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Avatar universal

Osteoarthritis at 22

Hi all.

I'm concerned that I should seek a 2nd opinion. I was diagnosed with osteoarthrits yesterday. I'm 22.

I was in a bad car accident November 26th, 2008. Full work up done after the accident, x-rays of most major joints and entire spine. No one said anything about arthritis at that time.

I had a spine MRI performed in late March. Now all of the sudden I'm riddled with arthritis, and the degeneration is compressing discs and nerves.

My Orthopedist seems to feel that the arthritis is not related to the wreck. It's my understanding that trauma to any joints can lead to the onset of arthritis. I have never had the kind of problems I'm having until after the accident. Furthermore, he does not feel it necessary to do any further testing to rule out underlying causes.

My doctor is generally a bright guy. I like him, great doctor. But I feel like I need to respectfully disagree with his opinion that it isn't related to the accident due to my medical history - I've never had any constant joint pain anywhere except my ankle that's given me problems since I twisted it as a kid.

Would it be fair to present my case to another orthopedist with my opinion for review? If it's as advanced as my orthopedist is leading me to believe, shouldn't it have been clinically diagnosable with x-rays alone?

Opinions appreciated.
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Absolutely get another opinion!  Not saying this guy is right or wrong but if what you are hearing doesn't seem right to you something is telling you to find the truth.

After having a surgery to fix on particular problem that left me with a whole different problem I went to three other osteo docs. They all advised me to have hip replacement due to osteoarthritis, but I didn't want to do that without trying every other avenue.  I recently had a 'live blood analysis' and discovered a tiny organism called 'mycoplasma arthritides' was responsible for my problem.  I was told that a trauma like my surgery couild have triggered the organism.  Same thing happened to my Mom after a fall. I'm taking natural supplements to rid my body of this (had arthritis in neck, back and shoulder too) and am already feeling better.  Just realized that the constant 'clicking' in my neck isn't happening nearly as much and back is feeling better.

As great as some docs are, they don't know everything - only what they are taught and thinking changes all the time as new discoveries are made.  Don't give up - be your own primary health care provider and keep getting other opinions until you feel satisfied that you are getting the answers that you need.  If you want to direct message me I can give you more info.

Good luck.
Avatar universal
I obtained a copy of the MRI report if anyone can explain this a little bit more basically. I get the gist ... But would like it in plain english. I would like to reiterate that while I understand an MRI is a much more high quality image, no abnormalities were seen on any x-ray immediately subsequent trauma.

Technique - Multiple pulse MRI sequences were performed in multiple planes through the cervical spine without administration of intravenous contrast.

Findings - There is no evidence of acute fracture, subluxation, or dislocation. The vertebral body heights, intervertebral spaces and alignment of the spine are maintained.

The prevertebral soft tissues are within normal limits.

At C1-C2 - No abnormalities are seen.
At C2-C3 - There is no evidence of disc herniation. The spinal canal and neural foramen are patent.
At C3-C4 - There is no evidence of disc herniation. The spinal canal is patent. There are mild hypertropic changes seen in the uncovertebral joint causing mild right neural foraminal stenosis, the left neural foramen is patent.
At C4-C5 - There is no evidence of disc herniation. The spinal canal is patent. There are mild hypertropic changes seen in the uncovertebral joint causing mild right neural foraminal stenosis, the left neural foramen is patent.
At C5-C6 - There is a central disc osteophyte complex abutting the ventral aspect of the cord and causing mild cord flattening. There is mild to moderate stenosis of the spinal canal. The neural foramens are patent.
At C6-C7 - There is a large central disc osteophyte complex abutting and causing flattening of the ventral aspect of the cord with mild to moderate stenosis of the spinal canal. The neural foramen are patent.
At C7-T1 - No abnormalities are seen.

There is no evidence of cord edema or cord compression.


1. No evidence of acute fractures.
2. Central disc osteophyte complexes seen at C5-6 and C6-7 causing mild to moderate stenosis of the spinal canal and abutting and causing mild flattening of the ventral aspect of the cord without cord compression or edema.
3. The remaining intervertebral disc spaces demonstrate no evidence of disc herniation and the remaining portions of the spinal canal are normal in caliber.
Avatar universal
* Correction for clarity - I had whip-lash injury but no other abnormalities were noted.
Avatar universal

I'm not a doctor but your MRI report doesn't seem to be showing anything severe, just some bone spurs.

Here's what it says on Wise Geek about osteophytes:

'Osteophytes is the medical term for the overgrowth of bone tissue more commonly called ‘bone spurs’. Despite the term ‘spur’, osteophytes are actually small round lumps of extra bone that grow around joints. Osteophytes are the body’s attempt to compensate for existing bone and ligament degeneration due to age or injury. Unfortunately, the body’s attempt to heal itself this way is unsuccessful.
Osteophytes are formed by the body for the purpose of limiting or stopping motion in a deteriorating joint that becomes too loose. Since degenerative joint conditions are characteristic of athletes and the aged, osteophytes are common in those with sports related injuries or arthritis. In fact, osteophytes often cause arthritis, as well as a condition called spinal stenosis. Other factors in the development of osteophytes include bone deformations, fractures, hereditary factors and poor posture.'

Seems like it could have been possible that your accident damaged some ligaments etc. causing a bit of a chain reaction - just a guess.

I would definitely get another couple of opinions and try a holistic practitioner too - but someone really good.  Accupucture may help - certainly doesn't hurt if you have a good practioner.  I have bone spurs and was told to use a small magnet taped to the spot where the spur is every night - this draws blood flow to the area and apparently helps to decrease the spurs and the pain - ordered the magnet from a UK company - just waiting to get them.  It's a very cheap remedy too, let's hope it works! You could have a Chiropractor check your posture.  Could be that a bit of injury from the accident caused you to change your posture without even realizing it. Posture is super important because if it isn't correct the skeleton isn't 'fitting together' properly.

A great book to check out is 'Pain Free' by Pete Egoscue - some really simple exercises that help a lot.

It just seems a no brainer that the car accident did something and I'd say finding someone who can recognise that and help to fix it is very logical.  Don't give up and just accept that there is nothing you can do - find someone to help.

Check out prolotherapy for ligament issues too.

I am super confident that with some determination you can totally get better - you just need to get help from someone who can look outside the box.  Don't forget ortho docs only know surgery and meds - try something different for a different approach.

Stay positive.
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