Hip/Thigh pain, X-rays don't show anything- in pain & frustrated!

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 12/30/2010 11:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone, I usually post on the RA & Fibro forums because I have both of those. I take Plaquenil and Lyrica respectively, and those are the only meds that seem to help. I tried Cymbalta and it made me agitated. I am resistant to NSAIDs and I tried Ultram for a while and it helped for a couple weeks and then stopped working.
So let me give you background on what happened: In 2004, I was in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy with my 2nd daughter. I was walking down the stairs next to my oldest, who was a toddler at the time. I started to fall, and grabbed the railing so that I wouldn't fall on my daughter. Instead I fell onto my right hip, right on the edge of the steps (which are carpeted). At the time I was worried about the fall hurting the baby, but the drs. assured me that she was fine. I had some pain in my hip and couldn't sleep on it for a while, but it eventually went away. I noticed that at times I would have a pian in my right thigh, up near where my hip is, and it would be exacerbated when my kids sat on my lap, or I would be standing up and I would turn my body to the right suddenly. I talked to a friend of mine who was an EMT and he said it sounded like bursitis.
In the meantime, I have been diagnosed with fibro, had another kid, got diagnosed with RA, tried lots of meds. All my bloodwork for RA came back negative, my Rheumy dx'ed me based on my symptoms. I was having awful pain in my finger joints that had gotten so bad that it was affecting the quality of my life- I couldn't do up a zipper or turn a doorknob or open a jar. I also have pain in some of my larger joints which has gotten worse. I am currently looking for a new rheumy because the one I was seeing doesn't accept insurance, and so my co-pay to see her was always over $100, and we just can't afford that. Plus I'm starting to question some of her comments; like I showed her how my fingers were becoming bent, and she said, "Everyone's hands become a little deformed as they get older"- well, I only just turned 41!

Currently this is what happens- I wake up with no pain in my hip area. As the day goes on, depending on what I do, the pain will start, and get worse and worse as the day goes on. If I do a couple loads of laundry, and walk up and down the stairs a lot, that makes it start to hurt. When I cleaned out the fridge and did a lot of bending down, and sitting on the floor and then getting up, that made it worse. If I go shopping and do a lot of walking around, it will hurt. It isn't muscular, I think. The pain is deep in my thigh, like in the "meat", if you know what I mean. Sometimes my lower back will hurt too, and I have had chronic lower back pain all my life too. So I went to my regular doc, and she ordered xrays of my thigh and lower back. They came back negative for bursitis or disc problems or anything. I don't know what to do! The pain gets so bad, I end up bawling on my husband's shoulder. I have some vicodin and percocet that the drs gave me, and they work a little bit, but they make me feel woozy, so I try not to take them until the pain gets to a screaming point. In the meantime I live with pain every day, and my knees are starting to bother me. At least my fingers aren't hurting me right now!
The doctor said that since the x-rays were negative, the next thing to do is either a CAT scan or an MRI. I don't know if I can get an MRI because in 2009 I fell and broke my wrist and had to get a metal plate permanently in my wrist. I'm just so tired of the pain, and of not being able to do things because I know I will end up in pain.

Anyway, if anyone can give me some advice I would appreciate it. I feel like, if all my tests are negative, does that just mean that I'm crazy? Are the drs going to think I am making this up? My pain is real, I think that something else is going on with my body, but I just don't know what! Thanks for taking the time to read my ranting!
Diagnoses and Medications: Celexa and Buspar for depression & anxiety, Levoxyl for hypothyroidism, Metoprolol for high blood pressure, Lyrica for Fibromyalgia, Plaquenil for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ambien for insomnia, Hydrocodone for pain as needed, Klonopin as needed for flashbacks.
Other various diagnoses: PTSD, Raynauds, Sjogrens, Osteoarthritis, probably TMJ

solar powered
Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 538
   Posted 12/30/2010 1:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Moggy. I do believe that you should be able to get an MRI even with the metal in your wrist especially since that isn't the part they will be scanning. I have had several MRI's on my one knee that has metals screws in it and that has been fine. It feels a bit weird because the screws would vibrate some during the scan. That can cause some artifact/fuzzy pictures though which is a trade-off I guess. Just remember that not everything such as muscle imbalances, will show up on a scan.

As far as your hip goes, I didn't think an x-ray would show bursitis because the bursa is soft tissue, not bone. Even though it feels deep in the hip I wonder if the pain is muscle or tendon/ligament related. There are a bunch of them in there. I have had chronic hip and back pain for a long time and nothing has shown up on any tests. Only when I started working with a chiropractor who specializes in muscle/skeletal issues and uses manual therapies (my orthopedic surgeon sent me) have I had any relief. Has your doctor sent you to physical therapy? Have you seen an orthopedic specialist?

My suggestion is that you pursue this further since you do deserve relief. Maybe seeing a physical therapist or chiro who specializes in muscle issues would be helpful. If one doesn't help then try someone else. Just don't stop trying. If I had stooped in my efforts to find someone to help me I probably would be disabled by now.

Good luck, Lee
Attitude is everything.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 12/30/2010 3:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Bursitis and tendonitis don't show on x-ray. They do show on MRI, and I think on CT. You might be able to put your hand up above your head for MRI. It also makes a difference if the metal is ferrous (iron) or not, and how long it's been in place.

I get MRIs with my stents and hemo-clips with no problem. There again, it matters what type they are and if they're been there more than 6 months. I have to carry a card!

An orthopedist or a rheumatologist can usually figure out if it's bursitis just by poking and the symptoms you report. An injection in an inflamed bursa helps me. I'm trying to get in to see my rheumatologist for a shoulder now.
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