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…

 

About Barbara Keddy

I am a Professor Emeritus, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. My B.Sc.is in Nursing while my MA. and Ph.D. are in Sociology. I am married, a mother and grandmother living on the east coast of Canada. I have personally lived with fibromyalgia for about 40 years. I published a book with iUniverse in 2007. This book detailed living with this condition and allowed the voices of twenty women who have fibromyalgia to tell their stories.
This entry was posted in Fibromyalgia, fibromyalgia and hip surgery, pain, slowing down. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Fibromyalgia After Hip Surgery: A slow process

  1. Brigitte Hahnemann says:

    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. 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!
    Regards,
    Barbara

  3. Ellen says:

    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.
    Ellen

  4. 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!
    Barbara

  5. Marishka says:

    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. 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,
    Barbara

  7. Terry Johnson says:

    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. 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!
    Regards,
    Barbara

  9. Monalea Hutchins says:

    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.
    Monalea

  10. 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,
    Barbara

  11. Alison Morland says:

    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. 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.
    Regards,
    Barbara

  13. Alice Crotty says:

    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. 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.
    Regards,
    Barbara

  15. Alice Crotty says:

    Barbara
    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

    Alice

  16. Donna Helzer says:

    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. 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,
    Barbara

  18. Susana Green says:

    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. 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,
    Barbara

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