This is Part 2 of my Hip Replacement Series
Part 1 shown below, ‘Modern Medicine’s Most Amazing Miracle in 2018 | Patient’s Can Achieve a Complete Phase 1 Recovery in Just 9 Days When Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement Techniques are Used,‘ can be found here.
Table of Contents | Part 2
I’m not great creating jumplinks, which are links within articles that take you to other places within the same article. Plus that they take a ton of time to create (maybe because I’m so lousy with them ;-/ ?)
Hopefully someday soon WordPress will provide writers with an automated method for auto-generating a hot-linked Table of Contents…but for right now, they don’t. So, rather than skipping this helpful Reader tool completely, I thought I’d manually create this sort of ‘retro’ Table of Contents. At least it will give you an idea of where to look for something contained within this post.Introduction
- Video of the Hana Table Used for the Direct Anterior Approach
- Why I Wrote This Favorites Guide
- About My Recommendations | Amazon Affiliate Disclosure
- Everything I Know About Icing Machines
- What I Know About Intermittent Pneumatic Compressions Devices
- A Wedge for Leg Elevation
- Aids Recommended by My Surgeon or the Hospital
- Aids the Hospital Gave Me During Therapy Sessions
- Products for Pain
- Anti Leg-Cramp Remedies
- Traditional Homeopathic Remedies for Injury, Pain, Inflammation and Healing
- Additional Topical Treatments
- Food, Vitamins & Supplements that Help Pain
- Why Pears are My New Favorite Fruit
- 2 Supplements That Helped Me
- The Last 2 Supplements that Help Me A Lot
- A Great Patient Forum on THR’s
- Conclusion & Comments
Three weeks ago I had a total hip replacement. I was lucky because my surgeon provided a lot of pre-surgical advice and support options. So I was guided into considering getting many things that I might need post-op. I also attended a class at the hospital where I ultimately had my surgery. During it they talked about many devices and aids which would make my life easier the first few weeks with my new hip.
They also told me that I’d meet with physical and occupational therapists several times during my overnight stay. Those individuals would go over all the things that I’d need to be able to do in order to be discharged. Things like dress myself, use the rest room, put on my shoes and socks, and use the stairs. If I struggled with tasks, they would offer me tools to make that task easier. Those tools that I wanted to bring home I could and they were just added to my hospital bill.
My Procedure, Called the Anterior Direct Approach, Utilized the Special Operating Table Shown in the Short Video Below
Why I Wrote This ‘Favorite Products‘ Guide
Shortly after I scheduled my hip replacement I discovered that one of my siblings was also planning to have bilateral hip replacements right around the same time as me! How weird is that?
My procedure ended up occurring a few weeks sooner. So I decided to try and write a series of articles for that sibling (who shall remain nameless unless they want to reveal their own health status to the world.)
Doing that during my own recovery however has proven more challenging than I realized time-wise. Aside from my ability to move around and get daily tasks done, which currently takes about 5 times longer than my normal speed, I’ve got tons of daily exercises, driving practice, and activities involving trying to manage my pain as well as office visits for various aspects of my recovery which take up the vast majority of my time. So this 2nd part is getting done much later than I planned, and a possible 3rd part probably won’t make sense.
UC Davis Orthopedic’s Department Wrote This Great Guide to Hip Replacement Surgery for Patients, Which I Found Particularly Helpful Post-Surgery …starting on around page 17.
About My Recommendations
Many of my recommendations will be in the form of links to products on Amazon, which is where I made all of my own purchases. But I also want to point out that I am an Amazon Affiliate. This means that I make a very small commission if someone purchases something using a link I’ve provided at Amazon. However, this would never have an impact upon the price. It’s just a way that Amazon (and other retail establishments too) have come up with to reward people who are willing to share products they’ve used and loved with others in the hopes that they might buy their products too.
