Your Hip Might be the Source of Your Back Pain — Here’s How to Fix It.
Being in a constant state of pain can be a hindrance in people’s everyday lives. It limits their ability to complete simple tasks and sometimes even the time they’re able to spend with family.
And when you know you’re hurting but can’t pinpoint the problem, it can be especially frustrating. It’s the type of situation Arlean Gray of Drexel Hill found herself in — suffering from a pinched nerve in her back but unable to get better despite cortisone shots and ibuprofen.
“The pain just got really horrible,” Gray says. “I couldn’t lift my leg, and it got to the point where I would be walking and my legs would buckle and I would fall.”
After going to Lankenau Medical Center, her doctor suspected that the back pain that Gray was experiencing was tied to problems with her hips, and recommended she see Dr. Eugene Elia, M.D., a joint replacement surgeon at Premier Orthopaedics.
After consulting with Gray, Dr. Elia determined that a hip replacement was the right course of action. Gray’s surgery was successful, and, just a few months after her operation, she is on the mend and getting back on her feet.
“Dr. Elia was very pleasant and had a great bedside manner,” Gray says. “He was informative and it was evident that he had treated patients who had been in my situation. He knew exactly what I needed.”
It’s this type of care that the doctors at Premier Orthopaedics aspire to provide to their patients, listening to their concerns, identifying a solution and giving them a new lease on life.
Monitoring Patients from Start to Finish
In the world of orthopaedics, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to treating patients. The source of the pain someone’s experiencing — and its source — will mandate a specific treatment.
“Many times you might have hip pain, but the source is from the back,” Dr. Elia says. “You need to be a diagnostician to figure out what the source of the pain is. The severity and where somebody has the pain are the important features of figuring out what to do with a person’s complaints.”
Premier Orthopaedics has more than 35 locations around the Greater Philadelphia region, offering orthopaedic services related to muscles, bones and joints and providing MRI and urgent care. Premier will see patients in varying degrees of pain, whether for a checkup or something more serious. Surgery also isn’t always the answer — some patients might better benefit from something like physical therapy.
“Many times identifying the source of the pain is the hardest part,’ Dr. Elia says. “We have all sorts of tests we do to focus our attention on where the problem lies.”
The Road to Hip Replacement Surgery
Before starting a treatment plan, Dr. Elia presents his patients with all of their options to ensure they’re comfortable moving forward.
“We want patients to feel that they’re going to get the quality of care that they deserve,” Dr. Elia says. “Once I identify the pain source, I can satisfy their worry that their lives are going to drastically change. And, specifically, that’s why, in being a subspecialist for the hip, we feel confident that we can reliably fix patients’ problems.”
If a patient requires a hip replacement, they’re placed in a single patient room for surgery, which takes about an hour. Some might need to stay overnight for monitoring, and all are given a walker and taught how to get around with their new hip.
What’s more, once they return home, all Premier hip replacement patients are provided home therapy for two weeks to ensure that there’s someone there to assist them. As they progress, they start recovery therapy, with Dr. Elia and the Premier office offering guidance.
Making a Full Recovery
For Arlean Gray, a few months after her hip replacement surgery, her ability to manage pain is night and day compared to before her operation. She’s still experiencing pain and won’t fully recover for a full year, but is now far more independent. She’s hoping to go on a bike ride and make one of the family vacations — perhaps in Aruba — that she’s missed in the past.
But before that, she’s scheduled for a replacement of her other hip with Premier in October. And when she does, she’s confident that the experience will be identical to the first time she came in for treatment at Premier.
For more information about getting a consultation with Premier Orthopaedics, head here.This is a paid partnership between Premier Orthopaedics and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio