Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hip Update - Guessing Games




Injuries are frustrating. What’s even more frustrating is not knowing exactly what’s wrong. Even after spending $500+ on a MRI. And seeing 4 different doctors – 2 orthopedics and 2 chiropractors.

Frustrating.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that my Chiro recommended having orthopedic look at my MRI results. I did. I went to a somewhat popular orthopedic who specializes in the hip. He basically told me that the quality of my MRI was very poor and that he’d have to go by what the radiologist’s report said. He was mostly concerned about the stress reaction, but not so worried about the labral tear or iliopsoas tear. His recommendation was to refrain from any high impact exercise for 3 months and to lay off anything that required the use of my hips for the next month or so (i.e. swimming, biking, etc.). Okay, no worries. But, it really bothered me that he couldn’t tell anything from the actual MRI. So, time and money pretty much down the drain.

One of my friends knows an orthopedic who works a lot with hips. In fact, she has referred three of her friends who run to this ortho for hip issues and all three are a-okay now. I decided to put my HDHP and HSA to good use…I scheduled an appointment for him to review my MRI.

I saw this doctor last week and he confirmed what the 1st orthopedic said – my MRI is crap. He checked my range of motion, which is what every other doctor has done. The problem? My hip doesn’t hurt much (if at all) no matter how you move it. This is good for me, but bad for trying to diagnose anything.  The doc's main concern was the possible iliopsoas tear.

The first thing this ortho did was recommend a cortisone shot and see if it hurt while running. I wasn’t sure where he was going with this, but apparently if he injects cortisone into the hip joint and it stops hurting when I run, then the pain is more than likely from a labral tear. If it hurts when I run, then we can rule the labral tear out.

Seriously, I am growing tired of the guessing games. I'm tired of a lot of things!  I am tired of trying to schedule dr’s appointments into my already busy days. I am tired of co-pays and waiting rooms.

I pretty much told the doc that while I want to get back out there ASAP, I also want to be able to swim, bike and run for the rest of my life. Not only do I want to know what the heck is going on with my hip, but I want to know what I can do to prevent this from ever happening again. If the cortisone shot is the best way to do this, fine. But is seemed like a guessing game to me. “What about the stress reaction?” I asked. I wanted to know if I agreed to the cortisone shot and tried to run, would it bother that? He shrugged. Based on my crappy MRI, he wasn’t sure if I even had a stress reaction. He also couldn’t be certain that I had a labral tear. In fact, I probably do…apparently labral tears are common. It seems that a lot people have them and never have any issues with them. (I would be the lucky one!)

Finally, the doc told me that when he sees a doctor, he usually tells them what tests to do.  I asked him what he's recommend in my situation.  He told me that if we really want to know what's going on, we could do another MRI, but with contrast. And, since they’d have to inject the contrast dye, I might as well try the cortisone.  I agreed, although the thought of injections of any kind freak me out.

So that's the latest - MRI #2 on Monday and follow-up visit to the doc a few days later.  If I've learned anything through all this, I've learned that even in 2012 being a doctor requires a lot of guessing games. So much for "modern medicine"! 

7 comments:

Lisa said...

That would infuriate me with the 1st MRI not being good enough.
I sure hope the "tests" find what's wrong soon for you.

{lifeasa}RunningMom said...

There is so much guessing for doctors and yes, it is frustrating. I have found to trust my instincts, dig deep, and try to guide what is to happen. It sounds like you are doing that. I hope it pays off and you find the answer!

Duckie said...

You definitely have to be your own advocate. It can be so frustrating. I have a tendency to throw up my hands and treat myself the way I would treat a horse (this is not actually very wise). Hopefully, you can get some answers with the new doc. Out of curiosity, have you looked into the orthos at Memorial Hermann? They have that new endurance sports clinic... or something... associated with Ironman. It's supposed to be top notch.

Stephanie said...

So frustrating - I'm sorry.

I'm sending you lots of positive, healing and question answering thoughts from Austin.

Laura said...

I've felt the same way with injuries... the drs definitely don't always have the answers. Makes it really hard, but hopefully you'll have some answers soon!

That Pink Girl said...

Grr, so frustrating! But you're right, medicine isn't always an exact science. You've been so patient and so positive - hope you get answers and a plan very soon.

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

That is so frustrating when you want to get out there and run, but can't!