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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Did my nodal osteoarthritis disappear overnight?

Q) I'm over 80 and developed arthritis in my hands in my 50s. I had the pain for eight years, then one night I went to bed with severe pain in my hands and woke up the next morning to find it had gone! I had exercised the hands regularly. I've read that nodal arthritis in middle age can clear up like this. My hands are now pretty good; just some pain in the thumbs. I develop some lovely bony lumps now and then which don't hurt. I keep exercising them and some have disappeared. Is this unusual? I keep hoping my lower back pain, which I have had for many years, will improve too.
Elizabeth Dickinson, Old Windsor, Berkshire (Autumn 2011)

A) This is usually what happens to nodal osteoarthritis: there's a painful period, which can last from months to years, that leaves the joints knobbly but not tender or painful at all. I doubt that the same will happen with your back pain, although older people do have less back pain.

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