In Many Cases, Hip Replacement Eases Back Pain
A new study published in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests total hip replacement surgery could remedy hip pain as well as lower back pain.
Back Pain and Hip Pain in America
Back pain and hip pain are two of the most common complaints in adults. Back pain is the leading cause of disability and prevents millions of Americans from going to work and taking part in daily activities. According to the American Chiropractic Association, 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any given time.
More than 450,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States. A hip replacement is a procedure in which a surgeon removes a worn-out, painful hip joint and replaces it with an artificial joint often made from plastic and metal components. Total hip replacement has an extremely high success rate, and 95 percent of patients report experiencing relief.
Total Hip Replacement May Have Additional Benefit
There may be a solution to solve hip pain and back pain simultaneously. A research team at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City analyzed 500 patients who had total hip replacement surgery and followed up with the patients the following year.
More than 40 percent of patients said they experienced lower back pain before their total hip replacement surgery. Within that group, 82 percent stated their lower back pain disappeared after surgery. In fact, the pain was “completely gone,” said Dr. Jonathan Vigdorchik, a hip and knee surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
Dr. Vigdorchik found the highest success rates for eliminating hip and back pain were among patients whose spines were healthy and flexible. When a person’s spine is flexible, a weak or stiff hip can cause the spine to move more than usual, which can be painful. If the hip problem directly caused the back pain, the total hip replacement often solved both issues.
Patients whose spines had stiffened due to arthritis did not experience the same relief. Dr. Vigdorchik said since these patients already had arthritis of the spine, total hip replacement surgery was unlikely to alleviate back pain.
A thorough exam and a full panel of X-rays can be instrumental in helping physicians know whether back pain can be resolved with total hip replacement.
“Anytime [doctors are] looking at the hip, they should also look at the back, and anytime they’re looking at the knee, they should also look at the hip,” Vigdorchik said.
Make an Appointment with Your Orthopedist
Are you experiencing lower back pain in conjunction with hip pain? Call your orthopedist to make an appointment for a consultation and X-rays. A total hip replacement may provide relief for your back as well as your hip. You do not have to accept chronic pain as a way of life. One procedure could provide double benefits, so call today.