hips do lie

Hip pain.  Got it again.  The left hip is the real bastard.  The one that came on like a tidal wave one spring evening at work in, god, was it 2005 or 2006?

I started feeling like my legs were tired, like I’d walked miles.  I thought “ok, time to get going” and gathered my stuff to leave.  I didn’t get far before I felt this intense pressure-like pain in my hip, like a cramp starting but deep inside the joint.  I thought I needed to adjust my gait a bit, smaller slower steps and just walk it off.  But it got worse.  By the time I made it the next few yards to a short retaining wall, it felt like my hip was going to pull off of my body – an angular pressure with the top lateral part of the hip feeling like it was pushing outward and away from me with the interior medial part feeling like it was pushing inward towards my groin and other leg.  I couldn’t stand, and eventually couldn’t even sit.  I had to lay down in this very odd pose and keep calling friends on my cell phone for help.

And so started the now “chronic” hip pain.

Just like every other chronic thing.  Started out as a “wow, what the hell is THAT?!” feeling and, as a result of non-specific or negative tests which didn’t point to a cause or a treatment, has become something my body just does now.  I manage it through inactivity, ice packs, and NSAIDs.  This works pretty well – although what the level of inactivity is doing to the rest of my body is probably not great – e.g. being all hypotensive and whatnot, I really should try to keep some level of activity up, keep those leg muscles in good working order.  But the practical issue is that I need to NOT be in pain, because when I’m in pain I can’t get around.  And that means not working.  So I take what is for the immediate time the only solution.  That I may be paying for this with an increase in fatigue-related systemic symptoms is not lost on me and is something I can get quite unhappy about if I stop and think about it much.

stylized x-ray image of left hip, 35 year old woman with recurring lateral hip pain

my hip is a dirty liar

There are times though when my activity level is necessarily higher.  Like moving.  I didn’t carry anything heavy yesterday, but apparently I carried enough up and down short flights of stairs and across uneven floor boards to get the hip going again.  Do I mention the pain to my primary care on Friday?  (got a follow up follow up then, had been hoping it was a wrap up or at least a sort of chapter summary type visit)  I’m not really thrilled with that thought.  It’s not like I glossed over it in the history.  But if I bring it up as an acute issue or an exacerbated chronic one, I might send my doctor off on another flurry of referrals.  Which would be ok with me except I think they’d be useless.  Believe me, the hip’s been worked up.  The only thing that I can think of that hasn’t been looked at is the vascular side of things.  Yes, I’ve had the usual inflammation blood work, all nice and normal.  Slightly elevated ANA, but I’m told it’s nothing to write home about at the levels it’s at.  Apparently if you don’t have serological evidence of inflammation, ain’t nothing wrong with your blood vessels.  At least this is the message I have received from doctors.

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  1. R. G. Maines

     /  October 17, 2010

    I feel for you! I have degenerative joint disease in every one of the larger joints of my body. My hips pop and shift, feel like they are ‘stoved’, like the way you jam your thumb sometimes, when playing sports…

    I have pinched nerves in my pelvic area, sitting, standing, walking and even laying down are painful, incredibly so. The pain can be so bad it brings tears to my eyes.

    It too is chronic. Why are so many of us permitted to live our lives in so much pain, when we have made so many medical advances???

    • Wow, that is just terrible. I can’t imagine having this pain in so many places. My hips always used to pop when I was younger – even when I was a little kid. An orthopedic surgeon I saw in CT said my joints were “hypermobile”, which sounds right, my ankles always used to bend so far that they’d sometimes touch the ground when I ran. Eek. I guess as I get older, this is taking a toll. I do wish they’d figure it out though! I know that they can do hip replacements but it certainly seems like there should be more that can be done to prevent that – it’s such a radical step and from what I read it doesn’t always fix things.

  2. “Apparently if you don’t have serological evidence of inflammation, ain’t nothing wrong with your blood vessels. At least this is the message I have received from doctors.”

    No kidding! That is the message I get as well. It just doesn’t make sense and docs should recognize that by now. I had a gallium scan – al it does is check for inflammation and mine showed no inflammation. None. Mind you, my shoulder and arm were in spasm and I have a thyroid nodule which supposedly is constantly inflammed.


    It is awful that the only real response to your hip you have is to just deal. Goin through more visits, more tests, more useless findings, is something you don’t need. I wish I could do something. That someone could do something to help. ❤

    • I need to write up a list of “things to talk about” before this appointment – that is for sure.

      Gallium scan…ugh. Had one for the hip and boy that’s not something I want to repeat.


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