http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/854004/chronic-arthritis-pain-agony-health-condition (Woman suffering from chronic arthritis: My mystery ‘growing pains’ left me unable to walk) Woman suffering from chronic arthritis: My mystery ‘growing pains’ left me unable to walk REBECCA Beesley, 38, from Kent, has suffered with the agony of chronic arthritis since she was nine years old. By AMY PACKER PUBLISHED: 00:01, Sun, Sep 17, 2017 PH/ GETTY Rebecca has suffered with the agony of chronic arthritis since she was nine years old “As a sporty child, I was always playing netball or running around with my friends – I was even regional longjump champion for my area – so I remember clearly when my pain first started because it put an end to all of that. I was nine and had been out on my roller boots for the morning. Afterwards, for no reason I could fathom, I developed an intense pain in my joints and was unable to walk or move. It faded away and life went back to normal. But those episodes started coming with increasing regularity, so Mum took me along to the GP, who couldn’t explain the problem and referred me to a paediatrician. I was very academic and remember a doctor asking, ‘Are you sure she’s not putting it on to get out of school?’ I was so offended and couldn’t understand why they thought I was faking. Another expert said, ‘It’s just growing pains. It will pass.’ My poor mum was just bewildered. I was eventually put in hospital in traction, all strapped up with a weight on the end of my leg for a whole week, which they thought might sort it out. When that didn’t improve things, I was sent for a very painful hip biopsy and spent another month in traction, at the end of which I was finally diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. People think of arthritis as something that only affects the elderly, but there are about 27,000 people under 25 in the UK who have it. For me, the good news was that they finally knew what was causing my problem and I could go home. The bad news was that it would be at least two years before the worst symptoms settled down. At that age, two years seems like for ever. I’d gone from very active to bed bound in this big old Victorian hospital in Brighton. I remember seeing my bedroom for the first time in a long time and crying tears of happiness while saying, ‘Oh, the ceilings are so low.’ Back then the only treatment was painkillers, mainly ibuprofen at first, then gradually I needed stronger ones like codeine. The discomfort was so intense in those first few years and there was nothing to actually tackle the cause of it. 'I developed an intense pain in my joints and was unable to walk or move' I couldn’t lie down in bed as my hips used to stiffen up, so I slept upright on the sofa for about a year. I took pills day and night – I remember them being lined up on the breakfast table and waking in the night to take more. After a couple of years, as predicted, my condition did settle but I still experience pain and anything too physical is off limits. As a child I used to dream of running along Brighton beach, but I’ve never been able to. Sometimes the lack of knowledge frustrates me. I raised my condition with my midwife when I was pregnant as I had seen women giving birth on television with their legs apart but mine don’t move like that. They were really dismissive and said, ‘Oh, it’s never like it is on telly – you can kneel and move around.’ But when it came to it, they needed to put me in stirrups and my left leg wouldn’t go, so I had five members of staff – nurses, midwives and doctors – holding it out of the way. It was awful. I felt like I hadn’t been listened to properly. I have three children now – Joshua, 13, Daniel, 11, and Trinity, five – and after having my daughter my back became very bad. I don’t know if it’s the arthritis or an injury caused by my hip and back being out of alignment, but it flared up on a permanent basis and every morning I would wake feeling really stiff. I wasn’t able to sleep on my left side any more and on bad days I was virtually housebound. I couldn’t even do simple things like get dressed unaided or prepare meals. I have taken medication of various sorts since my diagnosis, but after the first couple of years I had managed to wean myself off the regular doses of strong painkillers and would just take ibuprofen or paracetamol as I needed it. I don’t like relying on pain medication because of the damage it can do long term. When my back became bad I was put on Arcoxia, which helped with the pain and inflammation and felt like a miracle pill to begin with. But slowly I became more reliant on it and was taking a higher dose every day. I discovered that it’s actually banned in America as it increases the risk of heart attacks. But when I raised it with the specialist, he would say, ‘Oh, you aren’t a high risk – don’t worry.’ I still felt uncomfortable, though, as my mother suffered from heart failure and my dad has had strokes, so I wanted a natural alternative. I recently discovered something called Gopo, a clinically proven rosehip extract with natural anti-inflammatory properties. I have had so much false hope over the years – from visits to chiropractors and acupuncturists to joint pain supplements that made no difference – that I was sceptical, but after about four weeks I noticed I was waking without the stiffness. I still have bad days, but they have been significantly more short-lived and far less severe. After nearly three decades of pain, it has been incredible. It gave me hope that my condition could improve, so ever since I’ve been throwing everything at it. Types of arthritis Tue, February 21, 2017 Arthritis: From osteoarthritis to rheumatoid, here are different types of the painful condition that affects around 10 million people in the UK. We bought a special sofa for people with back pain – we had to split it over two credit cards to afford it but it has definitely helped – and also got a new orthopaedic mattress. I’ve taken myself off the Arcoxia and started using curcumin tablets, which is the compound in turmeric that is very anti-inflammatory. I alternate taking that with another supplement that has boswellia extract in it. I’m feeling so much more hopeful now. Sadly, my daughter was also diagnosed with juvenile arthritis a couple of years ago, shortly before she turned three. My eldest son had fallen on to Trinity’s ankle and it swelled. She was in so much pain we took her for an X-ray and even though they couldn’t see any fracture they strapped it up just in case. When they took the bandages off she couldn’t walk at all – she was crawling around the house screaming in pain. Thankfully, the paediatrician took my background into consideration and put two and two together. Even though I’d been through juvenile arthritis myself, I didn’t realise that she might have the same problem as her symptoms were so different to mine and I hadn’t known it could be hereditary. My mum had arthritis and I remember doctors telling her that it was just coincidence, so I had no idea that my children could be affected. I feel very guilty even now that I have passed it on. Luckily, things have changed a lot since I was a child. These days, we know that traction is actually the worst thing for the condition – you need to keep things moving – and Trinity is being treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital with weekly injections of methotrexate. It is actually a chemotherapy drug, but rheumatologists use it a lot because it has fabulous results for this kind of thing. It has taken away Trinity’s pain so she doesn’t even remember that now. It is so important for GPs to have juvenile arthritis on their radars. They don’t see it very often and can easily miss it because the patient is a child, but quick treatment is so important for preventing long-term damage.” Gopo Joint Health capsules are available from supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide (£18.99 for 120 capsules).