So I’m wrote this post to include all of the things I found helpful, as well as to help someone else find them on Amazon. I don’t know about you, but often times I don’t find things easily on Amazon. In fact I’ve found that Googling things is usually a better way of finding them on Amazon than searching Amazon itself for them. Pretty much anything that wasn’t given to me in the hospital I bought from Amazon, with only one or two exceptions.
Icing Machines (aka Cold Therapy) | 1 Thing I Learned About Too Late to Be of Personal Benefit
But That Possibly Might Be of Benefit to Other Hip Replacement Recipients
Naturally after any surgery patients are required to ice their injuries a lot, to reduce swelling, thereby promoting better circulation and faster healing. But the frequency of icing and even the number of sites where ice is used can vary dramatically by patient and by situation.
For example where I’m physically located it’s still the dead of winter and the idea of icing constantly isn’t all that appealing because I’m frequently cold to begin with. So I’ve used a combination of cold and warm therapy which surprisingly to me is still advised by both my surgeon and therapist even at the 3 week mark. I also find that both cold and warm therapy help to relieve pain a lot which is really important since I experience pain in my entire surgical leg at least 50% of the time. Consequently, I’ve used combinations of both frequently. It’s not unusual to find me sitting on a couch with my leg slightly elevated (in order to reduce swelling…by keeping it above the heart) with my entire leg covered using a series of cold and warm wraps. The warm wraps for me, help to physically endure the cold ones better and relax muscles too.
Were I to have had my surgery somewhere warm however, say in Florida, constant icing may have been both desirable and palliative. Which is where I think the possible use of an icing machine might be really beneficial.
What I know about icing machines isn’t a lot since I’ve never personally used one, but I have researched them more than I would have for just myself because of my sibling. Icing machines can be purchased relatively inexpensively from places like Amazon or online DME Durable Medical Equipment suppliers. Their costs for outright purchase can range from around $80 to $250. I suspect that you can also rent them from local DME suppliers but my efforts to find a local source failed at a rate which matched my interest level. My enthusiasm waned a little more with each subsequent phone call, and ended abruptly by around my 8th to 10th call (this may have been due to my inability to stay awake any longer in my early post-op days.)
When I first discovered these therapy devices the source I found called them ‘icing machines.’ The name ‘icing machine’ is really a misnomer however, because these machines don’t really produce instant ice…rather they provide a source of constantly re-circulating very cold water through pads designed for use on specific body parts. Hip pads are shaped a lot like many company’s standard large pads I discovered. So if you find a machine you like but not a pad…chances are their standard pad will fit the bill.
Below is an example of an icing machine that’s made by Ossur (as shown at DME Direct’s website,) along with examples of both their hip pads and their standard pad. Ossur, along with DonJoy were the 2 companies I was most interested in when I was researching these for myself.
This total unit by Ossur at DME Direct with a hip pad included costs $200 and includes free shipping. I found the exact same thing at Amazon with a right hip pad included for $141.70 (today…last week it was $159.90,) also with free shipping included. In both instances confirming shipping speed by phone is recommended since I had several items delivered which were too late and I no longer needed them by the time they arrived. They were easily returned but why go through all the hassle? What I learned was the stated shipping date upon ordering isn’t always the actual shipping date. Often not by a long shot! So being proactive here helps!
Below is an interesting NPR article on cold therapy and medical insurance companies’ propensity to not want to cover it despite its proven benefits. As I’m sure most readers are aware, narcotic pain medicine is so inexpensive that’s what health insurance companies prefer that their patients use. Even in instances where long term use might prove to be detrimental and longer term palliative solutions, such as cortisone injections might prove to be much better for a patients overall health! Don’t even get me started on this…it’s a bit of a pet peeve!
Another Thing I Only Learned About After-the-Fact Are Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Devices
I already discussed these in some detail in Part 1 of this series…Modern Medicines Most Amazing Miracle…but I just remembered something that I didn’t address there so I thought I’d mention it here. It has to do with shipping.
I used Amazon customer service to help me place an order for the pneumatic compression device I ended up using a lot (pictured below) because for me, it reduced my pain considerably.
