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BTHR scheduled; worried about my bad back!

Discussion in 'Hip Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by cross24, Feb 23, 2012.

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  1. cross24

    cross24 New Member

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    I'm a newbie here. In fact I have never posted anything on a forum before! But I am so glad I ran across this site because I think everyone here will be very helpful as I prepare for surgery. Here's my history....
    I am 51 years old and have had bilateral hip dysplasia since birth. I had some corrective surgery as a baby, followed by a spica cast and then osteotomies of my right acetabulum and femur at age 22. Unfortunately, I don't think that surgery improved my quality of life much. So for the past 29 years I have continued to have mild to moderate pain in my right hip. Then my left hip started to deteriorate in the past few years. To compound the situation, I've had chronic back pain off and on for years. I've always blamed it on my uneven leg length and unsteady gait, but who knows. Currently I struggle with it daily, sometimes it's worse than my hip pain! Two years ago I had severe sciatica resulting from a herniated lumbar disc and was also diagnosed with spinal stenosis at that time.
    So....my concern with my upcoming surgery is how my back will tolerate everything Has anyone with else with spinal stenosis or other chronic back issues gone through bilateral hip replacements? The whole package deal scares me to death! I have 3 months to convince myself it'll be worth it or talk myself out of it!
    I look forward to hearing from anyone with similar experiences! Thanks!
     
  2. haldox

    haldox Post-Grad

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    Welcome Cross, glad you found Bone Smart!!

    Everyone is different but I will give you my experience with back problems and THRs.

    I have been diagnosed with spondyliothesis,DDD and Scoliosis. I also had horrible sciatica pain and had some nerve problems on lower L leg.

    Before my THRs I always thought it was my back because of having those problems. No one ever checked out my hip for about 3 yrs until I pushed to get my L hip x-rayed. It turned out my L hip was pretty bad and I was getting my 1st THR a little over a month after first seeing it on xray.

    After a few months post LTHR my back went through a complete adjustment period and then after that it was wonderful!

    Then I started having my old back issues come back(about 10 mths post LTHR), followed by some pain,etc in my R hip,1 yr after LTHR I was scheduling my RTHR.

    Post RTHR the only thing I have dealt with in my back was my R SI joint so far but that has gone away within the first couple weeks.

    Im currently not experiencing any back pains, maybe some lower back stiffness here and there but nothing like the pain,etc I had before my THRs.

    I will always be grateful for THR, to me it is a miracle!!
     
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  3. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Hi, cross24....welcome to BoneSmart! I'm glad you found us and decided to join the forum.

    Your story is more common than you might think. I believe you will find this surgery a major improvement for you! Just be prepared to be a bit patient in recovery. Remember you didn't get to this stage overnight and it will take some time for all the parts of your body that have been affected to realign to a normal position.

    While no one can promise that your hip replacement will resolve all the pain you are experiencing, it will take care of the arthritis in your hip and allow you a normal gait and posture. Many of our members have reported dramatic improvements in leg, knee and back pain after recovery.

    We'll be here to help you through both surgery and recovery.
     
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  4. cross24

    cross24 New Member

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    Thanks for the words of encouragement! I hope my two new hips will help the back pain. My doctor said it may or may not....no guarantees. But I'm motivated to do whatever it takes post surgery to strengthen my core again. I've always been very active and really enjoy any activity outdoors. My favorite is biking.....thank goodness cuz thats about all I can do without too much pain. I also do not have a weight problem so hope that will be to my advantage too. Just trying to stay positive!!.
     
  5. Josephine

    Josephine NURSE DIRECTOR, BONESMART Administrator

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    Well, he's right - no promises but the chances are extremely good that your back will, at the very least, be greatly improved. Such a shame they waited so long to do your osteotomies as I know for a fact that they are much better done when the patient is preschool or at least under 10. Still, the past can't be changed. But your situation will be when you have two nice new, shiny hips!

    Have you booked your surgery yet and do you know what kind of hip replacement you are having, meaning what kind of materials?
     
  6. cross24

    cross24 New Member

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    My surgery is scheduled for end of May and I'm not positive yet on the implants. I need to ask a few more questions, but I remember him saying "metal on plastic" and apparently uses the same system for all THRs regardless of age. There seem to be so many options on the material of the implants. Not sure what's most frequently used, but I trust he uses what offers the best outcome for his patients.
    On another note, there are days when I'm not on my feet much and my hips don't bother me too bad. Those are the days I begin to talk myself out of this surgery. And while reading others' post here, I wonder if my hip pain isn't "bad enough" yet to warrant this major surgery. Then there are days when I can hardly walk after being on my feet for just a few hours. It's so hard to judge!! Thoughts?
     
  7. haldox

    haldox Post-Grad

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    There is a thing called the Harris Hip Score, a little test to see how good/bad you are with hip pain-might help you a little bit.
     
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  8. Josephine

    Josephine NURSE DIRECTOR, BONESMART Administrator

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    Metal on plastic has been the gold standard since the beginning of hip replacements back in the 1970s! It therefore has data going back further than any other combo of materials and it's 99% sound. There have been literally millions of people walking around with metal on plastic hips. Read this case 45 years life span for a hip replacement!!
     
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  9. Jaycey

    Jaycey Moderator

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    Hi cross24, welcome to BoneSmart!

    I am a Smartie who came here wondering the same thing. I thought all my horrid hip pain was my back. The list of what is wrong with my back is far too long (stenosis, DDD, spondy....)! But I did wait too long for my THR.
    Please don't make that mistake. Your hips will deteriorate very quickly. The longer you wait the longer it will take to get things settled during your recovery.

    Will your back get aggravated - probably at first. But that pain can be managed and with a good PT you will see great results. Life is too short. Get those shiny new hips and get on with living. You won't regret it!
     
