• Chronic Life: Steroid Injections for Hip Pain

    Nov 28th • Posted in Chronic life, Lifestyle

    Joint injection for hip pain
    If you’ve read my blog you’ll probably know that I suffer from an autoimmune arthritis known as psoriatic arthritis ( you can find out more about that here). In short, the condition causes my immune system to attack my own joints and organ linings.
    I’ve had bad hip pain for quite a number of years now. The arthritis has been slowly damaging my hips; my orthopedic consultant has compared the top of my hips to old cracked lino. Lovely. I will eventually need a hip replacement (you can read about that appointment here) but due to long waiting lists that could be a couple of years away.
    To offer some relief from the hip pain my consultant suggested another cortisone (steroid) hip injection to try and take down some of the inflammation. I’ve had two very successful ones before so I agreed immediately. Anything for a few pain free months! My hip was perfect for about 6 months after the last steroid injection.
    I’ve decided to write about the experience two reasons. One, because it can be quite daunting if you don’t know what to expect (the needle is massive) and two, because I don’t think it has worked for me this time. When it comes to chronic illness I think it’s just as important to share the negative as well as the positive. At least that way someone else may find comfort in the fact that they are not alone. Studies show the effects of these injections vary wildly. What works for one person won’t always work for another. It’s so important to know that.

    Cortisone Hip Injection Day One:

    I woke the morning of the injection with a knot in my stomach. I’ve been through this before but it doesn’t stop me worrying about it, which is unusual for me. I’ve been through the mill with this illness so I can take most things in my stride. I inject myself with my chemo drug every week and have bloods taken every month so regular needles are nothing to me. But this one is different. I know how big this needle is and even thinking about it makes me break out in a sweat. I’m not posting pictures to scare anyone but I think I would have liked to have known in advance so I could have been better prepared! The first time I had the hip injection done I almost had a heart attack when this thing was produced:
    I went into the radiologists office and sat through the usual questions and form signings. Then I had to remove my pants and underwear and lie on the bed. He gave me a sterile dressing to cover up with but I never once felt embarrassed. He was very professional and made me feel comfortable. 
    He used the ultrasound machine to have a look at my hip joint. This allowed him to pinpoint exactly where he needed to put the mark where the needle would be inserted. Then he cleaned the area with iodine followed by alcohol. This was to ensure that the skin was sterile. This procedure would allow bacteria a direct route into the joint so sterility is a must.

    Before the joint injection he numbed the skin and the first muscle layer with lidocaine, a numbing agent. Lidocaine is acidic so it can sting a little when injected but the feeling didn’t last long. Then out came the big gun. I was honest and told him I was very nervous. He understood and assured me it would be over before I knew it.
    The first couple of millimeters were fine as the lidocaine had numbed that area but once it went passed that I could feel it. The best way to describe it would be a poking / stinging sensation. Like a bee sting within the joint, especially as it entered the joint capsule. Once the needle was in he was quick to inject some lidocaine. This worked within a few seconds which helped a lot. Then came the steroid. I still felt a little bit of a sting but the pressure of the fluid going into the joint space was what was most uncomfortable. When all the cortisone had been injected into the hip joint he withdrew the needle and it was finally done. 
    After he asked me if I had ever experienced a steroid flare. I told him I had so I was prepared for what would happen. Often, after a joint injection you can experience a flare of pain meaning you can get worse before the steroid kicks in and reduces the pain. Then I was free to go. 
    I spent the evening resting as I was in quite a bit of pain and I didn’t want to irritate the hip joint even further. Unfortunately the steroid flare really hit me this time. I was in absolute agony that evening. I ended up in bed at half 8 rolling around with a hot water bottle. I eventually fell asleep at about 4am from pure exhaustion! 

    Cortisone Hip Injection Day Two:

    I woke up the next morning and moved my hips. Nothing. When I say nothing I mean there was none of the regular clunking I usually get when first move in the morning. I had no pain, it was pure bliss.