As I stated in my previous article I originally ordered a more expensive unit but upon actually placing that order I discovered the shipping date had changed to about a week later than originally shown. I called Amazon customer service because I’d agreed to pay a lot extra…may be $20 extra for overnight delivery. They removed the upcharge I’d paid for expedited delivery because I needed it soon but in the end I left the order in place thinking that I’d try the less expensive one pictured here while I waited for what I thought would be the better one.
Thank God I end up loving this unit instead because about a week and a half later…which was quite a while after the 2nd unit should have arrived I received a message from Amazon telling me it was not available! That was about 2 weeks after I ordered it!! So it’s important to stay on top of shipping dates with time sensitive items!
I went back and forth about where to place this because it was probably the #1 product that helped with all of my leg pain related to cramping and restless leg syndrome. But it’s also a durable medical piece of equipment that can be rented from DME suppliers too…so I decided to locate it here rather than with all the homeopathic and topical treatments further down.
A Wedge for Elevating Your Leg is Something that Can Really Help With Icing & is Comfortable Too
2 Years ago I had foot surgery which is what began the sequence of events leading up to my hip replacement. The recovery was long and painful…much longer than I suspect my hip will be. I was required to keep my foot elevated with ice on it for 10 solid days…24/7. That was tough but I did it and it helped to bring about a really positive final outcome. I just wish that I had splurged then and gotten this wedge because I feel like I would have gotten my money’s worth out of it!
Mary Lou Retton, the famous Olympic Gymnast posted an inspiring video about her total hip replacement you can watch here.
Things I Got Based on the Advice of My Class or My Surgeon’s Online Checklists
1. Swivel Shower Stool by iCarez
4.4 x 14.5 x 14.5″
I searched for a long time for this. I like to take baths not showers so I was already worried that showering might prove difficult given some balance issues I have. Both the hospital and physical therapist recommended revising the shower area a bit with a shower stool, handle, and placing non-slip treads in the floor. I did all three things and it’s worked out well.
Maybe it’s because I’m a bath person…I don’t know…but it took almost a week before I felt good enough and was up for actually taking a shower. When I finally did it was an ordeal lasting hours and I was exhausted afterwards! From a shower!! That’s kind of pitiful I think!!! Yet I was very glad for all the time I’d taken getting the stool and other things.
When considering stools, at first I thought a stool that swiveled would be less secure and I didn’t think that I wanted one. But then I read somewhere that the swivel was actually really useful for smaller showers. Because it allows you to sit on it and then turn yourself around and face into the shower. I do have a small shower and the swivel feature has worked nicely for that aspect. At 3 1/2 weeks I’m still finding the stool helpful!
This particular stool is also very lightweight so that I can carry it from one bathroom to another easily using once crutch, to one that has a bathtub. Then I run warm water into the tub and sit on the stool, dangling my legs into the water to help relieve cramping in my calves. You’re not supposed to take baths or ‘soak’ your incision area by taking a bath.
2. Locking Toilet Seat Riser with Arms
I also spent a long time searching for this because on our first floor where I would be situated for who knew how long, the main toilet felt lower than average. So I wanted something that was higher than average, but also that locked and was easy to handle alone. This seems to fit the bill. But when it arrived it wasn’t what was shown in the picture…although it was described accurately in the description. But I’m a visual person and relied upon the picture…so did my husband.
So, while this is not a higher than average riser like I’d hoped…it is a very nice riser that’s both comfortable, safe and secure, and I actually like it a lot. It’s just exactly the same as many others sold at Amazon…but for a really good price.
3. Suction Type Handle for Stability
Add on Item $8.68 or $8.69 as add-on item
I wasn’t sure if this would work for us or if I would use it. But apparently I ordered 4 of them anyway! I sent 3 of them back…but the 4th one does work well in our shower. It’s stays locked in place securely and has done so for a few weeks now which is all I needed it to do. So I think this handle was well worth the 8 bucks!