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  10. Jen

    Jen Senior

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    Cross, I second what Jaycey said about being careful not to wait to long. If you already have days where you can hardly move after being on feet for a while, that seems to signal that you're already pretty bad off. I certainly don't want to push you since surgery is a big step but I will tell you that I wish I hadn't waited as long as I did. Jaycey is right about things deteriorating quickly. In October of 2010 I was okay and could participate in my usual activities . By January 2011, my right hip had collapsed and walking was a struggle.

    You still have a good three months until the end of May so who knows where you'll be by then? In reading the recovery threads, I've found that many members fall into one of two groups: the people who wished they hadn't waited so long to have the surgery and the people who had the surgery before the pain became extremely debilitating and are glad that they did. I'm part of the first group but I sure do wish I were part of the second.
     
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  11. cross24

    cross24 New Member

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    That was really helpful Haldox! Thanks for the resource. My score was poor so I guess I should be ready.... (referring to the Harris Hip Score)
     
  12. cross24

    cross24 New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the advice on not waiting too long. I think it could quickly turn into a vicious cycle for me: decreased activity...decreased muscle tone...slower recovery...less than optimal outcome! I just need to embrace my surgical date and stop worrying so much!
     
  13. Kaaper

    Kaaper Junior Member

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    Hi Cross24,

    I am new myself, but wanted to wish you good luck and make a comment on waiting.

    When my hip was diagnosed with osteonecrosis more than three years ago, my private insurance company refused to cover the surgery at that point. As recently as six months ago, they still refused. As my pain had gone from annoying to disabling.

    When the veteran's administration first saw it in October, their very first comment was that it should have been replaced at least two years ago. So I have suffered a lot more than I needed to and would not want anyone else to go through that.
     
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  14. DallasSarah

    DallasSarah Post-Grad

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    Hello Cross24 and welcome to Bonesmart.

    You have had a very long journey we have other members who have endured pain for many years, sorry!

    Haldox and Jen are right, everyone with will tell you this, once your dr says its time to replace the hips there is no going back and they are not going to heal on their own just get worse and yes sometimes they deteriorate quickly. My last year (2011) was a roller coaster of intense crippling pain and then days I felt amazing, and those amazing days were really close to my surgery dates typical!

    Hope you share your journey with us!

    All the best,

    Sarah
     
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  15. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Exactly!!!:thumb:
     
  16. ozagility

    ozagility Junior Member

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    Hi Cross24, welcome to bonesmart.
    You mentioned your concern re up and coming BTHR and your chronic back pain, how your back would cope? I have had a back problem for almost 30 years , most days its fine but at least once a year my L5 disc will herniate and I am often flat on my back for over a week and having physio/manipulation to ease it back into place. So I kinda know where your coming from. This was a major presurgery concern of mine as well, would the surgery procedure, aggreivate my back condition. Luckily in my case it didn't, I did mention my back issue before surgery and on my admission form so they were aware of it. ALSO I took into hospital my little heat/buckwheat filled pack, (not allowed to microwave these in hospital due to health regulations) but I use it for support in bed or a chair behind the small of my back. Its squishy and small enough to lay on and helps my back all year round. I affectionately call it my "bean bag".
    The pillows under knees/ankles which are often used during THR recovery are also helpful for backs.
    FYI I am sooooo glad I took up the option of having bilateral, I was one of the number of bilaters on this forum who have had a relatively trouble free recovery and I'm now 11kws post op and feeling great.
    Good luck with your decision and I wouldn't think many surgeons would suggest a hip replacement unless it was time and no other option left.
     
  17. cross24

    cross24 New Member

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    Ozagility, Thanks for the reassuring comments and the great suggestions! It's nice to hear you've had a trouble free recovery so far. I hope my back symptoms will improve, but if they don't, at least I won't have hip pain with every step like I do now. And I'm REALLY tired of limping and waddling like a duck! Oh the comments I get.....:sigh:
    Did your hips deteriorate from classic osteoarthritis or did you have an underlying condition like me? I'm concerned about how successful the implants will be due to my bilateral dysplasia and previous surgery (on the right hip).
    Any other insight you can offer me as an "experienced bilat" would be so welcome! And best wishes for a continued speedy recovery!!
     
  18. ozagility

    ozagility Junior Member

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    Hi Cross24
    My hips had osteo arthritis, so I can only relay my progress as per presurgery arthritic symptoms and pain free post op. From reading many threads there are many many hip replacement recipients due to congenital disease and childhood degenerative causes. May I suggest you have a read on the post op forum and note some of the members ages as lots of the younger under 40's hippies are often because of reasons such as yours. You could ask them some questions.
    Jo and some of the other medicos will be able to answer more technical questions.
     
  19. Josephine

    Josephine NURSE DIRECTOR, BONESMART Administrator

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    "Classic" osteoarthritis? That's a new one on me!

    cross, it really doesn't matter what the cause of your bad hip is, it really doesn't.
    The treatment for many types of painful hip is replacement.
    Once the diseased or malformed bone is removed, it's just another hip joint being replaced with implants.
     
  20. bobslp

    bobslp Member

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    My guess would be that if your back pain is like mine, due to degenerative disks, the pain will probably be more tolerable if your back has strong supports (hips) under it. I have disk problems in my neck and lumbar areas and like you have constant pain. Thing is, the chronic pain is tolerable and manageable with opiate and nsaid meds. As my hip has deteriorated, my back has hurt worse. I think once I have my hip pain under control and my pelvis starts to equalize, the back will probably go back to it's regular chronic pattern. That's the plan anyway, from pain that disables to pain that can be tolerated. There is a big, big difference.
     
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