Thursday, July 03, 2014

Hip pain

Starting on Monday, I began to experience a familiar form of hip pain I’ve had to deal with many times before. Some time ago, I went to a doctor about this hip pain, and was told I had bursitis in my hip. The doctor advised I use the ice-pack (15-on and 15-off method) and Ibuprofen until it cleared up. Well, it did clear up, and cleared up again when I repeated that treatment. So on Monday, when it started up again, I started the treatment again.

But the problem was, that did not seem to help this time. The pain only got worse. It was agonizing trying to get out of bed each morning; I had to lift myself up just by grabbing the headboard. Every time I stood up or sat down, I’d cry out in pain because it hurt so much. Walking became extremely painful, especially with the pain in my left hip going down into my leg. I could not sit down for very long, either, because it hurt too much or because I had too hard of a time getting back up again. And by yesterday, the pain was so bad, I could not lift my left leg. For 2 days, my kids have put my socks and shoes on for me because I could not bend over. I was barely able to dry myself off after my shower this morning; Jennifer had to dry my hair!

By this morning, I noticed the swelling in my hip was pretty bad. I was actually stunned when I saw how swollen my hip was. It looked like something was growing on top of it! Plus, I could barely walk.

That’s when I decided it was time to go to Urgent Care. But I could not go alone, since I could barely get into and out of the car. (The kids had to lift my leg into the car when I drove Jesse to summer school this morning because I could NOT lift my left leg!) Thank goodness I can drive with my right leg just fine but my left leg was pretty much useless. In fact, sometimes it was limp and numb. So hubby got out of bed this morning to drive both me and Jennifer to Urgent Care. (Jennifer was my interpreter.) We had to wait for over an hour to be seen and it was agonizing. I was in so much pain!

But finally, they called me in. I needed help to get out of the chair as well as lie on the bed, change into a gown and move around to lie flat. It was really, really painful to move. The nurse took my vitals and we talked about my medical history. Then the doctor came in and I told her about what was going on, and I mentioned the bursitis. She examined me and, oh my goodness, it hurt when she moved my left leg around. She even tested my nerves on my left leg with the knee test and my leg didn’t react at all. That freaked me out!

The doctor wanted an X-ray and it was more pain to get into a wheelchair AND be positioned on the X-ray table. Ugh! The X-rays were actually fine; there was nothing visibly broken or anything. While the doctor looked at the X-rays, Jennifer and I got to talking in the exam room. I told her I think this was happening because of all the time I’d spent at the computer desk, leaning over in my chair and putting strain onto my hip. I did have a habit of occasionally getting up from the desk and moving around, but apparently, that was not enough and it was still too much strain on my hip. I mean, I was not even sitting up straight in the chair. Jennifer agreed that is probably what happened.

When the doctor returned, I told her about this idea and she said it was an interesting theory. She went on to talk about the X-rays and that it was indeed bursitis in my hip. She also said I have sciatica because the hip was so inflamed that it affected the sciatic nerve, which is the nerve that goes into my leg. She said I should take a stronger dose of Ibuprofen and keep applying the ice (though for 20 minutes at a time instead of 15). And get up to move around more often. She said movement was a good thing. (The X-ray tech had indicated the same thing when she asked if it hurt less the more I moved around – I told her yes, it did.) 

When the doctor left, the nurse returned with paperwork. We asked her if the doctor knew what had caused this to happen and the next thing I knew, Jennifer was cheering. I asked her what the nurse said in answer to the question and Jennifer said, “Our theory!” Yay, us! We figured out the problem!

I read over the follow-up instructions and was surprised to see that one of the things the doctor recommended was walking. She said that walking will help my hip to get better and to try to walk a little more every day. I DO love walking but have not walked for a long time because I either never had the time to go for a walk or I was in too much pain. Well, it’s doctor’s orders now, so I gotta make a point to do it! (Er, when the weather is good, that is.)

I am hopeful this will help my hip get better. The doctor said it will be 2-3 days before I see any changes (I have used ice on my hip and back twice so far today but the swelling has not gone down yet). I am going to follow her instructions – and make sure that, from now on, I sit straighter when I am at the computer desk!

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