Stupid hips …

It’s raining, it’s pouring,

the old man is snoring.

He went to bed,

and bumped his head,

and couldn’t get up

in the morning.

This silly song from my childhood played in my head as I woke up this morning and saw the gray skies through my rain-spattered bedroom window.  I’d have been up dancing to it, except my stupid hips hurt too much.

I knew I shouldn’t have bragged about feeling so good, so pain-free, in that last blog post. I did jinx myself. When am I going to learn to listen to my intuition? When it starts yelling, it usually has a really good reason. Sigh.

I took Mom and my aunt to the local Indian casino for lunch yesterday (there’s a great buffet there). After we ate, we wandered around the massive building, looking for a couple of penny slot machines so they could sacrifice some money to the gambling gods. My hip joints felt odd. Not painful, but loose, as if the ball joints could slip out of their cups and dislocate at any moment. I put the sensation down to my workout the day before and ignored it.

When we left the casino a half-hour later, a low, steely gray cloud cover had replaced the sunny blue sky and fluffy white clouds we’d started the day with. Mom and Aunt expressed dismay and instantly felt cold and shivery (though it was still in the mid-60s). I turned the car’s heater on for them. I was pleased. We really need the rain and, as I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy it. Let it rain, I thought.

But when we got home and I was getting out of the car, I felt like I’d rusted into position. My hips and knees creaked and whimpered as I stood up. By the time I got into the house, my knees were okay but hips had started that naggy, low aching I’ve become so accustomed to. I’ve just got to accept that nothing is going to actually cure this trochanteric bursitis. It’s chronic. The inflammation and pain it causes might ease up and even seem to go away when I’m working out and the barometer is steady, but as soon as the air pressure rises or falls, my hips will protest just like my RA joints always have.

When I went to bed last night, I discovered that once again I couldn’t lay on one hip or the other for more than a few minutes before the aching intensified enough to make me groan. If I lay on my back, the pain in both hips intensified. Fortunately, the sleep aid I’ve been taking worked to allow me to drift off, but even with it the pain woke me frequently through the night as I rolled from one hip to the other.

A week from tomorrow I’ve got an ultrasound therapy session scheduled. I was hoping that I wouldn’t even need it, thanks to resistance training. That hope has been dashed, so I’ll hold out hoping for the ultrasound to make a difference. If it doesn’t, and the workouts don’t, either, I’ll have to make a decision: Live with this chronic hip pain for the rest of my life, or let a surgeon remove both of the offending bursae.

It’s not a decision I have to make this minute, thank goodness. Instead, I need to get myself moving, exchange my pajamas for workout clothes and skadoodle for the gym. I’ve not tried working out while my hips ached before, and my bloody hands are twingy, too. Today’s session should be … interesting.

UPDATE: This morning’s workout went just fine. During the first 20 minutes of the session, on the recumbent bike, my fatigue-burn in my legs quickly overpowered the bursitis ache in my hips. Once done with that and using the weight machines, I was able to use my hands when they were necessary without any trouble. I left the gym glowing profusely (glowing being the ladylike word for sweating like a pig), went home and took a warm shower, ate a healthy lunch and now, I’m resting. My hips ache, but you know what? I’m proud of myself for working out successfully anyway. There was a time when I’d have rationalized my way out it. What’s different now? I have a better understanding of why I’m exercising. It has little to do with how I look and everything to do with having strong muscles, hard bones and a strong heart.

12 thoughts on “Stupid hips …

  1. Oh Wren … I’m sooooo sorry! I really hope that even if the working out isn’t a magic cure, it will at least help today rather than hinder … Do let us know how the workout session went (as soon as the achy fingers allow typing!)


    • Today’s workout might not have had any real beneficial effect on my sore hips, Penguin, but it had a terrific effect on my state of mind and my mood. I ache, but I feel good! Thanks for your kind concern. 🙂


  2. Wow…you are stuck between damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I am really feeling for you right now. I am not sure why workouts would help with bursitis but I am sure your doc advised you on this? And would the surgery if that is the last option be done both at the same time or one at a time and do you have someone to come in and help you during recovery for both you and your Mom. Oh this all just stinks! I say we all plan a trip to Disney World and let Tink sprinkle some her pixie dust on us so we can just float away. (((HUGS)))


    • You know, I haven’t ever been to Disney World, though I went to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA–once when I was a child, and once as a teen-ager. Had a blast, so your suggestion sounds great to me! Reality, though, intrudes. The physical therapist who last worked on my bursitis explained that part of the problem might be a shortened iliotibial band, a long ligament that attaches the muscles of the hip to the knee. This can shorten with dis-use. When it does, it rubs on the muscle and the bursa beneath it, causing increased irritation. So while the bursitis itself is a co-morbidity of rheumatoid arthritis (it causes the inflammation in the bursae), the shortened IT band just makes it worse and that much more painful. Stretching and exercise lengthens the IT band so that it doesn’t irritate the bursa so.
      My rheumy had no problem with my trying resistance training, so long as I don’t try to do too much too fast and injure myself. I AM being careful about that. He said he prefers warm pool exercise therapy for his RA patients, but the nearest one of those to my home is more than 40 miles away. I know without even trying it I’d hate the drive a couple of times a week. I’d also hate using up the gas, as my finances are tight. This gym is close–I can even walk to it (assuming I can muster up the willpower) and walk home.
      As for the bursectomy… it seems the recovery and rehab period following surgery can be rather long, and I’d be using crutches for at least part of it. I don’t know if they do both hips in the same surgery. I’d think that would make recovery a whole lot harder, though it would eliminate the need for two separate surgeries. I’m also not sure yet if the surgery is inpatient or outpatient. Either way it would be performed at a facility near San Francisco, which is about 200 miles away. At the moment it all sounds daunting!
      Thanks for the questions and your kindness, Deb. I remain optimistic. 🙂


      • Has anyone mentioned therapeutic horseback riding as a possible aid for your hip pain? It’s something that has been suggested to me with my hip issues (which include snapping hip in the IT bands), so it comes to mind when you mention your hip injuries.


  3. Sorry you’ve had another setback with the hips, Wren. What a sneaky disease we have, makes you think you’ve caught a break and then it reappears for no reason. It’s good you’re staying positive and managed a work out. One day at a time 🙂


  4. Sorry to hear that you have run into a problem but I agree that a little exercise is great for the mind. Many of my work outs are less than stellar. Who am I kidding most are less than stellar but I always feel better mentally afterwards. Hang in there Wren. Do what you feel comfortable doing and try not to overdo on those good days.


  5. Oh, Wren. That darned old dragon just loves to snarl and snap as soon as you’ve managed to keep him at bay for a while. I am so proud of you for making it to the gym. That has to be good for you both mentally and physically. I’ve had ultrasound when I had hip bursitis and it was helpful for me, so I’m sending good thoughts about your treatment. Do take care and keep up the good work!


Comments are closed.