When you’re living with chronic pain, it can be hard to keep track of your symptoms over time. Was walking up the stairs harder today than it was yesterday? How long has putting on your shoes been such a challenge? Questions like these can make it difficult to pinpoint the moment that your hip pain and stiffness are severe enough to need surgery.
Hip replacement is a major procedure, but it can be life-changing for patients with severe hip pain and immobility. If you find yourself nodding along with the points in this post, it may be time to ask your doctor if total hip replacement surgery is the right option for you.
1. Your hip pain keeps you from performing daily tasks.
If your hip joint is damaged by arthritis, osteonecrosis, or injury, you may experience pain and a limited range of motion in the joint. Signs that your hip is damaged enough to need surgery may include experiencing difficulty:
- Standing for a minute or longer, even with support
- Walking up or down stairs
- Putting on socks and shoes
- Standing up from a seated position
- Walking a normal distance
- Standing on one leg, even with support
2. You’re having trouble sleeping.
For some people, living with chronic pain means dealing with a cycle of insomnia and fatigue that gets worse over time. In the short term, sleep disruption can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and memory problems. Long-term sleep problems can cause more severe effects, including increased risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, weight problems, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Good sleep is crucial to your overall health. Make sure your healthcare provider knows if your hip pain is keeping you up at night.
3. Your mental health is affected.
Even if you’re used to your hip issues, that doesn’t mean that the chronic pain and stiffness aren’t taking a toll on your mental health. Chronic pain can lead to the development of mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.
Whether or not you decide to get a total hip replacement, you should talk to someone you trust if your hip condition is affecting your mental health. Your physician may even be able to recommend a therapist that specializes in treating the emotional symptoms caused by chronic pain.
4. Treatments aren’t helping.
Hip replacement surgery shouldn’t be your first treatment option for your hip pain. Your provider will recommend non-surgical treatments first. These may include pain medication, anti-inflammatory pills or shots, steroid injections, physical therapy, and weight loss. If you’ve tried different treatments for your hip pain and still haven’t found relief, it may be time to talk to your doctor about hip replacement surgery.
5. The damage is getting worse.
Some conditions, such as arthritis, can cause your symptoms to worsen over time. For example, osteoarthritis may damage the cartilage that cushions the bones in your hip joint and prevents them from rubbing against each other as they move. As you use your hip joint, the cartilage wears out even further. This leads to increased pain and stiffness in your hip. In cases like this, your provider may recommend hip replacement surgery to keep the damage in your joint from getting worse.
6. You’re ready for long-lasting relief.
People who undergo hip replacement surgery typically experience increased mobility, reduced pain, and an overall improvement in their quality of life. Their hip replacement may actually help them live longer too, according to one 2018 study.
Many treatments for hip pain can only provide temporary relief. Steroid injections typically only last for a couple of months. Painkillers may only last a few hours. Hip replacement surgery is an alternative that can provide long-lasting relief. Around 95% of hip replacements still function well after 10 years, and, with proper care, many may last 20 years or more.
Is hip replacement surgery worth it?
Treatments for hip pain and immobility can range from over-the-counter medicines to major surgery. To decide which is right for you, you’ll need to work with your healthcare provider to determine the cause of your pain and the extent of damage to your hip joint.
For some people, hip replacement surgery is the best option to regain the use of their hip joint. If you’re ready to take the next step and schedule a consultation for your surgery, New Choice Health can help. Our Orthopedic Surgery Patient Assist program pairs patients with qualified surgeons at fair, affordable prices. Click here to learn more and get a free quote for your hip replacement.