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How Much Does a Hip Replacement Operation Hurt?

By July 20, 2011 - 8:21am
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Well, yesterday while taking my son to the pediatrician he noticed that I was in pain and asked to examine me which was a bit of a shock considering he is a pediatrician! So I agreed as I've been in pain with my leg since January 2010. I've been taking gliucosamine for it which REALLY HELPED and has enabled me to keep walking. I have cerebral palsy and so just assumed it was one of those things I would have to put up with and the glucosamine enabled me to step over large steps and jump in and out of taxi's and the pain only got bad when I ran out of glucosamine, then I would take it again and it would go away so I figured I could deal with this.

Anyway, I hadn't had any for a while so I wasn't feeling that great and my son's pediatrician noticed. After he examined me he said he thought my left hip was 'gone' and sent me for an X-ray. The technician was joking that she'd X-rayed bigger teenagers than me and my son got a sticker, saying 'I sat still for my X-ray', even though I was the one who was X-rayed!

Well, they called a surgeon and he showed me the picture, and oh, it is NOT good. My hip has come out of the socket and I've been walking around with it dislocated since about January 2010 (when the pain started), but the socket has worn away due to the way I walk from the CP so they can't put it back in place. Essentially he said they will have to do a hip replacement operation :( This came as a massive shock, especially as I'm only 34.

The bad hip has twisted my spine and the surgeon thought maybe that is why I got occipital neuralgia - I have had almost constant headaches for 13 months now. I refused to take gabapentin, it wasn't compatible with glucosamine anyway, and I became gradually more tolerant to the anti-inflammatories until they weren't working well. I had a block put in but that wore off after 5 weeks.

So I'm obviously quite keen to fix the hip especially if it will also cure my neuralgia. The doctor said it might because once the hip is fixed it might straighten out my spine.

But, and here's the question (sorry this is so long winded), I am completely and utterly terrified. I recently watched my daughter's agonizing recovery from a complicated foot surgery and the morphine didn't work on her. She screamed for 3 days solid. I too have had bad experiences in hospitals with insufficient pain relief. One experience when I was 18 I was only given acetaminophen for a surgical procedure relating to childbirth and I was in the worst pain I have ever been in, in my life. I have never had that much pain since, even though I since had natural home births with no drugs, they were nothing compared to the pain I experienced in hospital.

So I want to ask, just how painful is a hip replacement? Because I can't go through with it if it is too painful. People say I am in pain now, but at least I know what that feels like. I feel that if I consent, I am going into the slaughterhouse. Sounds a bit ridiculous but I really doubt my ability to cope with a major operation if it is going to really hurt.

So if anyone has had a hip replacement, can you please tell me what your pain level was like?

I am so upset I am considering not consenting.

Thank you.

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I'm sorry to hear it Joanna, I asked a relative (60's) and she said that what she experienced was quite painful, and the feeling she experience while she's rehabilitating was excruciating. She can't manage it. But by the time she recovered, she thought it was perfect. She adjusted with device quite fast, though she still feel stingy pain once in a while, but that was normal when she consulted the surgeon. I hope that it will be a fast recovery and it go will go well with you. I suggest you visit this site, http://www.rotlaw.com/wright-conserve-hip/, it has information about hip implants. This may give you an idea.

Good luck!


May 22, 2012 - 1:47pm

Thanks Susan!

I haven't yet decided whether I am going to have surgery or not, but your comments have been helpful!


July 29, 2011 - 5:59am
HERWriter Guide

Hi Joanna

Thanks for your question and I'm sorry your hip needs replacing. I can't believe you have been walking around with a dislocated hip for so long!

With regard to pain, I asked several relatives (two much older, one quite young) about their pain and both said it was slightly painful but more uncomfortable than really painful. The harder adjustment was not being ambulatory for a while and not being able to do what they used to be able to do.

But like one of my relatives (she was in her early 40s) you're a lot younger than many who get replacements so recovery may actually be better for you. My relative did very well and was not in terrible pain although was on some pain medications after surgery. You may also be put on painkillers to deal with any pain post-surgery. None of my relatives regretted their hip replacements, all of them would do it over again!

I hope this gives you some input but even better - we hope people who have gone through this will see this page and give you the benefit of their experiences themselves!


July 20, 2011 - 12:37pm
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