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Hip Pain - Bilateral - in 77 Year Old

TessGTTessG Posts: 23
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all,

I'm taking care of my 77 year old mother, who had L5-S1 posteriar lumbar fusion on June 10th. She began having bilateral hip pain about week 2 and it continues today, usually only when rolling from side to side in bed or getting out of bed. The pain is excrutiating and brings her tears just about every time she tries to get out of bed.

She has been relatively healthy before the surgery, and was an active person before her back went out about 9 months ago. I'm 43 and she could run circles around me! She was a swing dancer, antique shop owner... very active, productive person. Now, almost 4 weeks after surgery, she mostly just sleeps. I force her to get out of bed about 3-4 times a day to walk around the house but it tires her very much on each trip. I hear about you people walking MILES and here we are just calling each additiona STEP a success.

The surgeon (one of the best in our area) just says, "Pain is normal". Well, I don't hear too many of you having hip pain like this and am starting to wonder. Are these muscle spasms? She didn't have a graft from her hip... they used a synthetic. Ideas? She is taking Lortab 7.5's every 4 hours and muscle relaxers, but they don't really rid her of this pain.

Thanks! This forum has been a Godsend for information... the doctors sure don't tell you what to expect!


  • Hi Tess,

    God bless you for taking care of your mother. It must be hard on you not only physically but emotionally to see your previously healthy mother in pain. I am not sure of why she is experiencing hip pain, but maybe due to her surgery she is compensating somehow in a way that puts more stress on that joint. Or maybe it is this sudden inactivity that is such a change from her prviously active life.

    As far as walking, remember everybody recovers differently. Don't let people's account of walking miles weeks after surgery discourage you. Let yourr mom do it at her own pace. It is important that she'd get out of bed frequently, but even a few steps are better than nothing.

    After my three-level fusion, I could not walk more than half a block even a couple of weeks later. But eventually I could walk more and more. So even if she is walking for five minutes and repeats it several times that is good. Pain should be the guide here "no pain no gain" does not apply here. Also, if she is taking pain medication maybe taking it 15-20 minutes before walk would help.

    Good luck to both of you

    Kin :) :) :) :)
  • Thanks for your replies. Paulgla, I don't think it's her hips, because once she's up and out of bed, walking, it doesn't bother her nearly as much as the initial rolling over and getting out of bed. When we walk, her legs get very tired, but that's to be expected, I think; she never had pain in her hips before 2 weeks ago (post surgery).

    I guess we'll just keep plugging along. It's just so frustrating that there isn't a more definitive path to recovery so we could no what was normal and what isn't. When she's lying flat, she's very comfortable. The pain is so severe when getting up it's, unfortunately, preventing her from wanting to do all the walking they say is necessary for healing.
  • And some times still do..but those first few weeks were HORRIBLE...my doctor said it's nerve related but man it was worst then my back at times. But like your Mother mine started prior to my surgery as well. It's gotten much better but I do still need extra cushioning at night to get any sleep (honestly the couch was more comfy for my hips and no rolling over needed...plus a back rest). My surgeon offered to give me a different pain medicine that would help with the nerves but would also affect my central nervous system so I opted to wait it out. I was on Lortab like your Mom but that's all I was taking. For me the pain was in my hips (and like I said is still there) but then I also wound up having pain in my hamstring and calf (left side only) that was even worse...(so watch out for her complaining of leg pain as well). I would cry from the calf/hamstring pain sometimes. Luckily that only lasted a week and a half (sorry I'm rambling).

    Ask the doctor there is anything she can take to help with the nerve related pain....or if she thinks she can hold out a little longer it may slowly start to go away...mine is...very slowly I might add!
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