Hi All,

I have kept this to myself for over a month but it has affected my job performance a great deal so members have a right to know what's been going on. Many know I have a bad back over the years that has put me out of commission at times, in the past it would be 2 weeks here, 2 weeks there every year or so. I would have an episode and eventually it would mend and I would be fine for a while. Around a month and a half ago I started waking up around 4am with horrible back pain in my thoracic spine, I relied on pain killers for a couple weeks and saw no improvement. In desperation I tried a new bed well known for back support and still no difference. It was much different to any previous back pain I've experienced so I began the long process of doctors, specialists and tests. Several days ago a thorough bone scan of my thoracic area has clearly shown "severe" osteoarthritis of the spine. I have an MRI in two weeks and follow up with the specialist on may3rd but their outlook is the MRI will not change the diagnosis only highlight specific disc issues and such that could be adding to the mix. I saw my GP yesterday for an hour long chat about the bone scan report and visuals and he stated it's bad and the long term prognosis is bad -not exactly what I wanted to hear. It's not all doom and gloom but life as I know it has now changed dramatically. I went from excited to take tests which were going to help me fix the pain, to being told it's not going anywhere and could become far worse. So, it's a lot to come to terms with to say the least since I'm only 36yrs old. I'm researching as much as possible and have started taking various supplements known to reduce symptoms as well as inversion therapy several times a day, gentle swimming at a local lap pool etc. I've been taken off addictive drugs as my GP says it's time to think long term. It's been difficult to sit at the computer for long periods the last few weeks, the drugs and pain has affected my concentration and motivation, things have slipped. I will start getting back into things very soon and wanted to apologize to those having delays in support or feeling a sense that I am absent.

I would also like to hear from any members suffering from this disease so have started a social group where we can meet: http://www.apug.org/forums/groups/arthritis.html

Trying to keep my chin up. As always thanks for your support,
Sean