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Degenerative hip with degenerative spinal stenosis... any support welcomed

larrycopellarrycope Posts: 5
edited 04/20/2015 - 11:08 AM in Lower Back Pain
I'm 56 years old and have worked all my life since 18 and the last 25 as a salesperson in the retail fine jewelry industry I was made aware of a "bad hip" at age 18 and the doctor told me I'd be in a wheelchair between 40 and 45. I likely had Perthes as a young child. However, treating the hip carefully and not over taxing it preserved it.

This past December, I went to retrieve some clothes on the floor after showering and I was hit with the most excruciating pain I had ever felt. It took me 45 minutes just to dress as movement was pure agony. I went to the ER who took x-rays and said I had osteoarthritis in both hips and lower back and I was referred to a sports medicine bone and joint doctor.

The sports medicine doctor ordered a Cat scan and MRI of my hip. My PCP ordered the same for my lumbar area upon hearing of a residual burning, numbness and muscle spasms in the right leg. The sports medicine doc referred me to an Orthopedic Surgeon who said I'd sooner or later need the hip replaced as the femoral head resembled an egg. He sent me to a physiatrist in pain management for hip assessment and back assessment.

That doctor finally informed me that I had stenosis in l3-4 and L4-5. I had symptoms for the past 11 years but had written them off as my "bad" hip and plowed on. He gave me a hip injection to isolate what pain was going to what condition. The injection lasted maybe a week and he is getting authorization for a spinal epidural. We've already discussed the possibility of a laminectomy. I can't stand or walk for more than 15 or 20 minutes and this Easter I drove 60 miles to visit some friends. The trip killed me with muscle spasms, burning, an ache like a bum tooth only the whole leg and back ache. This was all while the hip was fairly recently injected.

During all this, I was working and missing work due to pain. It got to the point where I would take extra strength ibuprofen 6-8 times a day just to function. Literally, I had to begin using a cane in early January which I still use. Mid-Marc h, I went on FMLA and contacted an attorney for disability in early April.

Here are the issues. I've never had a surgery since age 4 for tonsils. In fact, I've been in the hospital only twice since then for a total of 3 days combined. My brother had discectomy and disc fusion in the mid 1990's for L4-5 and he now walks like Frankenstein and has lost the sensation in his left leg because of nerve damage at time of surgery. So, to say I am leery of not one but two fairly major surgeries puts it mildly. Even with the surgeries, I'll be out for a year or so based on my age and my condition. I'm a hefty man to be political and much of the weight was gained the past 5 years because of my assumed "bad" hip inhibiting exercise.

I realise that one surgery is inevitable and the other is very likely. I, also, realise that when one joint is replaced there's a likelihood of the other hip needing replaced down the road. I'm terrified the SSA will require me to undergo surgery which is difficult for me to handle mentally and emotionally.

Sorry for the length of this post and thank you to any who reply.



  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    I hired attorney to apply for disability, also, and with him guiding me and taking burden of lot of communications....very good decision for me. I received disability within six months. Hope all that goes very well for you, also.

    I do not have experience with surgery...as I am not a candidate re' my spinal issues. But with my Disability, about seven years now, I have not noticed any difference with how doctors assess and treat me.

    There may preauthorizations needed as I have done with my other insurance co.....

    My cognitive abilities are somewhat impaired due to vascular disease and strokes...and I find all the SS and Medicare info overwhelming at times....so for years now, I work with a social worker, at no cost to me.

    She helps me to navigate through what I need to know and also brings up things that I never even knew enough to ask about.
    Keep us posted with how things are going. Good luck!

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • My friend,
    My best advice is to read my previous post, I have gone though your pain. Read other post, and keep communicated with us, you will find our experiences similar. Most important is that you are at that point where surgery is in the near future . This procedure will need all your strength and family friends support. I wish you well
    Ronald J. Geron
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    Fixing one of them may provide you with some relief with the other. Hip problems associated with Osteoarthritis may at some pint require total hip replacement. But in the meantime, because of the problems you are having with your hip, I am sure that your natural walk is far from natural. So, that is putting a strain on your back.

    So, which one came first? If you fix the hip, will your back get better? If you do it the other way around, what then?

    One thing about advanced osteoarthritis, when the joint as degraded to the point of bone on bone, a replacement is about your only option. X-Rays are considered one of the best tests to determine the degree of damage done. So, you pretty much know that you have a hip problem.

    The spine isn't always that easy. So many people have herniated discs, dealing with degenerative disc disease and various levels of spinal stenosis. There may be times when the doctors need to really examine which condition should really be treated or if any?

    Fortunately, hip replacement surgery has become so common. I had both of my hips totally replaced and going over all my other surgeries, the actual surgery and recovery was by far the easiest and had the best long term positives.

    I wouldn't be that concerned about your age and recovery time. Sure, we dont have all the details you have, but I do know that I recovered from having both of my shoulders totally replaced as well as both hips after I was 60. It isnt always about the age, the surgeon plays a key role, but the patient really has the hardest task.

    With the various doctors you have been seeing, what has been their priority in terms of what to address with you?
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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