I'm currently 31, F, BMI of approx. 22 (thought my weight might be relevant seeing as this is mostly joint related).
When I was 22 and before I was really fit, trained regularly, walked everywhere. Weight fluctuated the same 7ish kgs with me getting it under control usually as soon as I start skirting the overweight line (I'm fairly certain I have binge eating disorder but not diagnosed... just haven't felt brave enough to bring it up with someone. Had it since childhood).
I was already working retail in a bakery, so on my feet all day with lots of lifting/ bending/ twisting. No issues, had done similar jobs since I was 13. Moved somewhere that was severely understaffed paying a bucketload for overtime so started doing 60-70 hours a week up from 45, and used a cheap exercise bike in the evenings since I didn't have time to work out anymore. After around 3 months of this my legs kind of just... stopped working. I recognise it now as quadriceps tendonitis as I've had it many times since, but I had no idea what was going on. I went to a doctor that said I'd just overdone it exercising and he gave me a HUGE prescription for diazepam (like... 200 tablets...) which surprise, did nothing. After a week it turned into pretty bad knee pain, went back to a different doctor that told me nothing, just said to ice and rest. After another week I saw a physio who told me I had patellofemoral syndrome.
Basically after that I got better for a few weeks, then spent a whole year on and off crutches with so many issues I could hardly walk. Knee caps would hardly move (due to the wasting away of my VMO's, built them up but saw only minor improvement) and I cycled between having quadriceps tendonitis/ hamstring tendonitis/ IT band syndrome (mainly on the left leg), and patella tendonitis. Also had pain in my ankles. I had no continuity of treatment though, was seeing physios anywhere between 1-3x a week that whole year but was living in an isolated area where the physios were FIFO workers so I rarely saw the same person twice.
It was actually a chiropractor that helped me function again, apparently my hips were very out of alignment (had had a couple physios point that out... but not give me any way of fixing it. Just kept training my glutes and VMO's). Chiro realigned my hips and suddenly all the deep tissue massages I was getting actually helped and I was walking again.
It's never been that bad again but I have never been able to stand in one spot since (always felt like my muscles are fighting each other), can't crouch etc, I also still randomly get misalignment pain even when not flared up. It was manageable though and I have had jobs since then.
So a few years ago I started herniating discs in my back. It started at L1-l2 I believe, did the same disc a couple of times but it healed quickly. Also starting getting chronic thoracic pain that would make it hard to breathe in sometimes, felt like my ribs were poking my spine on the inhale and lying down was intensely painful... discovered that was from my mattress, have a new one now. Then I herniated l4-l5 and l5-s1 and had pretty bad issues with my right SI joint. I recovered. Almost exactly a year later I did the same thing but since then, even though the discs healed, the chronic pain has not really stopped flaring up since.
Now I have tendonitis pretty much everywhere on and off- hamstrings and calves (low hamstring tendonitis so it affects both), quads, ITB in the left side again, serious hip flexor and adductor issues, constant lower back tightness, tendonitis in both elbows.
I've seen physios over the last few years on and off for my knees/ legs/ every time I hurt my back. Also tore my left pec very mildly which caused issues for months. Had an MRI on my left knee way back when it was really bad and it showed only a bit of inflammation deep in my calf (physio said it indicated a muscle sprain). Multiple x rays of my back showed nothing out of the ordinary and physios since then decided further scans weren't necessary since I was improving with treatment.
Had a doctor a few years ago request a huge amount of blood tests when I went in for a doctors certificate when I had tendonitis in both knees, only thing it showed was very low ferritin levels (7 I believe, since then I've managed to build it up to 40 but it's incredibly slow going. Was put on hormonal birth control to reduce my heavy periods and now take iron supplements daily). Also tested positive for ANA, speckled, though he said it was an amount that was not anything to worry about.He said he tested for inflammatory markers and didn't suggest I had celiac disease/ lupus/ rheumatoid arthritis (which is what he suspected). He also said I think my liver enzymes were off or slightly high (can't remember) and asked if I'd been vaccinated for hepatitis recently. Said he would request further testing with blood they had left over and would contact me if anything else showed up but I never heard back from him.
Pretty much my entire body is always tight. I can sit in a chair and it can mess up my day. I sleep terribly because I'm a back sleeper but if I try sleeping on my back, when I try moving to roll over I get really bad pain in my lower back (I actually think it's from my hip flexors). I'm also incredibly stiff when I wake up if I sleep on my back. So, I always sleep on either side and move around a lot trying to get comfortable.
I do a physio prescribed Pilates routine 4x a week, 2x upper body and 2x lower body (I have a reformer at home and had a mobile physio visit me a lot last year). I also worked up to walking an hour a day which actually doesn't help my back pain at all, I'm usually pretty stiff everywhere at the end of it. I stopped seeing that physio as I would describe pain in new places (like between my shoulder blades and in my neck) and he would just say flare ups are normal... even though that was new pain. Also had constant flare ups with my right hip which would cause weakness in my whole leg and pain, though I've had bursitis in that hip in the past.
Actually saw an osteopath after that and briefly described basics and he said my body was a bit of a mess, I actually cried because no one had taken me seriously for ages. He said it was all postural but the appointments were so quick I never really got an answer on how to correct my posture- and the Pilates exercises I'd been doing for the 6 months prior were all postural exercises. He actually asked me if I had tendonitis in my elbow when he was stretching one of my pectoral muscles and I didn't at that stage, but now I do... He did fix the pain in between my shoulders though.
Saw a different osteo when I was at home in a different state and they said I was over stretching my hip flexors, so I stopped which helped temporarily. (Should mention I've seen 7 physios over the last 2 years for my back and leg flare ups the last 2 years and more before that, also seen exercise physiologists, chiros (don't bother anymore, any relief is temporary), massage therapists, osteopaths, a sports medicine doctor, multiple GPs).
I don't even know what to do. I haven't been able to work in over a year, not everything hurts all the time but I can have a great almost pain free day (I usually still have lingering twinge-y feelings and what feels like very mild pins and needles in places, especially my legs) and then the next day my knees stop functioning (my left leg will actually stop functioning... like it can't figure out which muscles to fire so I suddenly can't walk properly. Usually works again after stretching). Or I'm suddenly very stiff and sore in the middle of my back and movement (like my regular Pilates) won't help the pain, just make me temporarily able to move a little more.
I also have digestive issues, I get constipated a fair bit and have since I was younger (though back then I would cycle between being constipated and having diarrhea) which may be related to the binge eating (which has been SO bad recently- regularly eating 4000-5000 calories anywhere from 1-5x a week). Also have anxiety which has worsened a lot being stuck at home and stretches of what I believe is depression. I just can't handle everything I'm missing out on in life, I'm 31 and my goal last year was to be able to pick things up off the floor again and I can some days now and not others. I should be working on having a career and traveling and hobbies and so many other things but I'm stressed about if I'll be ok to go grocery shopping. And the fact that I can't clean my own floors because any kind of repetitive bobbing up and down makes my back seize up so vacuuming/ mopping are impossible (thankfully I have a dishwasher as dishes also were an issue). The only way I can get through a flight is with a big dose of diazepam so everything doesn't seize up. I also can't really use stairs because of my knees, walking up an incline hurts my lower back, sitting for too long (like getting my hair done or at the cinema) can make one or both of my knees very stiff.