Arthritis of the spine.

traineefarmer

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Mid Norfolk
I came back from seeing a consultant last night following an MRI a few weeks ago. He has confirmed the the back and leg pain I have been suffering with for a considerable time now is arthritis in 2 or 3 of my lower vertebra.

I'm 41 and farming has literally worn me out.

I now have to find a way of restructuring a 75 year old family business into something that isn't going to put me in a wheelchair in the next decade. I suspect the animals will have to go as will most of the staff and I may have to become more reliant on contractors for arable. I'm not even sure if a 120ha is viable in the coming future. More diversifications will probably have to be devised and I may have to return to my former career in engineering part time/self employed.

The consultant told me frankly that this is not going away, I will face a lifetime of pain management and "safe" exercise to strengthen and protect my back. NO BENDING. NO DIGGING. NO TWISTING. Farmers have a tendency to grin and bear it and power through pain, but doing exactly that for the past through years has put me in this position.

Are any of you guys/gals facing a similar dilemma? Any advise that you can offer me?
 

spin cycle

Member
Location
north norfolk
I came back from seeing a consultant last night following an MRI a few weeks ago. He has confirmed the the back and leg pain I have been suffering with for a considerable time now is arthritis in 2 or 3 of my lower vertebra.

I'm 41 and farming has literally worn me out.

I now have to find a way of restructuring a 75 year old family business into something that isn't going to put me in a wheelchair in the next decade. I suspect the animals will have to go as will most of the staff and I may have to become more reliant on contractors for arable. I'm not even sure if a 120ha is viable in the coming future. More diversifications will probably have to be devised and I may have to return to my former career in engineering part time/self employed.

The consultant told me frankly that this is not going away, I will face a lifetime of pain management and "safe" exercise to strengthen and protect my back. NO BENDING. NO DIGGING. NO TWISTING. Farmers have a tendency to grin and bear it and power through pain, but doing exactly that for the past through years has put me in this position.

Are any of you guys/gals facing a similar dilemma? Any advise that you can offer me?

you poor bugger :(......fingers crossed it doesn't pan out as bad :)
 

melted welly

Member
Location
DD9.
Don’t know if this is relatable at all to your situation, and apologies if it’s an irrelevance…. wife was diagnosed with arthritis in her fingers 2yr ago, joints swelling, lot of pain, loss of mobility. GP said that it was what it was and couldn’t do much. She reads a lot of papers and tried cutting out vegetable oil from diet and anything that contained veg oil, processed food, crisps, bread etc. Veg oil is an inflammatory. Has made a considerable difference to her.

Sorry about the vagueness, but often when I’m being lectured on such things I hear everything she says, but don’t actually listen, could get more info from her if you think it would be of interest.
 

Dry Rot

Member
Livestock Farmer
So sorry to hear this, which isn't a lot of help. All I can relate to is a short video someone put up (unlacedgeko?) of a lorry driver with paralysed legs who had a contraption that enabled him to be lifted into the cab so he could drive a lorry. It's amazing what can be done these days with a bit of adaptation. Maybe an opportunity for some young chap to learn farming using your wisdom and experience and his brawn? Medical science advances every day.
 

traineefarmer

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Mid Norfolk
Booked steroid injections today. Should give me some movement back but I will still have to be very careful what I do.

Had an initial chat with the guys that work with/for me and they are being great and will take up the slack in the short term until I figure out what my real limitations are.

Thanks for the support.
 

milkloss

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
East Sussex
Be very, very careful of pain management meds. Sorry to hear of your troubles...... mrs has two degraded discs but manages with paracetamol and radio frequency lesioning of the nerves that go through the facet joints so she is lucky.

Terry ludgrove, Tunbridge wells Nuffield is the chap that sorted her out.
 

glasshouse

Member
Location
lothians
I came back from seeing a consultant last night following an MRI a few weeks ago. He has confirmed the the back and leg pain I have been suffering with for a considerable time now is arthritis in 2 or 3 of my lower vertebra.

I'm 41 and farming has literally worn me out.

I now have to find a way of restructuring a 75 year old family business into something that isn't going to put me in a wheelchair in the next decade. I suspect the animals will have to go as will most of the staff and I may have to become more reliant on contractors for arable. I'm not even sure if a 120ha is viable in the coming future. More diversifications will probably have to be devised and I may have to return to my former career in engineering part time/self employed.

The consultant told me frankly that this is not going away, I will face a lifetime of pain management and "safe" exercise to strengthen and protect my back. NO BENDING. NO DIGGING. NO TWISTING. Farmers have a tendency to grin and bear it and power through pain, but doing exactly that for the past through years has put me in this position.

Are any of you guys/gals facing a similar dilemma? Any advise that you can offer me?
Why not sell up?
 

traineefarmer

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Mid Norfolk
Be very, very careful of pain management meds. Sorry to hear of your troubles...... mrs has two degraded discs but manages with paracetamol and radio frequency lesioning of the nerves that go through the facet joints so she is lucky.