4. Anti-Slip Shower & Bathtub Stickers
I almost forgot to get anti-slip stickers, so I didn’t spend a lot of time picking them out. I was literally sticking them to my shower floor the morning of my surgery.
When I got back from the hospital post-op and I realized that I also needed grippy socks too. Yet I discovered that I couldn’t order any that would arrive fast enough for me to use in the next few days. So, I ended up cutting up some of my leftover bathtub stickers and making my own grippy socks to cover me until the new ones I also ordered at that time arrived.
Making My Own DIY Grippy Socks
Things that the Hospital or Occupational Therapist Gave Me During My Overnight Hospital Stay
Initially I was on the fence about whether or not I wanted to spend one night in the hospital, but I ended up becoming a believer as the experience unfolded. What won me over I think was that first night was rough. Instead of having to wake up my husband to help me get to the restroom or take my pain medication…I was happy to have the nurse do it as part of their normal routine…so I didn’t feel like I was imposing on anyone. Also, I benefited from different people’s perspectives on the best ways to go about certain challenging tasks. Thinks like getting into and out of bed…and into and out of the restroom. Some of their unique approaches ended up helping me for weeks to come!
1. Open Toe Compression socks
In the hospital I was required to wear open toed compression socks with grippy socks over them so I wouldn’t slip and fall….and last a pair of electronically inflatable compression contraptions placed on each calve to prevent deep vein thrombosis. Apparently when a person experiences such a massive amount of their own bone being cut out of their body and replaced with an implant and then they sit in bed a lot until the pain subsides enough to want to venture out often…you’re very prone to pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis.
The open toed compression socks and inflatable compression device is intended to counter that tendency, and you are advised to continue wearing the open toed socks at home too. Since the pair the hospital provided me with was white and they were already getting dirty before I even left, I decided to order a darker pair for home use I could switch between. But I found that getting these up quickly was a challenge and in retrospect it would have been nice to have them at home when I arrived there instead of just beginning my search for them!
This is the pair I decided to get. They are just a tiny bit less tight than the hospital pair.
2. 3 Pack of Grippy Socks
We have hard wood floors at home and I knew that like in the hospital, the compression socks would be slippery on our floors. Plus it’s still winter here and my feet just get cold! I ended up loving the grippy socks I found. They’re warm, very grippy without feeling lumpy and soft and comfortable too!
3. Sock Putter Onner
I sort of made up the title ‘sock putter onner’ for lack of something else to call it. I never could have imagined how difficult it would be to put a sock on a fresh new-hip leg or foot. Even at the 2 week mark I use the sock putter onner most of the time…although it is getting easier now and I at least have a chance of reaching my foot with my arm!
I absolutely love this sock putter onner and think the device is absolute genius! When I finally don’t need it anymore I’ll be mailing it to my 92 year old Dad who I know has some problems getting his own socks on…because he too is experienced hip problems! But at 92 his doctors don’t think a complete hip replacement is the best idea…and I get why…it’s pretty brutal…even despite all the recent improvements!
4. Leg Lifter
I wish someone from the hospital had told me about these. For some reason after your hip joint has been cut out you have absolutely no front thigh muscles to lift your leg with. So getting your leg into bed, into a car, up onto a footstool or couch is almost impossible all on your own. The first few days even using your arm to lift it seems challenging, although one hospital nurse did teach me a technique to use my other leg as a sort of lever and latch the surgical leg onto it using my foot as a hook. But that method only works sometimes…and it can be exhausting when you’re on heavy-duty pain killers! So a leg lifter is an absolute essential imo!
Below is my video on how to make a DYI leg lifter from a tube scarf.
That being said…this is also the device that is easiest to jury-rig up your own modification of. For example…out of sheer desperation I discovered that a tube scarf works well for this purpose. What’s a tube scarf? Well, it’s something I wear to keep my neck warm because ever since I chopped off my long hair into a very short pixie cut, my neck feels naked and gets really cold. So tube scarves keep it warm.They can also be described as inexpensive tubes of fabric like that shown below…which when fully extended are plenty long to use as a leg lifter too!
