Fibromyalgia After Hip Surgery: A slow process

” Patience is a conquering virtue”, Geoffrey Chaucer

So, the hip replacement happened almost three weeks ago. I had hoped that when I took my first step post operatively I would not have pain. So many people told me that would  happen. I should have known better. Of course there is still pain. It is too soon for me to know the nature of it. Is it fibromyalgia? The scar? The hip itself? I thought I was the expert of my own body but it has now had an assault of a different nature. I believe I will have a handle on it in a few more weeks. For now, I am trying to live every day in a slower manner. At first I rushed through walking, stopped using the walker too soon and developed shin splints. It is my misfortune I am not patient and calm. I have learned even more about this highly motivated personality of mine. Are all of us with fibromyalgia this energetic type who suffers because we rush through life?

It is a beautiful summer day with a slight breeze. Time to heal.

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I will write more in a few weeks, for now, breathe and slow down…


33 thoughts on “Fibromyalgia After Hip Surgery: A slow process

  1. Brigitte Hahnemann

    Dear Barbara,
    I can understand what it feels like to undergo an operation and find out that things haven`t really changed to the better.
    Whether it`s Fibromyalgia, the fresh scar, the hip itself –
    you seem to have given your own answer (at least a part of it) : Rushing, especially through a healing period won`t be of great help (; That`s what comes to my mind, being just that sort of energetic and highly motivated type myself. Easy to tell others, more diffcult to live it, I admit.
    Sitting here with my right hip aching quite badly ( without operation) I keep my fingers crossed for you and wish you all the best for recovery and as much patience as it takes. Love and compassion from Biggi

  2. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Biggi: Thanks for your words of encouragement. I am trying very hard to slow down and practice patience. It isn’t easy! Do you also need a hip replacement? I hope you are having a good summer and that you aren’t experiencing much rain and dampness as we are here in Nova Scotia!

  3. Ellen

    Sorry to hear you’re having a tough period Barbara. Take care of yourself (which I’m sure you are doing!) and be kind and forgiving to yourself.

  4. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Thanks Ellen: Each day gets a little better. The body takes on another scar and the neural pathway in the brain remembers. Now to soothe it and tell it there isn’t any danger. We accumulate so many physical and emotional scars and those of us with fibromyalgia find it difficult to let go of the trauma.
    But, I am improving!

  5. Marishka

    So glad to hear you are improving, Barbara, despite the pain and discouragement. I am hoping you will be over the hump and glad you took the chance for better functioning soon. A friend of mine almost gave up hope after her knee work, but finally got to the place where she thinks it was worth iit. May the same happen for you! It takes courage for you to share all this, so thank you for that, also…You’ll never know, if you don’t write, that readers care about you, or that some are in the same situation.

  6. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Thank you so much Marishka!
    I am indeed improving and finding it an interesting, if tedious, process. People ask me if the pain in the hip is now gone and I really don’t know how to answer them. Having lived with pain for 50 years I am so used to various kinds that differentiating one type from another is not easy. This is why we often attribute all pain as that of fibromyalgia when in fact it can be from something else. Our fibro muscles are generally weakened because of misuse or lack of use so that pain shifts easily from one area to another. The good news for me is that the surgeon said I have very hard bones :”the bones of a 30 year old”, so I can tell it isn’t bone but rather muscles and nerve pain. My brain can’t tell one type of pain from another, although there are many descriptors such as stabbing, shock-like, dull, aching. At the surgery site it is now a dull ache so that is good news.
    After all this long diatribe about my symptoms I do know that I am getting stronger each day and will soon not need a cane! That’s the most positive and hearing from such kind people as you helps the healing process.
    Kind regards,

  7. Terry Johnson

    I am right with you Barb, had hip surgery 4 1/2 weeks ago.I also have the Fibro, seems to be going very slowly, yet I can walk for a bit without cane or walker, but have pain afterwards all over body as well as surgery site. The worst part is the patience, resting, I am also a person who is high energy doing several projects at once., it just takes longer for us to heal….meditation helps. …good luck on your healing journey!

  8. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Hello Terry:
    Since it has been a year since my hip surgery I believe the pain in the hip is much less, although some days I wonder! I seem to have your temperament and want everything done yesterday. It hasn’t been a quick recovery and my mobility isn’t great. However. massages to feet, calves and thighs are loosening up those muscles and with the help of Gabapentin and medical marijuana oil I am managing in spite of the many flare-ups.
    Best wishes in your recovery. Its early days yet so don’t expect too much from yourself!