Terry ludgrove, Tunbridge wells Nuffield is the chap that sorted her out.
I've been on codeine of various flavours from my GP. I don't want to end up reliant on them. Seen too many good people ruined by long term use.

I'm feeling a lot more positive than when I posted this morning. If I can just get active again, I'll be happy. At the moment I have speed and agility of someone twice my age.
Why not sell up?
Because I have just started to enjoy it. I've felt many different emotions about farming in my life. I joined the business, left it, then rejoined. Now I have some control and influence and look forward to the new seasons. I hope this is going to be nothing more than a hiccup that can be worked around with some teamwork and innovation.
 
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milkloss

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
East Sussex
I've been on codeine of various flavours from my GP. I don't want to end up reliant on them. Seen too many good people ruined by long term use.

I'm feeling a lot more positive than when I posted this morning. If I can just get active again, I'll be happy. At the moment I have speed and agility of someone twice my age.

Because I have just started to enjoy it. I've felt many different emotions about farming in my life. I joined the business, left it, then rejoined. Now I have some control and influence and look forward to the new seasons. I hope this is going to be nothing more than a hiccup that can be worked around with some teamwork and innovation.
Being positive is half the battle…. Well done and keep it up
 

Macsky

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Highland
Don’t know if this is relatable at all to your situation, and apologies if it’s an irrelevance…. wife was diagnosed with arthritis in her fingers 2yr ago, joints swelling, lot of pain, loss of mobility. GP said that it was what it was and couldn’t do much. She reads a lot of papers and tried cutting out vegetable oil from diet and anything that contained veg oil, processed food, crisps, bread etc. Veg oil is an inflammatory. Has made a considerable difference to her.

Sorry about the vagueness, but often when I’m being lectured on such things I hear everything she says, but don’t actually listen, could get more info from her if you think it would be of interest.
I second this advice, you are what you eat, and if that food causes inflammation then you’re in pain. I’m only in my 30’s and have had to give up on gluten due to gut issues, the bonus is a lot of various aches and pains that I was puting down to work have disappeared since. If I was in your position I would definitely give it a try, nothing to lose.
 

Farmer Fin

Member
Location
Aberdeenshire
I came back from seeing a consultant last night following an MRI a few weeks ago. He has confirmed the the back and leg pain I have been suffering with for a considerable time now is arthritis in 2 or 3 of my lower vertebra.

I'm 41 and farming has literally worn me out.

I now have to find a way of restructuring a 75 year old family business into something that isn't going to put me in a wheelchair in the next decade. I suspect the animals will have to go as will most of the staff and I may have to become more reliant on contractors for arable. I'm not even sure if a 120ha is viable in the coming future. More diversifications will probably have to be devised and I may have to return to my former career in engineering part time/self employed.

The consultant told me frankly that this is not going away, I will face a lifetime of pain management and "safe" exercise to strengthen and protect my back. NO BENDING. NO DIGGING. NO TWISTING. Farmers have a tendency to grin and bear it and power through pain, but doing exactly that for the past through years has put me in this position.

Are any of you guys/gals facing a similar dilemma? Any advise that you can offer me?
I can sympathise with you. I have slipped two disks on my lower back over the past 10 years. I do things very differently to how I used to.

Firstly start working smarter. Brute force is often the default setting in farming and it doesn’t have to be that way. Make a list of tasks that you think you would struggle with and come up with alternative ways.

You may also have to learn that certain jobs take longer or you just have to ask for help.

Good luck going forward
 

traineefarmer

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Mid Norfolk
I appreciate the advice on food intolerances. This is certainly something I know I can have issues with. In the past few years I have singled out fermented soy, MSG, artificial sweeteners and pasta as foods that cause me various aches and pains, migraines and gut issues.

My diet is something I need to focus on as losing excess weight will also help my back. I will certainly be trying to cut inflammatory foods out at the same time.
 

Kidds

Member
Horticulture
Be careful about how you react to what the doctor has told you, I have been told similar things in the past and one farrier friend of mine was told pretty much exactly the same as you. Nothing much wrong with me and the farrier is still shoeing horses 30 years later rather than in the wheelchair as predicted.
Of course you need to look after yourself but the world doesn't need to stop while you get off.
Good luck.
 
Welcome to the club! Arthritis probably plagues farmers more than any other industry.

A few pointers from a fellow sufferer:
Try to avoid codeine as long term its not good for you, and similarly NSAID. Ask your GP to prescribe Paracetamol/opium [Izalgi here in France], not to be taken on a regular basis, but when in pain.
If you don't already do so, wear a back support - your GP should be able to prescribe it. Also keep you back warm - no more bare midriff or 'builder's bum'.
Try to avoid jobs that you know will give you back ache - using a chainsaw seems to be one of the worst offenders.
Try a TENS machine - Again your GP should be able to help with this.
If you are carrying a few extra pounds try to loose them.
I'm not sure that physiotherapy helps but others will say that Pilates and Yoga help. Yoga it seems helps reduce anxiety, which helps to ease pain.
Often you may find that the leg pain is worse than the back pain, and I haven't found the answer to that. But the Izalgi does seem to help. It might be worth asking your GP to arrrange a test to ensure that blood supply to the lower limbs is OK. It's very simple, just an ultrasound.
I don't think it's time to ditch your livestock although the idea of bending over trimming sheep's feet wouldn't be appealing to a back sufferer!
Your workmen need to understand that there are things that the gaffer can't do and they will need to be a bit more flexible.
I think may be you need to seek a second opinion. I can't speak to highly of David Chapple - https://www.spinal-care.co.uk/about-us/
I don't think your are going to be reduced to a wheelchair. My wife also has severe back problems with among other things Camptocormia, where basically you have a permanent stoop as the muscles have atrophied, but at the age of 86 she is still mobile with the aid of a Trionic Veloped - https://www.trionic.uk/en/
You will already know that chronic pain can affect your moods and can affect your family life. So my advice is to have a discussion & explain that you don't mean to be grumpy and bad tempered; It's the pain talking. There is a vicious circle: Pain causes depression. Depression seems to make pain worse.

Good luck
 

traineefarmer

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Mid Norfolk
I had some epidural steroid injections on thursday. I have rested for a couple of days and tried a morning at work today.

Keeping my fingers crossed that this will provide me with some relief. At the moment I'm struggling to spend much more than 30mins on my feet before the pain is intolerable.
 

theboytheboy

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Portsmouth
Everyone has different advice and you need to find what works for you.

I was disabled by back pain aged 35. I couldn't lift my newborn son out if his cot and was heavily drugged up.

Me experience was that chiropractors and osteopaths were happy to take my money week in week out (for about the 5 years prior) but no real long term advice, other than come back next week and give me another £50 please. I dread to think how much I spent.

I finally found a physio who helped me get to a point where I could ditch the cocktail of drugs I needed to get through a day.

He said he had done all he can and I needed to to do regular exercise to strengthen and maintain my core and back muscles.

Long story short, I no longer take any drugs for my back. It stull hurts all the time and there are certain things I shouldnt do (little bales, running, digging holes etc) Thats not to say I never do anything I shouldn't but I pay for it with interest!

I would recommend finding a good PT for 121 sessions to focus on your specific issues and learning how to tailer excercise to your body and its problem. I continue to see one every week and am doing things I honestly never thought I would be able to. Its also good for a change of scenery, someone different to talk to and a mental health boost, so for me its great value.

One thing I was told when I asked about back braces was that they can actually be unhelpful as you dont engage your muscles because you rely on the brace so it can contribute to weakening you in the place you need to build strength......

As said everyone has a different experience and advice and this is what worked for me.

Best of luck, hope you find the best solution for you sooner rather than later!
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
I came back from seeing a consultant last night following an MRI a few weeks ago. He has confirmed the the back and leg pain I have been suffering with for a considerable time now is arthritis in 2 or 3 of my lower vertebra.

I'm 41 and farming has literally worn me out.

I now have to find a way of restructuring a 75 year old family business into something that isn't going to put me in a wheelchair in the next decade. I suspect the animals will have to go as will most of the staff and I may have to become more reliant on contractors for arable. I'm not even sure if a 120ha is viable in the coming future. More diversifications will probably have to be devised and I may have to return to my former career in engineering part time/self employed.

The consultant told me frankly that this is not going away, I will face a lifetime of pain management and "safe" exercise to strengthen and protect my back. NO BENDING. NO DIGGING. NO TWISTING. Farmers have a tendency to grin and bear it and power through pain, but doing exactly that for the past through years has put me in this position.

Are any of you guys/gals facing a similar dilemma? Any advise that you can offer me?
Yes. This exactly.

We are/have installed a technograzing system so as long as someone over 7 is about, the show can go on. I'm finding acupuncture gives great relief from the leg pain
 

Top cereal and oilseed growers honoured at the Yield Enhancement Network Awards 2021

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Despite an average growing year for most crops, many growers managed to go above and beyond their predicted max yields, with Lincolnshire grower Tim Lamyman taking the top spots for his wheat yields and his world record breaking winter barley yield.

The highest cereal and oilseed yields achieved at harvest 2021 were announced at this year’s Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) Awards on Wednesday 24th November at the Croptec Show. With award presentations by Tom Bradshaw, Vice President of NFU, 24 farms took home the evening’s top awards for highest yield and highest potential yield achieved for wheat, winter and spring barley, oats, and oilseed. The 2021 winners came from all corners of the UK, as well as from as far afield as Finland and New Zealand.

Familiar names from 2020 made the...
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