Below is one of my favorite tube scarves from Amazon. Also I’ve included an official leg lifter for comparison purposes.
5. Long-handled shoe horn
Both this long-handled shoe horn and the long-handled sponge shown next have been useful for me. Both were given to me in the hospital by the occupational therapist. The shoe horn is just a really nice one and I’ll use it forever. The sponge on the other hand…not so much!
6. Long-handled sponge
Post-Surgical Hip Replacement – Products for Pain
I’ve Had Some Nocturnal Leg and Foot Cramps in the Past…But Nothing Like This!
This section has ended up being very long and should have been a separate post entirely…maybe I’ll still do that. Because pain issues have been significant for me, and frankly, I think they are for most hip replacement patients. It’s more a matter of ‘for how long’ than anything else probably. Currently I’m early into week 3 and still take something for pain constantly…usually 2 things. A topical and oral medicine.
The good news is the pain is lessening and changing which shows progress…just as my ability keeps improving too. My biggest problem…when I sit quietly my pain goes away. As soon as I start doing anything…even just walking…it comes back with such a vengeance that only taking pain medicine (Tylenol usually) will relieve it. I know I should be exercising much more than I am…but that’s why I’m not!
Going back to the beginning…the first week I expected massive pain and I wasn’t surprised. As it lessened, that’s when I considered leaving narcotics behind me. So I stopped taking the narcotic pain medicine that I’d been sent home from the hospital with at the end of the first week. In addition to the normal incisional and surgical pain any person would feel from chopping off some of the largest bones in their body, I experienced a lot of other leg pain too. This, according to both my doctor and PT guy is quite normal.
Around the time I stopped the narcotics is when the awful leg cramps set in for me. Did stopping the narcotics cause it? It shouldn’t have based on what everyone has told me. This pain has been consistent for the entire course of my rehab…and has paralleled it in intensity. Had I known this in advance I may not have stopped taking the heavy duty pain medicine quite so soon. Because even though it didn’t appear to cause it…it would have helped in dealing with it. But I didn’t. I wasn’t feeling great from the pain meds and in my mind when I quit them I was done with them for good. (Weeks later however I did resume taking very small amounts of the leftover narcotic pain meds I still had just for sleeping purposes…breaking them into tiny slivers.) They did help a lot for another week and my approach seemed to prevent most of the negative side effects.
But initially after stopping the narcotics, I pretty much had to rely upon Tylenol for what began as nighttime leg cramps but then turned into almost constant daily cramps that frequently moved locations and travelled all around my surgical leg. A typical cycle might be with the pain beginning in the front of my thigh…which then moved to my knee, then to my calve and sometimes even my ankle. Then it might jump up to focus around my incision or in my buttock area…where I usually felt sciatic pain. I figured those pains were more likely due to the actual surgery…since some of it didn’t seem to fall into the ‘cramping’ category.
Photo by dan carlson on Unsplash
In truth, when your leg hurts a lot, and it continues to hurt most of the time, you don’t really end up spending much time trying to differentiate amongst the sources of it. You just want it gone!
Anti Leg-Cramp Remedies
Since I Had Experienced Nocturnal Leg & Foot Cramps Previously I Immediately Went to The Things That Helped Me the Most When Those Were a Problem Before
The things that had helped me out the most previously were Homeopathic remedies in either tablet or topical forms as well as other topical treatments, dietary changes and mechanical or movement therapies like stretching.
Hylands is a brand I’ve come to trust and they make 2 different tablets as well as an ointment I’ve liked a lot in the past. I had one tablet at home but ordered the other which is a PM version,with different ingredients. It has a higher concentration of Quinine, which is an ingredient known to help leg cramping. I also ordered more ointment, because we were almost out…I must have used a lot of it last time!
