As we age, our major joints become painful as they wear out. Some joints even wear so much that the bare bone on each side of the joint rub together. The friction this causes can result in debilitating pain. This is perhaps the most common reason people need hip and knee replacements. Our hips and knees take most of the brunt of life, and wear due to countless micro-injuries over your lifetime.
A hip with a damaged or worn out joint can limit mobility and remain painful even when you’re resting. When the pain is such that it can’t be managed and is limiting your quality of life, your doctor will recommend hip replacement surgery.
Hip replacement surgery is an extremely invasive procedure that includes reshaping the bones of the hip joint and installing a prosthetic joint. The “joint,” which is a ball bearing, is anchored into the femur. These prosthetic hip joints can be made of several biocompatible materials, including ceramic and titanium.
Risks of Hip Replacement Surgery: Health
Getting a hip replacement is no small deal. Because it invades and alters bone tissue, healing time can take more than a month. And with most major surgeries, hip replacements come with a myriad of health risks:
- You might develop blood clots.
- You may develop infection.
- You risk injuring the structures around your hip joint even more.
- Your femur can fracture.
These risks don’t include those subsequent risks of pain management with opioids during recovery. People have different risk factors for experiencing complications as well. People in good health (read: healthy weight, good diet, consistent exercise, etc.) might have less than 1% risk factor whereas people in poor health (read: overweight, smoke, no exercise, diabetes, etc.) can have risk factors of up to 20%.
Risks of Hip Replacement Surgery: Efficacy
Just because your worn-out joint is now a super-resilient prosthetic doesn’t mean hip replacement surgery is always effective. In fact, some people eventually need second hip replacement surgeries, due to further arthritic degeneration of their bones, as well as the tissue trauma resulting from the first surgery. Not to mention that the prosthetics can cause other issues you didn’t have before.
- Your legs can be different lengths after surgery.
- You’re more likely to dislocate a hip, which is when the ball pops out of its place against the pelvic bone.
- Your prosthetic may loosen and become painful if your bone fails to heal around it.
- Little to no alleviation of pain symptoms.
Holistic Solutions for Joint Pain: Medical Marijuana and Regenerative Medicine
There are other options for treating hip joint pain that don’t include this invasive major surgery. Regenerative therapies like stem cell injections and PRP therapy for pain and joint damage can rebuild the damaged soft tissue and cartilage in your hip joint, alleviating pain symptoms. As well, holistic medicine offers pain management that doesn’t require pharmaceutical pain killers: medical marijuana is an effective pain treatment, and comes without the risks of vital organ damage and overdose.
So, before you agree to surgical hip replacement, ask your doctor about non-invasive, regenerative therapies for your hip joint pain. There are several interventions you can try before you resort to considering surgery; you just have to ask, and your orthopedic surgeon might not be an advocate.