I am so sorry to hear of your constant pain.
Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
Pain in a joint during or after use, or after a period of inactivity
Tenderness in the joint when you apply light pressure
Stiffness in a joint, that may be most noticeable when you wake up in the morning or after a period of inactivity
Loss of flexibility may make it difficult to use the joint
Grating sensation when you use the joint
Bone spurs, which appear as hard lumps, may form around the affected joint
Swelling in some cases
Osteoarthritis symptoms most commonly affect the hands, hips, knees and spine. Unless you've been injured or placed unusual stress on a joint, it's uncommon for osteoarthritis symptoms to affect your jaw, shoulder, elbows, wrists or ankles.
This does not mean that your elbows could not be osteo, you could be that exception to the rule.
Osteoarthritis pain that persists despite initial treatment may require medications in addition to initial treatment options. Don't assume that taking a medication is all you need. In order to get the most from your treatment, continue exercising when possible and resting when you need to.
Some common complementary and alternative treatments that have shown some promise for osteoarthritis include:
Acupuncture. During acupuncture, tiny needles are inserted into your skin at precise spots. Practitioners believe the needles free or redirect your body's energy in order to relieve pain. Studies of acupuncture for knee osteoarthritis have been mixed. Most studies haven't found a benefit, though some have found some short-term relief of pain. Acupuncture can be safe if you select a reputable practitioner — ask your doctor to suggest someone. Risks include infection, bruising and some pain where needles are inserted into your skin.
Ginger. The ginger plant is best known for its use in cooking, but some research has found ginger extract may be helpful in reducing osteoarthritis pain. Limited studies have been conducted with ginger in people with osteoarthritis, and results have been mixed. Side effects of ginger supplements can include heartburn and diarrhea. Talk to your doctor before taking ginger supplements, since they can interfere with prescription medications such as warfarin (Coumadin).
Glucosamine and chondroitin. Studies have been mixed on these nutritional supplements. Some have found benefits for people with osteoarthritis, while others haven't. Tell your doctor if you're considering taking these supplements. Don't use glucosamine if you're allergic to shellfish. Chondroitin sulfate may affect blood levels of warfarin if you're taking that medication.
Magnets. Some people believe placing magnets near your affected joint can relieve osteoarthritis pain. Some small studies have found magnets can provide temporary pain relief, though others haven't found any benefit from magnets. It isn't clear how magnet therapy might work. Still, a variety of magnetic products, such as bracelets, are available. Magnets appear to be safe.
Tai chi and yoga. These movement therapies involve gentle exercises and stretches combined with deep breathing. Many people use these therapies to abate stress in their lives, though small studies have found that tai chi and yoga may reduce osteoarthritis pain. More study is needed to understand whether tai chi and yoga can relieve osteoarthritis pain. Talk to your doctor if you'd like to give tai chi or yoga a try. When led by a knowledgeable instructor, these therapies are safe. But don't do any moves that cause pain in your joints.
Do keep working with your Doctor as you appear to have a good relationship with him. Keep talking to us here and know we care.
Gentle Hugs to you,