You may not have rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disorder, but your osteoarthritis can have flare ups.
At the moment it appears that you are having a flare up (acute).
Chronic means long lasting. You can have a condition that is chronic that may not be acute.
Your doctor can send you for xrays to see how the osteoarthritis in your knee is at the moment and compare this to previous results. He is likely to prescribe pain relief medication or advise you with regard the dosage of the ones that you may already be taking. He may also prescribe anti inflammatory drugs (if you are not already on these). Do take care with these as they do not suit everyone and can also cause swelling through oedema (fluid retention) in your leg. Also ensure that you take these types of drugs after you have eaten, because they can cause stomach bleeding.
Whilst your knee is in its acute state (severe pain), rest the leg as much as possible. When you are resting, elevate the leg and try and get the knee to get as straight as you can by placing a pillow under your foot. You can apply cold and hot compresses to the knee. Try these out to find out which one works best for you.
If you are not able to take anti inflammatory drugs, you can get anti inflammatory gels that you rub onto the body part that is causing you the problem.
Unfortunately, with osteoarthritis, this is a degenerative disease when the bones slowly deteriorate. There is no cure for this, but if some of the joints are very bad, you may be considered for surgery to replace a knee, hip, etc.
If you are overweight, losing weight will help by not putting so much strain on the damaged joints. Losing weight will not cure any osteoarthritis. You may also find a walking stick helpful, if you do not already use one.
It is still important to have a healthy and well balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, meat, etc. Drink plenty of fluids so as not to get dehydrated. You may wish to write down everything that you consume as some people do find that their arthritis (no matter which one they have) does flare up after eating certain foods. Doing this will help you to identify and avoid the foods that can cause a flare up. Everyone is different, but I find my arthritis is much worse after eating oranges and fresh cream.
Do make an appointment to see your doctor and let him know about the problem with your knee and the joints in your hands.
Let me know how you get on.
your advice is excellent. I go to Mayo cinic and not once have they told me any of this. I have advanced chronic degenerative arthritis in my neck with stabbig pains , aching down my spne, shooting pain etc. I take ibuprofen with food for flare ups. My mother hemmorraged to death from taking 800 mgs. of it twice a day for 20 years. after her brain surgery. I am leery of it.I am signed up for acupuncture on my neck the 24th Tuesday(Christmas eve) for the arthritis pain in my neck at Mayo. I don't know if it might or might not work. What do you think. I read massages were of no use.
Sorry to hear about your mother haemorrhaging due the side effects of the Ibuprofen which lead to her death.
I am also sorry to hear about your own health problems.
You are no doubt probably already aware the reason why you are experiencing the aching and shooting pain that you experience running down your spine. This will be due to nerve impingement and it is highly likely that you may have some disc problem and will also have osteophytes (bone spurs) as well as the degeneration. I suggest that if you have not had any imaging tests done for a while, you see your doctor to arrange this and ask for referral to a specialist to see what can be done. I do not know what services the Mayo clinic provides and what they have to offer you.
Your doctor may be able to prescribe different medications for you to take as well as a medication (Omeprazole or similar) to protect your stomach when you take the Ibuprofen. I am glad to know that you do take it with or after food. With an anti-inflammatory drug, I believe they need to be taken regularly to get any benefit. They are not the same as pain relief medications. If you do notice any side effects from them, then don't take them (I experienced oedema in my leg from the Ibuprofen). Some antidepressants work on referred pain, and you may be offered one of them by your doctor. The one that I know of that is prescribed for referred pain is Amitriptyline.
If you have not had any massage, then it is still worth having a go. Because you have a lot of bone problems in your neck and spine the messages won't help cure any bone problems, but the massages help to a certain extent by loosening up any tight muscles and tension that can contribute to the spasms.
Keep out of any draughts and wear a scarf to keep your neck warm. You can also apply heat to the neck area to see if that will help. You can purchase those heat bean packs that are heated up in the microwave, or you can use a hot water bottle wrapped in a cloth.
With regard to the acupuncture, I have not had this, so cannot comment from a personal experience. I have heard though that it helps by blocking the pain messages. So it is still worth having a go. Bear in mind that it won't cure any bone damage or disc problems.
Let me know how you get on with the acupuncture, but hope it works and that you have a pain free Xmas.