  9. Monalea Hutchins

    I have been suffering with the pain of fibromyalgia for a couple of years and since a year ago hip pain. They say I need a replacement but have had a long term UTI and no surgery with that. I don’t know what else to say, I feel like I am in some sort of pain limbo. Best wishes to you.

  10. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Aw, dear Monalea: I don’t know what to say either. The pain we experience is exacerbated by other types of pain that are probably not the effects of fibromyalgia, e.g. hip pain. I have to say that although the research showed that fibromyalgia patients do not do very well after knee and hip replacements or, in fact, other surgeries, I thought I would be the exception. I wasn’t. Recovery has taken longer than usual and the fibromyalgia has become worse. I know what you mean, but I am not sure about the UTI and surgery? In the long run if you need a replacement I wouldn’t just off hand deny having one.It is indeed a difficult decision and I’m sure your surgeon can help you make an informed decision. Although this past year post surgery has been difficult for me I can at least walk somewhat better than before the surgery. Best wishes with the decision making.
    Kind regards,

  11. Alison Morland

    Hi after reading all these comments I do feel alittle positive…..I’ve had fibromyalgia for 12 yrs sjroans for 15….I’m 3month into recovering from hip replacement and I’m crippled so stiff so tight….I went to hydropool with physio did fair few excisise couldn’t walk the next few days bk to my stick fed up don’t know what to do cos my other hip needs doin but surgeonsays hang on to my other hip…I do understandcos I’m in my 50s but I’m crippled

  12. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Hi Alison: I know exactly how you feel. It has been two year since my hip surgery and I think my brain has still not adjusted to the trauma of surgery. I can only walk about half a block and have to relax and wait for a few minutes before continuing on.But you are early days yet and with pool physio you will do well, I’m sure. My problem is with my herniated disks and especially chronic fatigue. I wish you the very best of luck with your rehab.

  13. Alice Crotty

    I am exactly 4 weeks today from total hip replacement
    I have had fybromialgia for more than 20 years but live with it have been treated for th he bad hip for 6 years and then doctors says hip replacement is only option
    I believe doctor was negligent in not looking at my whole body the pain from day one was not managed for at least a week and finally with time released oxicode overlapped with 5/325 codeine took the edge off . Next constipation extremely bad so two days ago cut way back to help with constipation
    Physical therapy is pain pain pain because not understood about fybromialgia
    Depression of course has set in NOW
    But after reading this blog I feel I am not alone and will make it through this surgery
    I have the best husband and that is a big positive
    Thanks Alice

  14. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Oh, dear Alice. I am almost at the two year point from my hip replacement. They found that my buttock muscles on that side had torn off the bone and I suspect that was giving me the pain. Not sure I needed a hip replacement. Nonetheless, I found that of course this alerted my brain to become anxious as does all surgery, major or minor. So please do prepare yourself with lots of meditation and calming therapies beforehand and afterwards. Like you, I have a wonderful husband so that is definitely a plus. Good luck and keep in touch. Read some of my other blogs and take heart. Be brave.

  15. Alice Crotty

    How sweet to know there is someone else out there having to change their expectations on what will be the new normal

    Disappointed but will get over that too

    My doctor had my records but just did not take in to consideration the fybromialgia at all


  16. Donna Helzer

    I am 2+ weeks out from THR and can hardly walk. I too have a Fibromyalgia and I’m sure that the trauma from surgery has Fibro raising it’s ugly head. I have friends that have been thru total hip replacement and driving at 3 weeks and walking without support. I know that everyone heals at a different rate, right now the pain is worse than before surgery. I’m taking 10 mg of Norco every 5-6 hours which does help. I’ve also noticed spasms in my thigh and groin area especially at night. I see my doctor next week and will ask when I can start taking a anti inflammatory med to help. I have not started PT yet, just doing exercises that the hospital gave me to do at home.

    This site is wonderful gives me insight as to what others are experiencing with their recovery’s progress.

