Q. I had progressive left hip pain for two years that reached a point that I could no longer tolerate it. Two months ago, I had a left hip replacement and my hip pain is now virtually gone.
I am very happy with my result but over the last few weeks, I have developed moderate mid-line lower back pain. I can’t recall an injury and I have no pain going down my legs. Advil has helped mildly. Do you think my back pain has any association with my hip surgery? What can I do to get better?
A. Hip replacement surgery is indicated for patients with arthritis that reaches a point that the patient can no longer deal with the pain.
Technology has improved considerably and many patients have a minimally invasive anterior approach for hip replacement surgery. Most patients are up walking with a walker the day of surgery and have great pain relief and improved ambulation within a few weeks.
It is likely you had an abnormal gait and limb length difference prior to surgery that you had gotten used to. The surgeon probably corrected any significant limb length difference and allowed you to walk more normally.
Your lower back and other lower extremity joints may have some trouble adjusting to these changes. Your lower back pain could also be caused by arthritis or a lumbar disc problem.
I suggest you get checked by your hip surgeon or a spine specialist to determine the cause of your lower back pain. Hopefully, a return to physical therapy and a core strengthening program may be all you need to get better.
Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net