Hylands Leg Cramp Tablets $9.48
Hylands Leg Cramp Tablets PM 50 Ct. $7.40
Hylands Leg Cramp Ointment $9.23
Typically the regular tablets (not the PM version I’d never tried before) helped me the most. But with this post-surgical cramping and pain I found that the ointment helped me the most.
Since I began with these and I wasn’t having huge success I kept searching for something better. I then ran across Boron’s remedy…which is another good brand for homeopathic medicine and another I had at home already.
Boiron’s remedy I’d used less. I wasn’t sure if that was because it didn’t work as well for me or just because it took a little longer to dissolve sublingually (under the tongue.) So I added that to my regime but still didn’t have a ton of success.
Boiron Cuprum Metallicum – is what I’ve taken for leg cramps in the past.
- Arnica Montana 30x (quick dissolving tablets…see below) is what I started taking for the current pain caused by injury from the surgery.
- Arnica Montana Creme I’ve been using topically along with the arnica tablets to strengthen then effect…it works for a few hours.
Traditional Homeopathic Remedies for Injury, Pain, Inflammation and Healing
That’s when I began to branch out from just leg cramp remedies to pain, anti-inflammatory, traumatic injuries and healing remedies.
For many years, before she move away, I was treated by a Medical Doctor who was also trained in acupuncture and homeopathy. She was amazing and caring practitioner who was probably more highly trained than any Doctor I’ve ever encountered either before or after.
Many of the remedies I use today originated from her. Most of the things she tried with me were very helpful…if they weren’t I moved on and forgot about them. I have an underlying hereditary condition which I believe causes me to be hypersensitive to many things which cause physical sensations. Hypersensitivity to medication happens to be one of them. Small amounts or dosages for me usually go a long way and large amounts or very strong medications sometimes completely overwhelm my system. That’s why I suspect things like acupuncture and homeopathy work so well for me.
I began taking Traumeel, a great anti-inflammatory and pain remedy on her advice. It’s the one homeopathic remedy that I’ve used for a very long time that also seems to have fairly universal success. It’s even used in veterinary cases a lot! The other is Arnica. I shopped for Arnica in both tablet form and topical form because Arnica is the best healing remedy I know of to take following a traumatic injury. Taking a combination of Arnica Tablets and using that alongside either the creme or gel form of Arnica has been helping me alot!! Yay! You are so limited with what you can take post surgery that I’m beyond happy this is working for me!
I found another combination that also works well for me. It’s taking Traumeel tablets and along with Aspercreme Rub. I would have tried both forms of Traumeel…tablets and gel together, if I had both. But I didn’t, I just had the tablets. Traumeel isn’t easy to come by in the US recently. I didn’t think if I ordered the Traumeel ointment I’d receive it anytime soon. So I think my combining it with Aspercreme made sense and was a good approach which works because homeopathy tends to be a milder, gentler kind of treatment. Many topical treatments seem to be the same. I think that explains why using a combined therapy of tablets along with a topical treatment has been highly successful for me in dealing with this somewhat intractable pain. Using combinations like this isn’t something that I’ve tried in the past, so I was really happy to discover it now!
A few more aspects of homeopathic oral remedies I should discuss. They are all taken sublingually, therefore if you use a liquid sublingually it will absorb much faster than the time it takes a tablet to dissolve and absorb. Generally you shouldn’t have consumed anything with a strong scent, like onions, coffee or even toothpaste for about 30 minutes prior to taking anything sublingually, but especially homeopathic remedies because they are so gentle. Most liquids have an alcohol base that can sting if you have any cuts in your mouth. Last I just learned that homeopathic remedies never really go bad or expire. So don’t throw them away if they don’t work from r something! There’s a good chance they’ll work for something else instead. They will keep indefinitely as long as they are stored in a cool, dry location.
Normally, I prefer using Traumeel’s liquid form. I don’t know if it was because I had a breathing tube or what, but I did have some sore spots in my mouth post surgery. I found that the tablets easier to take than the liquid despite the longer absorption time, because the alcohol made my mouth sting. Also most homeopathic remedies come in various strengths. Understanding that hierarchy is fairly complicated, so it’s just easier to say that for home, 30x or c is best, followed by 6.