  17. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Donna: Ironically today is the 2 year anniversary of my hip replacement, June 23rd so reading your comment brought back so many memories of those first weeks and months. You absolutely CANNOT compare yourself with others. The many people I know have had such varied experiences after hip replacements that it is useless to wonder why we cannot keep up with how they did. I knew it would be difficult for me given I have herniated disks in my back that would hold me back- and it did. Even to this day I can’t walk far but not because of my hip but my back. I have to stop every two minutes to let my back settle before continuing! So… would you compare yourself to me? By contrast I met a woman yesterday who after 6 weeks is walking like she had never had surgery. WE ARE ALL UNIQUE! Added to which the brain of those of us with fibro is on high alert after invasive surgery, knowing we have had an invasion in our body and sending our central nervous system into hyper-arousal. I love the contemporary saying: Keep calm and carry on! Two weeks? Ha! you are barely out of surgery. You will do fine!!!! Breathe! Do as much as you can and be gentle with your nervous system. Talk to it. Tell your brain all is okay and practice self compassion, and gentleness with yourself.
    In solidarity,

  18. Susana Green

    Thank you all for your posts, it’s been wonderful to find this site and read Barbara’s 2 year journey.
    I had THR surgery 11 weeks ago and have had fibro for 30 years plus. Like Barbara I have disc issues too.
    I knew progress would be slow , and that physiotherapy would cripple me if I tried to do it at the recommended rate. So I am pacing it slow. I still tried too soon to walk outdoors without support, with resulting pain in the other hip and nerve pain
    both thighs, now gettingng over that set back.
    Your posts have encouraged me to slow down,and be patient.
    Best wishes Sue

  19. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Hi Susana: Thank you so much for your comments. I had read before my hip surgery that fibro patients do not do well after surgery that it is too much for the central nervous system to tolerate easily. I imagined I would be different and would do very well. I was wrong once again. Two years+ my hip and left buttock still aches. It is indeed very disheartening.I also had pain then in the other hip and although that has subsided I continue with nerve pain in both feet now! It is never ending it seems.
    Your word PACING is key! If only I would heed that magic word.Along with aging the central nervous system is so easily traumatized and easily triggered the only way I can deactivate it is by pacing.I wish you well. Living with fibro is hard work.
    Do take care, Kind regards,

  20. leashia hoehn

    I was so glad I found this site. I have had fibromyalgia for 15 years. I’m 58 now and I have had 2 back surgeries in 2016 and have chronic pain but at least I can walk. I was mountain biking and fell and broke my hip last August (2018) and am dealing with chronic hip pain when I walk. I am like you all~ very active and have a hard time resting so my frustration level is high. I was glad to read your stories so I don’t feel so alone in my journey. I use a CBD powder to help with inflamation and pain. It does help for short periods. I still use Aleve on days when I have to be up and using my leg , someday it works and other days it doesn’t so idk. I don’t use any opioids because the drs won’t prescribe any now. I have tried the low dose(5mg) of THC to help my anxiety and it works for that and helps with the pain to. I know I’m self
    Medicating but I’m not able to go to the Dr because our insurance is so high and our deductible is 7,500.00 each so I just do what I can. We live up in the north so it’s dark and cold and I have a tendency to get depressed. All our children and grandchildren love hundreds of miles from us so I’m grateful for FaceTime. I hope this will help someone who might be trying to cope with some of the same issues. God bless you and lead you to what you need to help you in your journey.??

  21. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Leashia: Sorry for the long delay in responding to you. Been out of circulation for awhile but feeling a bit better now. I relate to all you say and know all about hip pain even after my hip replacement almost two years ago! I also acknowledge that I too use marijuana cream on my hip and it does seem to help although I wonder if just massaging it without the cream would be just as good! Using CBD with just a little THC does help with anxiety, which after all, anxiety (chronic) is the main cause of fibromyalgia! If only generalized anxiety could be eliminated permanently. Unfortunately we developed this in childhood and it is our lifelong challenge. Luckily, deep breathing, exhaling the out breath, meditation and light exercise DO help! Above all do remember to BREATHE!
    Kind regards,

  22. Bon Yearwood

    I have Fibro now for 25 years. I fell and broke my hip. I did not have a hip replacement because I had a femoral neck fracture. They decided to screw it together instead. I was off my leg totally for 6 weeks. It is 7 weeks post op now , and I have been getting physical therapy at home. My bone healed perfectly, but I am getting excruciating pain in my hip, and leg. I am also getting that same excruciating pain from my neck down to my feet…..since the surgery. It is unbearable pain.

    Has anyone experienced not only continuing pain after the surgery, but also the entire body as well? Never in my life has my Fibro been this painful. Help!