    I got out of bed and was able to walk without a limp for the first time in over a year. I wanted to skip around the kitchen. I was even able to go for a walk with my dog without needing my walking stick or having to lie down for an hour after due to hip pain.

    I was so happy I spent the next few days bragging about how straight I could walk. Don’t judge, you gotta be happy about the small things haha!

    Cortisone Hip Injection Day Five:

    I woke up on Sunday, looking forward to another day of showing off my ability to flawlessly put one foot in front of the other. I moved to get out of bed. CLUNK. I had felt a little bit of pain the day before but I thought nothing of it. I tried to stay positive but I had this terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    I got up and tried to move around but the pain seemed to just get worse and worse. I reluctantly had to reach for the painkillers so I could sit at the computer and get some work done. I had been hoping I could ditch most of the painkillers after getting the hip injection.

    Cortisone Hip Injection Day Six:

    I’m sitting here now on  day six. I’ve been teary eyed on and off all day. The pain is almost back to the way it was before the injection. I’m still have some hope that this is just a bad steroid flare (it can take ten days in some cases) but at this stage it’s not looking likely. I don’t think I should be this bad after a week.

    I had so much emotion attached to this procedure. I was going to to this when it was done, I was going to do that when it was done, I’d be pain free for Christmas and so on. It’s a bad habit of mine: hanging everything on one event. I forget that sometimes things don’t turn out how you want them to.

    This post turned out to be more of an essay but it was something I needed to get down in writing.

     If you have joint pain and are asked to consider a steroid injection, go for it. If it works you’ll have a few fantastic, pain free weeks. I hope this post will give you an idea of what to expect either way.

    Update- 6 months on:

    A couple of days after the above paragraph I rang my GP to ask if it was normal for the injection to take this long to kick in. He told me that it was, especially since I’d had two previously. He said the more you have the longer they take to kick in and that I wasn’t to lose hope just yet. About a week later I noticed the pain had decreased a little and a couple of days after that it was gone completely. 6 months later I’m still relatively pain free (I just have the odd twinge). I’m so happy that it eventually worked for me!

    My orthopedic consultant said I can have one more injection but I have to wait until the pain gets unbearable again as then the relief will hopefully take me right up to the date for my hip replacement. Happy days!

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    Chronic Life: Steroid Injections for Hip Pain

    • Elle May says:

      I hate to see you in so much pain, I really hope the soreness goes away soon, sending lots of hugs your way xx

    • ROBERT LEE says:

      Is the injection like a thing you need to do on a regular basis? Or is it a temporary solution? Anyway, I hope everything turns out well for you. Yes, it is frustrating and painful at times, but hey, stay positive. Cheers.

    • KT Nielsen says:

      Awwwwww! I can only imagine the pain you must be feeling right now. I hope the remedies work and you get back to your normal, active self with at least pain as possible or none at all. The thought of getting daily injection scares me. Sigh!

    • Carola K says:

      Brave that you're sharing your story. I can imagine it's also difficult to write everything down. I get that you had high hopes, because it helped for a few months the first two times. You're kind of expecting the same result again. I'm so sorry it didn't work out that way. Can/ will you try again?

    • I cannot imagine the pain you're going through. I hope the injections give you some great sense of relief, and hopefully I hope you find better solutions in the future!

      • admin says:

        Thank you so much. I saw my doctor and he said not to loose hope yet as the injection can take up to two weeks to take away the hip pain. I'm hoping it will kick in.