Additional Topical Treatments
Magnesium Lotion $8.70 for 8 oz Bottle
This lotion isn’t helping much with my current post-surgical leg pain, but in the past it’s been one of my go-too solutions. My husbands personal trainer got this for me a few years back when I was having trouble with regular leg cramps. It helped a lot at that time and was difficult to find so I decided to include it even though it isn’t helping me much this time around.
Theraworx Foam 7.1 oz $19.95
Since my tried and true Magnesium Lotion wasn’t helping I decided to try another formulation of Magnesium. I went with Theraworx because it got great reviews and it would arrive quickly…or so I thought. A week later it finally arrived…and I was ready to send it back because my leg cramps appear too be gone. But, my leg still hurts it’s just not cramps…and one night when the pain was bad (it always seems worst at night) I decided to try it. I was surprised to find that it does help! I guess some of my leg pain is still related to cramps!
Below I included some information on Theraworx and compare it’s ingredients to those of the Magnesium Lotion I’ve always relied upon in the past.
Voltaren Gel is a prescription anti-inflammatory and pain topical medicine in the U.S. I had some around the house from a back problem long ago. When I stopped taking the narcotics, the first day the pain was really bad so I dug this out, researched the safety of taking it and tried it. It didn’t help me much and I got a bloody nose…which went away when I stopped using it.
So Voltaren is a NSAID and I was worried that it might somehow enter your bloodstream and cause blood thinning the way oral NSAID’s do. Apparently it doesn’t because my doctor, well really his PA said it was OK to use. But then the bloody nose thing happened…and worse…stopped when I stopped using Voltaren and that was my proof that using this in the early days post surgery isn’t safe.
2 weeks later I tried it again with much better results. It helped my pain and no bloody nose. So timing after surgery seems important.
Food, Vitamins, & Supplements
Why Pears May Become Your Favorite Fruit
Pears – There’s one nutritional suggestion that has nothing to do with pain. I’m able to share this with you because of the kind actions of a very dear friend who also had a hip replacement several years ago. She sent me not one, but 2 amazing gift boxes filled with some of the most wonderful pears I’ve ever had! I never knew that pears could be so good! Nor did my husband who had a hard time not eating them all before I could get to them ;-)
Why did she send me pears? I was wondering the exact same thing myself. She sent them because she knew that my gastrointestinal system would be all out of sorts from the heavy duty pain medication. And somewhere along the way she learned that pears are one of the highest fiber fruits in existence. I suspect she also knew that plain old grocery store pears, if even available in the dead of winter, probably wouldn’t be all that great tasting. Not so with the Amazon gift pears…they were amazing!
Below: The gift box of pears I received from my dear friend
While I don’t know exactly which gift box she sent to me and it doesn’t seem to be any of them that I found (see the screenshot above.) I thought that I should include a few examples of similar gift boxes I did find, just so that you know they really do exist. Believe me, these pear gift but boxes were not that easy to track down at Amazon! Even knowing they came from Amazon Fresh didn’t seem to help much.
In the screenshot above on the far left Comice Pears, $36 for 9 are shown. In the middle is 4 lbs of a winter pears medley including Bosc pears, Asian pears, Comice pears and Red d’Anjou pears for $43. On the right is another medley…this time it includes 3 each of Comice, Bosc and Red Pears for $28.
Dill Pickles – most of the dietary changes I tried didn’t seem to make a bit of difference except this one. My son mentioned to me that this as a popular cramp remedy with some of the players from his former state championship winning tennis team. Separately I’d run across several mentions of this remedy online. So with the combined credibility of several recommendations I decided to give it a try.
I was really surprised to find that eating a dill pickle really helped! Especially when no other dietary change seemed to matter in the least. Drinking more fluids in general and drinking a lot of electrolyte enhanced beverages seemed to have no impact what so ever.
