Mike is a 31 year old former athlete, a father of two who was experiencing some hip pain that wouldn’t go away so MPT thought it was a great opportunity to follow his progress!
*See Mike’s edited x-ray with notations based on his initial consultation with his doctor near the end of the post.
MPT: So Mike let’s get right into it, around when did you hurt yourself?
Mike: About 2 months ago.
MPT: 2 months ago! I did not realize it was so far back when we spoke before! Where was the Injury?
Mike: the pain was in my hip so I thought it was my hip flexors since I’ve had prior issues with them before.
MPT: So would you say it was the inside of your groin/hip area?
MPT: When did it bother you enough to say to yourself that maybe I should check into it?
Mike: It wasn’t till about a week ago that I started to get a lot of back pain on top of the pain/discomfort in the hip area. Normally in the past, my experience with hip flexor issues was that it would run its course with resting, building up your core muscles and strengthening my legs with light workouts that would loosen the hips without irritating it. In this case no matter what I did my hips never got better and then I started having back pain.
MPT: You said that the back pain started a week ago, so just under 2-1/2 months after your hips started bothering you, your back started to hurt?
Mike: Well is was actually more like right around 2 months that my back started to hurt on and off and about 2-1/2 months in I had pain for a few days straight in both my hips, back and legs. That was when I thought it would be a pretty good idea to get it checked out and see what was going on.
MPT: Was there anything that you think might have sparked what happened to your back as opposed to your hips or hip flexors?
Mike: No if I were to guess I would say that I was probably over compensating for my hips when I was working out or just daily activities.
MPT: What would you say your pain or discomfort level is? Dull throbbing? Acute pain? All day?
Mike: It varies, sometimes the back doesn’t hurt at all but for example right now my whole lower back right above my butt just aches.
MPT: Like right around the tail bone area?
Mike: Yes but spread across the entire lower back.
The hip will go from very sharp, acute pains that last for 5 seconds to just dull aching pain from my hip to my knee…and sometimes it will go into my calves. It’s not all the times in my calves, I feel like it’s whenever I put it into a weird position or if I sit still for a while and not move…then I will feel it all the way down the calves.
MPT: Ok that leads into my next question which is, what kind of activitiy or movements can and can’t you do? Do certain kinds of movements make you nervous or you don’t want to do because it sparks pain?
Mike: Running usually bothers it although a few times I’ve been able to run and I feel some sharp pain but I’m able to push through it. The one thing that will consistently cause the sharp pain will be when I get in and out of a car. It seems to be when I’m putting my leg in or out of the car and rotating my hips.
MPT: So moving your hips around seems to bother you the most.
Mike: Yeah right so I played hockey again last night–
MPT: Ha-ha oh yeah you were mentioning that before we spoke, doesn’t seem like a good idea….
Mike: Yeah well so I played hockey and I didn’t really feel that much pain in my hip, although after about an hour and a half my lower back started to feel really tight and sore and it still is right now.
MPT: So we’ll go over it later but you did go to the doctor and he cleared you to be able to play hockey?
Mike: He said if it didn’t bother me that it was okay, but try not to overdo it, he said definitely don’t do any type of running or impact activities.
MPT: Hockey…seems kind of like an impact sport to me I’m not sure…
Mike: Well I think it’s because your pretty much gliding and you’re not pounding your feet into a pavement and therefore your hips to some degree. I think anything that puts more pressure on my hips that causes the hips to work more.
MPT: What I do a lot of times when I get injured one of the first things I do is I immediately go online and see if I can find something that kind of matches my pain, did you do anything like that?
Mike: I did back when it first started happening a couple months ago when I thought it was my hip flexor so I started looking for ways to strengthen my flexors and stretching them. I was working on my core since that was supposed to help and doing high rep low weight exercises’. Things like squats, leg extensions and curls, abductor and adductor exercises for horizontal movement of my hips. Sometimes it helped a lot …but only for like a day until it got gradually got worse. Sometimes though the pain got bad enough where I just had to stop.
MPT: Did you find any resources or tools that helped you? Did you buy anything or find a website that really helped?
Mike: I did buy a STIM machine after my back bothered me for a while, it did provide some temporary relief especially for my lower back area to get some blood flowing.
MPT: How long did that relief last? You did it for 10 min? 20 min?
Mike: I did it for 60 min.
MPT: After using it for an hour, how long did the relief last after that? Did the pain completely go away or just dull down a little?
Mike: It varied; sometimes it went away completely other times it became more manageable, then other times it didn’t go away completely unless I actually had the STIM machine running.
MPT: You didn’t get better after trying to fix the problem yourself so you went to see professional medical opinion; what kind of doctor did you see? Was it a hip doctor?
Mike: No I first called an orthopedist and explained the back and hip pain and told him that the back pain seemed to be generating from the hip pain. I got an appointment relatively quickly but it was for a back specialist since there are a lot of back specialists and not a lot of hip specialists.
MPT: Right that makes sense, back problems are pretty common so it makes sense there would be more specialists.
Mike: Right they took x-rays of my back and spine and then when they spoke with me they said my back and spine from at least a skeletal viewpoint was very healthy. My hip x-rays looks like there were some osteophytes which from what I understand are small bone spurs and these spurs were on top of my femur which were then pushing onto my hip joint. Making my joint to be more compact that was reducing the cushioning at the joint. They said it looked like the beginning of degeneration issue with the hip joint but he wasn’t a hip specialist so he didn’t want to make that diagnosis.
MPT: Now you ruled out the back as a cause of the pain but the back specialists spots something possibly wrong with your hips so you have an appointment with another specialist coming up?
Mike: Yes I have an appointment with a hip specialist within a week. I’ll tell you what it feels like today, it feels like I need to stretch my leg so I stretch it and it doesn’t alleviate that feeling that it needs to be stretched. I feel like it would be helpful is someone was to hold me down and then pull my leg down to lengthen it.
MPT: Yes! I have that same exact feeling about my neck sometimes! I feel like I know exactly what that feels like. What about one of those inversion tables?
Mike: I’m reluctant to try them because an exercise that really hurt was when I was on a decline bench and tried to sit up, the strain on my hips was painful. I’m not going to cough up the money for anything like that quite yet before seeing the hip specialist.
MPT: Gotcha, I wonder if there is going to be physical therapy involved in your recovery after you see the Hip Specialist.
Mike: I would assume so, one of the things I read when I was researching degenerative hip issues online was that losing weight in your upper body can help alleviate pain in your hips because they don’t have to carry around as much weight.
MPT: Makes sense, so you trying to lose weight now?
Mike: I have to now! Haha I am not dealing with this the rest of my life!
MPT: You’re going to take whatever action you need to in order to get rid of the pain
Mike: Well losing weight is good regardless so I’ll get started on that now and I’ll do whatever it takes to get better. IF there is anything else I need to be doing after I meet with the hip specialist I’ll do it. It could be something different than a “bone spur” so we’ll see.
MPT: Okay I hope you feel better soon and I want to follow up with you after your appointment with your hip specialist, is there anything else you want to add?
Mike: Not really, it’s very frustrating.
MPT: I know! haha not to laugh but I do because I’ve been there like many people and it just affects all aspects of your life everyday and everything you do. Which is why health is definitely wealth!
Mike: yes definitely.