    • WOW, you're such a brave lady to talk about this. I cant stand needles and must admit this will scare me for REAL.I sincerely hope you get a hip replacement soon and I wish you all the best with lots of love and healing 🙂

    • Ryazan says:

      I can only imagine the pain you are experiencing. I admire you for your bravery and strength, so keep it up. I'm working in a hospital and I understand how you feel as I see it day in and out in my day job. All the best my dear! <3

    • Yan Birog says:

      I love how you're very descriptive about the procedure, even educating us about technicalities of your condition. <3

      Have you talked to your doctor about your pain, or are you waiting for more days before calling in? I feel sorry about it and I hope it's just what you said, a bad case of steroid flare! Don't let this take away your holiday cheer, alright? 😀 Happy Holidays! 😀

    • Hi Curly. I went to a psoriasis presscon last month where I learned many things about this condition, psoriatic arthritis was one of them. But I must say that reading this post of yours is where I got more information about psoriatic arthritis. I can only imagine the pain you go through because of this condition, I am so sorry to hear about it and I really hope that you will feel better soon. *hugs*

    • Joanna Davis says:

      I hope it is just a side effect of the injection and that you would still be able to move pain free for at least a few weeks. That needs does look scary but it's comforting to read that it's not as bad as it looks. I can't even imagine how hard it must be to live with a chronic illness. Will the hip replacement fix the problem though?

      • admin says:

        Unfortunately no. It's a systemic disease so the hip replacement won't cure the psoriatic arthritis but it should get rid of the pain in the hip joint.

    • I'm sorry you were dealt this. You are doing a great thing by writing about it, I'm sure it helps others in a similar situation and don't know can relate to them and their pain. I hope you find a combination of medicines that will give you longer periods of no pain. All the best.

    • Omg, I so feel for you. I can imagine how you feel, I have got severe problems with my upper spine and can't remember what 'painfree' feels like myself. And it's not getting any better, I will probably end up needing cortison injections. I am really scared of that.I am wishing you all the very best, kick ass (sorry, but you'll understand how I mean that). A replacement at your age , I guess you are quite young, oh dear. Stay strong and positive , I know ..it all sounds so trivial. Wishing you well !!!

      • admin says:

        Thanks for the support! Please don't be afraid! When they work they are amazing! I actually had to get my spine injected before and it wasn't painful at all! Not at all like the hip injection! Go for it if it means you will be pain free for a while!

    • Susan Adair says:

      I am so sorry that the injection didn't work for you. I have been having them for nearly 10 years but for bilateral trochanteric bursitis. I always got great relief from them and would be pain free for about 3 months afterwards. I had a minor car accident in August and requested injections for the first time in 2 years. I was so optimistic and hopeful and unfortunately they didn't work in either hip. I am now going through intense physio but it is looking like I will be having surgery in the coming months to remove the bursas. I know that this is nothing on the scale of what you are going through but I do understand chronic pain (I also have fibro and 2 autoimmune diseases (unrelated to pain)) and that hope to get relief from certain treatments. I hope that you may find some kind of way of dealing with the pain until you get the replacement.

    • I am sorry to hear about your hip pain problem.I too suffer with back pain time to time,but not so serious.I am glad to read about this injection and your experience.Sorry to hear that injection didn't work for you…Stay Blessed!

    • OtziUk says:

      I feel for you. I had osteoarthritis due to pelvic osteitis for years. I couldn't stand or walk without crutches, painkillers everyday and losing the will to live! I was offered steroid injections but when they checked me over, the inflammation was so severe they could'nt risk it.
      I had my full hip replacement in December 2016, it has taken me around 4 months but I am now completely pain free, I have started swimming and cycling and running after 10 years of no mobility. I was very doubtful a thr would work, but i'm amazed! I remember the pain you are feeling now, and im so sorry you are still suffering. Roll on your new hip day!!

    • admin says:

      Aw that's such a pity you couldn't have one! It's the only thing that gives me any relief! I'm so glad your hip replacement went well. It gives me hope! Thank you so much for leaving this comment.

    • I have meniere’s disease and that makes me feel dizzy. If I cant anymore tolerate the extreme dizziness, I get injections. And I dont like the pain of the needle. I could imagine you and your shots. Must be real inconvenient. It has been months since your post and I hope that you have fully recovered from this pain.

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