mechanical issues, it may not be as effective, but I know that my doctors have always recommended the most conservative approach first before considering more drastic solutions like sugery. Talk to your doctor, maybe a consult with an orthopedic would be in order?
The advice I got from the physical therapy people helped a lot too. Your RA limitations make walking difficult so the amount of exercise you get is smaller and smaller. It's amazing how quickly the muscles lose strength and the ability to support your core - an important part of maintaining that silly upright position we humans feel we need! I know that PT in a warm pool was the best for me! They taught me exercises to strengthen my core and help support my back without putting extra stress on my achey joints. If your insurance covers it, you might ask either your rheumy or ortho for a PT prescription and afterwards look for a local heated pool with arthritis classes. These can help you stay active with the added benefit of the chance to make some new friends.
Talk to your doctor, and ask for some help. Hope you feel better!