Crippling leg pain will not go away? What can be done?
My mother has had extreme hip/leg pain for almost a year now, to the point where she can hardly walk and is now using a cane. It seems to be progressively getting worst, especially in the past six weeks. This pain is also accompanied with muscle cramps in her thigh (this is all on the right side) that almost brings her to her knees. She fell back in April 2011 and has since had this pain. About 5 years prior to this fall she had a partial hip replacement on this right side (she was only about 54 at the time, she did have a history of osteoporosis, which the doctors claimed was so bad that her hip probably broke from her "twisting" just before the fall, not necessarily from when it impacted the ground. Due to this current pain she has seen several specialist and had various tests done. She has had xrays, MRI, and bone scans. She's seen her orthopedic surgeon, a neurologist, physical therapist, and a spine specialist. Initially the orthopedist said he wanted to try all different avenues of treatment before he would even consider additional surgery. She has since had numerous physical therapy sessions and several steroid epidural injections in her spine. None of which have helped her. At physical therapy she was told that her right leg did appear to be shorter and they did various exercises to elongate the muscles and gave her a lift for her shoe (which she wore off and on but no longer does). The injections did not help at all. She was told that the MRI showed she a some spinal stenosis in her lumbar spine. She had a visit with the spine specialist this past week and let her know that she felt the injections (I believe she had maybe 4-5 in various regions of her lumber spine and hips over the past several months) were not helping and that doctor performed blood work to be sent out to test for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus! Both of which sound crazy to me given her symptoms but we will see what they say. They also suggested that if these tests come back negative that they will then try medication for Fibromyalgia. Again, given her symptoms it just seems like a far stretch but I am obviously no doctor. She says the pain is in her hip (she thinks its from where she had her prior surgery but the MRI, Xray, etc didn't show anything wrong with it), it shoots down to her knee, on occasion she experiences some numbness/tingling in her leg, she said it feels like she has to limp because of the pain being so extreme which is why she wants with a cane. On top of that she gets excruciating muscle cramps in her upper leg/quad muscle. It honestly feels like at this point no one knows what is going on and the medical bills keep coming in and there has yet to be any relief to her pain - it's only getting worse! I can provide more details if needed but please, if someone has any suggestions or recommendations let me know!
It would be very difficult to comment on the situation or suggest a management plan without knowing the relevant clinical details or a detailed clinical evaluation. Hip pain with a prior partial joint replacement and a spinal stenosis could be attributed to either the spinal causes or local causes at the level of hip joint or a combination of both these factors. The leg/ knee pain could be referred from the knee itself or could be due to individual causes as well. With imaging studies not revealing much at the level of the hip joint spinal causes or causes neuro-muscular issues may need to be considered. I would suggest discussing the situation and the appropriate management plan in detail with her treating doctor.
Hope this is helpful.
I am not a doctor... I am just writing to give your mom some hope. Here is my situation - I am 32, 6"3, look athletic and for the path couple of months, could not take a step without crippling pain in my right groin/hip. Ortho surgeons thought I am crazy (scans are fine). Anyhoo... was doing the usual run of pysios, chiros and other semi-quacks/full on quacks, thinking about suicide from the pain blah blah blah when I bumped into an osteopath who fixed me up. Whatever the hell he did (in conjunction with a steroid shot to the hip from an ortho) fixed me up. He charges half the price of all these other blabber mouths. He pushes very hard but does not crack the joints - just really pushes. Anyways, after 2 months of being incapacitated I met him, after 2 months of seeing him (with cortisone shot from ortho) I felt better - I mean "100% forgot I had a problem, made my backpain from 8 years ago never mind my current hip pain go away", better. Then, after I had basically forgot about the problem, I went away for 2 weeks. It (the pain) came back after 10 days while I was on my trip (audible pop that I felt in my L5 region), he is on a month long trip so now I am ****** while he is away, stuck in agony, meeting new quacks again while trying to get relief and waiting for him to return. God damb it! Point is - (if there is one at all to this 3:00 am rant... lol... sigh) is that pain is possibly solvable and your mom just needs to find the right therapist (easier said than done, I know), not give up and accept the pain status (saying this as much for myself as for your mom).
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