My Dill Pickles
Eating more salt, soy sauce, baking soda and yellow mustard didn’t matter, nor did more bananas or other sources of potassium or magnesium.
One thing I didn’t try, but my PT recommended was a sport supplement called Hot Shot. At first I couldn’t find it until he gave this link to my husband. He said the science behind it was based on the concept that strong tastes that shock your tastebuds…like hot things or sour things as in fermented foods (i.e.dill pickles) help with muscle cramping…although the mechanism isn’t yet entirely understood.
Overtime, the actual leg cramps have dissipated but general leg pain remains. In reading more about why my legs hurt so much I found others undergoing THR have also battled severe muscle tightness, which is what my PT says is the reason for all my pain now. Each time I see him he works on sort of massaging all the muscle sets which run all the way up and down my leg and around my hip, to break up the tightness. It seems like it’s occurring because my body is trying to align my leg into a joint that just wasn’t formed correctly initially…and decades of muscle memory don’t just disappear overnight.
2 Vitamin Supplements that Continue to Help A Lot are Calcium Citrate and Lyte Fuel Electrolyte Tablets which I Take with my Tylenol
My husband took me to a local health supplement store similar to GNC after physical therapy one day. A sales clerk working there recommended that I try Calcium Citrate. I found the Lyte Fuel Tablets at Amazon and decided to try them because I can’t have sugar which most regular electrolyte beverages are packed with and sugar free ones can have negative gastrointestinal effects (as well as taste horrific!)
Above: A Calcium Citrate Formulation similar to mine (but available on Amazon) along with my Lyte Fuel Supplements. Both are available at Amazon.
The Last 2 Supplements that Help Me
I apparently don’t get enough calcium, maybe because I’m lactose intolerant? I was diagnosed with osteopenia a few years ago. So I’ve always tried to counteract that and be conscientious about taking calcium supplements. The same homeopathic MD I mentioned earlier told me about a great source of calcium that I’ve been taking for years…Coral Legend. She told me that it’s one of the most absorbable and good ways to supplement calcium. I’m sure there was more she told me too, but it was a long time ago and I’ve forgotten. I usually take a tiny amount of Coral Legend (because I take regular calcium too and because it’s so expensive!) every night. I mix it in water then use that water to wash down my other supplements with. Since the cramping began I’ve increased how much I use…and now am using at least 1/4 teaspoon per night if not more…which means is the recommended amount.
I also just added another supplement that she’d had me taking years ago. I don’t really remember why I was taking it back then but from what I recall it was to sleep better. Maybe I was experiencing leg cramping that was interrupting my sleep? Although I tend to think that wasn’t the case…I couldn’t tell you why though. This supplement is called Magnelevures. I remember the part about taking it for sleep well because it was so strong for me that I could only take about 1/8 of an envelope of the stuff. Otherwise I’d not be able to wake up the next morning! I stopped having problems sleeping and stopped taking it at some point. But I save everything.
So I was able to find half of a used box of Magnelevures and I’ve resumed taking too. I did this because I had some vague recollection that it helps with leg cramps. Since it contains 120 mg of magnesium that would make sense. Between the Coral Legend and the Magnelevures I’m finally getting enough magnesium I think…because my very severe leg cramps are gone. What’s left is just plain leg pain which isn’t nearly as bad. Although as the memory of the cramps distances itself further…my current leg pain seems to get worse ;-) I still don’t take anywhere near the amount of Magnelevures that’s recommended by Unda. They suggest 2 envelopes a day. I take about 1/4 of 1 right before bedtime because it does make me sleepy.
A Great Patient Forum
I was Googling a lot of my questions the first few days and ran across this hip replacement patient forum that’s very active and very helpful.
I’m sure if I stopped to think for a moment I’d remember something else I wanted to include…so I won’t. Because my sibling…who I think I can safely now reveal is my brother, came home from the hospital today…and he’s right at the point where if any of these will be of use to him…that time would be right now.
Please feel free to share any ideas you may have found successful for your recovery. Scroll down a little further to leave a comment.
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