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I have chronic osteoarthritis through my whole body including my spine, plus other bone abnormalities. I have had chronic pain since I was 12 (18 yrs ago). Doctors have never taken my pain seriously until recently when I was properly diagnosed. I am now on Endep, Lyrica and Gabapentin which together helps with all my nerve pain. But even strong pain killers didn't help with my joint and back inflammation. I had heard about people having success with Prednisone but I had never really considered it for myself because I'm still young and had heard of all the horrible side effects. My pain had been causing me to become deeply depressed. Doctors were treating me like a drug addict whenever I went to ask for a prescription. I was getting to the point of being completely crippled and being a carer to my disabled son, crippled was not an option. While looking for a prescription one day I found a bottle of prednisone that was prescribed to my partner for her chest infection. In desperation I started taking the 20mg tablets daily. I was about to give up by the 5th day when all of a sudden my pain started reducing! By the 7th day I was almost pain free! I was getting stuck into the housework and playing on the floor with my son! I was ecstatic! I've now been taking them for about 2 weeks. The only side effect so far has been some calf pain in the morning. That's nothing compared to the pain that they are taking away. I know that my face will probably swell and I have read all the other long term use side effects. But I am totally willing to take the risks. I haven't felt this good in years! Now I have a few questions... do I ask my doctor for a prescription? He may say no. I can't tell him that I have already been taking them. I'm terrified about asking. I would have to say that my pain is really bad and I'm a terrible liar. Also what if he gives me a lower dose? Will my pain get worse? What dose should I be on? What will happen if he won't give it to me? Are there withdrawal side effects? Is there anything I can do to help or avoid my morning calf pain? How can I convince my doctor that I am serious about getting on the prednisone? Any other helpful advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Avatar universal
I know this is a 4 year old question, but the symptoms and relief are so close to my own, and I've been dealing with similar symptoms and problems for 5o years. So, this is long term problem for anyone that has it.

It seems to me that the most important part of your problem is being taken seriously.

Take charge:
1) Write your problems down as an attachment to the document they used to put you in their system when you see them for the first time, or the document you fill out for each visit. It forces your physician to deal with your problems rather than his opinion of them. If your doctors or their office does not want to include what your write on their chart for you, I suggest, if possible, you begin seeing another doctor.
So, get on the computer or write it by hand. Draw pictures of where you pain is. It was the latter that finally got me treatment: a picture I drew (rather than the tiny one on their document) was what got me treatment.  I was missing a relevant symptom for PR, but the location of pain was a perfect match, and the progression of locations was a perfect match for PR, so the neurologist treated me for PR without inflammation markers in my blood work.
2) if you are contemplating suicide when you are in pain, write that down. Make sure it is on your chart.
3) your Problems could be rheumatoid, orthopedic, neurological, or endocrine. So, go see a rheumatologist, neurologist, orthopedist, or endocrinologist, if possible.

The questions at the end:
1) A low dose, from 1 to 3 mg can do wonders for you if you have polymyalgia rheumatica [PR], or perhaps some other pain problem related to the auto-immune problem that causes PR and giant cell ateritis.

2) If Dr does not give it to you, you will have a feeling like the flus for a bit, then return to your previous problems.

3) Withdrawal: prednisone flue for a week or two. Muscle aches and flu feeling, but no infection.

4) calf pain: may have  been there already, but your neurological system has only so much bandwidth, just like an internet connection. For me, pain in many location —injuries and PR—  is more than my brain will not accept, so as I get better or worse, the locations that I feel pain change in the inverse order I acquired them.

My experience wast that taking prednisone inverted the chronology of my symptoms as I acquired them over 50 years: face> neck> thoracic spine>  shoulders> lower back> hips > knees. My pain problems originated (in time, not cause) in moderate deformities of my knees and hips. You would not see them to look at me and I could run and jump faster and much higher than most. However, I did that by ignoring pain and injured both hips and knees early and had to have surger. The statistics right now are clear, if you have hips and knees that are shaped wrong, you are 4 times more likely to need surgery and get arthritis is you play demanding sports or do demanding work. Use your joints and spine moderately, so they stay strong enough but you don't add to the existing damage.

5) The way you get taken seriously is to push your account of your problem onto their chart for you in such a way that they will be held accountable for ignoring your symptoms. So, on the tiny little area they allow on your chart for "Reason for Appointment" or however they describe it, write "See Attached." Get on your computer, or write it out by hand, and describe when the problem originated, how it progressed, the change in symptoms, and effects of drugs. It could take pages. Do it.

****Very specifically, if you are contemplating suicide when you at high or long levels of moderate to severe pain, write it down. That was my problem and my greatest threat, because my joint, myalgia, arthritis, and injuries were creating referred pain all over my body. Essentially, my neurological system was overwhelmed, and I was hallucinating pain every joint, evey square inch of skin, every muscle...

Using the same drugs you described, after five years, I was able to get my pain level down enough that my brain quit generating pain in other places.

However, the prednisone accelerated the osteoarthritis in my knees and hips, and I am now trying to get off prednisone.

And this is the real problem of prednisone. For most people with osteoarthritis in addition to whatever else, prednisone reduces healing in tissues that are inflamed (by reducing inflammation which is part of healing). This is not true for every kind of osteoarthritis..

The other prescription option is opioids, which is better than suicide, but a percentage of people kill themselves with the opioid, because they develop tolerance for it and need more and more to stop pain.

Finally, some people are helped by Cannabanoid oils, you can find them on the net without the mild hallucinogen in Marijuana that makes you high, or by smoking/eating Marijuana, which will make you high. But that is a small percentage. For those it words for, it is a godsend, unless they work at jobs they require drug tests.

Unfortunately, the drug that most helped my pain from childhood to age 30 was alcohol. I relieved both the joint pain and, what was worse, chronic muscle spasms. But I grew tolerance for it, became a drunk, and had to quit drinking and accept the pain.

So, first thing to do is take charge of you treatment by forcing your view of yourself onto their chart. You can also change doctors.

I eventually found a neurologist who treated me for polymyalgia rheumatica even though I did not have an elevated sedimentation in my blood or other rheumatoid-like inflammation.

It saved my life, after 45 years of it he was my last hope.
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