When you are suffering from hip pain brought on by arthritis or other serious condition it’s easy to resort to the most obvious solution: Hip replacement. Depending on the extent of your pain, your age, and your condition, hip replacement surgery may not be the only answer. It is important to know that there are alternatives to hip replacement surgery which may be better suited for your condition. And before you think of any alternatives, you will need to ascertain whether or not you do indeed need to go through such a major surgery.
You must remember that the decision to have your hip replaced should be made by you, your family, your doctor and your orthopedic surgeon. Therefore it would be wise to consider the reasons behind your consideration.
Pain would most certainly be a very important factor in your decision as it can limit a large number of your daily activities and prevent you from enjoying your life fully. Some people can live with the pain and they resort to other methods for relief. But generally if you have the following symptoms, it may be a good idea to look into Hip Replacement surgery.
- Continuously feeling pain even when resting, during the day and in the night
- The pain limits normal activities such as walking and bending
- Stiffness in the hips doesn’t allow you to move or lift you leg
- All the prescription drugs that you are taking have little or no effect
- You are experiencing harmful side effects from the medication you are taking
- You have tried other treatments such as physical therapy and walking aids and they don’t work for you
Depending on the severity of the pain, your mobility, your age and your general health status, your doctor may recommend a hip replacement. But hip replacement should only be considered as a last resort once other alternatives have been exhausted. You may choose to live and manage your pain with medications, joint injections, physical therapy and walking aids.
Otherwise there are surgical treatments which are not as intensive as total hip replacement in terms of recovery. These include:
- Hip resurfacing, the implant is smaller and it leaves the patient with more of the natural bone than traditional hip replacement surgery. A metal cap is placed on the ball of the hip joint and a metal socket within the pelvis. Primarily used in younger, more active people with pain and disability due to hip deterioration
- Hip fusion (Arthrodesis), surgery that joins (fuses) two bones in a diseased joint so that the joint can no longer move. They are held in this position by a large metal plate and screws. It is rarely used in the hips because of eventual knee and back pain caused by an absence of movement in the hip.
- Hip Osteotomy, is a procedure that is done to realign the bones of the hip joint used in cases of developmental hip deformity and in other cases of abnormality of the legs in active people younger than 60. The osteotomy can be performed on the thigh bone (femur), the pelvis, or both.
- Arthroscopy, it is used to fix a joint if it becomes “locked” or stuck due to loose cartilage or bone fragments. It can provide temporary (and sometimes long-term) relief of symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Resection Arthroplasty (Gridlestone procedure), a procedure where the bone around the hip joint is removed and the joint space is allowed to fill up with scar tissue. Usually done in patients with severe infection that cannot be controlled, or in patients whose physical condition is such that they have little chance of normal walking and will need some form of walking device.
As well as exploring these surgical options, it’s also vitially important that you investigate alternative health options that have the potential to avoid this type of intervention.
Our book “The Toxic Lifestyle” is free and is a great starting point to understand some of the underlying causes. There are basically two approaches to avoid hip replacement:
- Underlying causes. Over 12 different causes of joint problems have been identified. Normally medicine focuses on the symptoms rather than what’s actually creating the problem in the first place. Often, if this can be minimised or removed, recovery is possible.
- Joint regeneration. Contrary to mainstream medical belief, there is a substantial body of evidence that your joints can be regenerated. Effectively, this is about helping your body’s natural healing processes. There is no “One size fits all” approach, rather there are a number of different approaches that offer hope for all but the most extreme cases.
There are many articles on this site about these approaches. Please see our resources section for more information.
Be sure to explore all the options with your doctor and family to find the best possible solution for yourself.
Steve’s Health Answers provides the latest natural health news, research and tips about Joint Care and Arthritis. For more details and our free newsletter, please visit http://www.steveshealthanswers.com