  23. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Bon:I am so sorry that I have not responded before this. I have had carpal tunnel surgery myself and my hands have been suffering as a result. Without doubt those of us with fibromyalgia do not do well with any kind of surgery. Because our central nervous system is on high alert most of the time, any kind of crisis will precipitate more malfunctioning of the CNS. It becomes difficult to differentiate from the pain of surgery and a fibro flareup.It is indeed disheartening. My hip replacement of 3 years ago still causes me discomfort and if I over exert the CNS imagines re-injury. I wish I could be more encouraging! Meditate, stationary bike, moderate exercise should all help somewhat.
    Best wishes,

  24. Lisa

    Hi I’m 9 weeks post hip replacement and fibro I potter around the house fine and am driving but have extreme stiffness and walk oddly unti I loosen up I’m so frustrated with it , the physiology said I walk well without my crutches weight bearing but when I tried a walk out of the house I’ve been in pain all over , down my legs in my knees getting so disheartened x

  25. Darla Dempster

    I am into week 5 post hip replacement. Still using the stupid walker. No patience left. Therapy 3x a week. I’m just starting to lift that leg while on my back. Not to far but need help getting it start to lift. Anybody else have this problem? I was told walker 1 week. Tried walking without walker but I limp and the therapist said no to that. Can anybody help me out here.?

  26. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Darla: I hope you are doing better now since it has been a few weeks post surgery. My hip replacement was three years ago and I still feel the effects. The fibromyalgia flare ups attack the most vulnerable area of the body. Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing now, Regards, Barbara

  27. Donna Helzer

    I had posterior left hip replacement 16 months ago and it was a long recovery for me as well. I didn’t realize that having Fibromyalgia would hinder the recovery time. I had 3 friends that had the same procedure and they were driving within a month and off all pain med’s. I used a walker for 8 weeks and didn’t drive until 12 weeks. Hopefully, you are dong much better now, darn Fibromyalgia it really does hamper your recovery.
    Take Care, Donna

  28. Alice crotty

    20 months and never the same from anterior hip replacement surgery
    Just pain pain never the same
    Tried CBD but didn’t find great help
    Trying 1/2 5mg Valium and 1/2 Vicodin 10/325
    And this seems to help for a few hours so take when things are at the worst each day

  29. Jean Hardman

    Hi my name is jean and I have had fibromyalgia for about 15yrs and also suffer with osteoarthritis in most joints,including my spine,my consultant says I need a hip replacement but after reading all the comments I don’t know wether to still go ahead with it or not,totally anxious now ,just don’t know what to do ,please is there any advice for me

  30. Barbara Keddy Post author

    I wish I knew what to suggest, Jean. All kinds of surgery results in our hyper-aroused central nervous system becoming agitated. I had a hip replacement three years ago and it was semi successful, while I have known others with fibromyalgia who were 100% successful. With patients being discharged the same day as the surgery nowadays I suspect there will be less trauma than remaining in the hospital for several days… that is, if you have support at home.
    Nonetheless if you want to keep walking you need to have it attended to so I don’t know if you have much choice, except to bite the bullet and listen to your physician.
    Best wishes,

  31. Peggy Sue Zinn

    I have had fibro for over 20 years. I am a little engine that could and I don’t just give up. I am a photographer and I bloody well want my life and mobility back. I was struggling with knees and hip before covid, but not getting out and being active has made it worse. Before covid kept telling doctor that it felt like something was pinched in my hip joint and it was so painful. He kept saying just arthritis but it wasn’t. I found later nerve was being pinched in lower sacrum. Finally found help with chiropractor and good PT, and was making head way. Now, I found out that blood flow to hip bone head is gone and the bone is basically dead. I don’ t want a hip replacement, but my regular Dr thinks it is going to have to be done. See hip surgeon next week. I have had several surgeries most went okay and did well with recovery, except for when the did implants after breast cancer. I reacted so badly to those it took me two years after they were taken out, after only being in four months, to fully recover my immunity system. It really made me sick, not just pain wise but exposure to any little flu or cold and I would catch it. I worry that I will have same reaction to implant material in joint replacement. Have any of you experienced that or have advice? The one thing that helped me recover my immunity system was steady elderberry supplements. I now try to use anything by man made medicine to control as much as I can. Arnica, Elderberry, turmeric etc.

  32. Barbara Keddy Post author

    I know what you mean Peggy Sue Zinn: It seems that our bodies are so sensitive that anything new alerts the central nervous system and aggravates us dramatically. I had cataract surgery years ago and to this day my eyes are unduly sensitive and water non stop. The eye doc says to use the heated mask he sold me and that eye drops should help but nothing does. I always imagine my CNS telling my brain to get rid of those foreign objects. Its the same with my hip surgery AND I had carpal tunnel surgery and my hands hurt almost nonstop for the assault on them from the surgery(although the surgery was successful for not having to wake up at night cause my arms were asleep) But now one thumb has ‘trigger finger’. Alert, says the CNS, but life can’t always let the nervous system be in control. It can be very discouraging and impossible to avoid all stress!
    Best wishes,

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