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Hip, hip but no hooray?

 
gardener
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I have wanted to have a permaculture garden since I first saw the documentary by Bill back in the early 80s. Now I have the chance to develop the dreams but have also developed hip problems. I can't have hip replacement untill I am 10 years older or in intolerable pain (!). Everytime I wake up I have an idea in my head of what to plant or sow or build, and by mid-morning I have to give up. That is depressing in itself. Now. We all know that there is someone else out there with worse problems, but somehow that doesn't always help when one is kneeling on the ground, unable to get up, just as the postie arrives, the phone rings or one nees the loo. Does anyone out there have exercises to help with hip and back pain, ideas for doing gardening tasks more easily or just knows what hip pain and associated sciatica is like?
 
pollinator
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I am so sorry.

The first thing that comes to mind, is that in our Canadian medical system, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Unbearable pain is subjective.

The second, is that some people here choose to go elsewhere to get the care they want. Not cheap, but perhaps not as expensive as you might think.

The third is that raised beds could be your best friend. Built either to let you sit on the edge at a comfortable height, or to let you sit beside them in/on something portable..

A stout stick perpetually by your side to help you stand?

Extra-long tools to let you avoid kneeling/crouching? My mom has a small-bladed long-handled shovel that sees a lot of use in place of a trowel for this reason.

 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
gardener
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Thank you Dillon. Raised beds are definitely an option. Paying for hip op I'm afraid us beyond our pensions. Long handled tools sound interesting.
 
master pollinator
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My family - my dad (89), my husband (60), and I (56) -  do stretches to strengthen hips and we are having much less stiffness and pain.  Here's a link to some stretches which may help you:  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325029.php
 
Posts: 249
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I am so sorry you have this pain. I had both of my knees replaced when I was 39.   I have found raised beds that are tall enough to work while sitting on a folding stool work best for me. They are all about 2 feet wide(60cm) and a foot tall(30 cm).  I used to have wider beds but I kept over extending and injuring myself to the point of need several months of physical therapy to stop the muscle spasms.    Here is a picture of some of our annual veggie beds.


My husband makes them for me and he also lays cardboard and wood chips in the pathways to make things easier for me. Keeping the weed pressure down is a must along with having smooth even pathways for me to walk in.    We use tarps to kill the grass and other weed seeds to expand our garden and over winter our annual veggie beds.  This saves us time a labor which is a must when you are dealing with chronic pain and reduced mobility.  

I love having garden tools with different length handles that serve the same function.  That way I can match the tool to my pain and energy levels that day.  I prefer lighter weight tools that can hold up to being left in the garden for a few days.  I know this means need to replace -them more often but it allows me to keep gardening.

Also take a look at techniques that organic or better market gardeners use to make your life easier.   This is why a good chunk of my front yard is under tarps at the moment.  We are re-configuring pert of our garden and we are using the tarps to kill what is there.

When we plant our next batch of trees and shrubs we will be using Stefan Sobkowiak's method of using drip lines and silage tarps for weed pressure.  I can't do chop and drop on a  large enough scale to give the plants a fighting chance and other mulches just break down too fast in my cold wet climate. We will keep it in place till everything is established enough to survive critters and insane, invasive, and aggressive weed pressure we have. Using larger animals for the weed pressure is a long term plan but that will have to wait till my husband can at least semi retire before we take on more than laying hens.








 
 
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Do you know why you are having hip pain?  

I had crippling arthritic back pain for years.  Some mornings I would barely be able to stand up first thing in the morning.  I decided to do a 30 day raw food challenge (to loose baby weight) and about 5 days into my challenge I noticed that I wasn't having back pain.  I don't know when exactly the pain had stopped because I was so used to having it that I didn't pay attention at first.  After the 30 days were up I went back to eating cooked food, specifically meat and the pain returned.  I cut beef (and now all meat) out and the pain went away again.  Thankfully, I have been pain free for about 8 years now.  I don't know if changing your diet will help or not, but I just thought I'd mention my experience with pain and how I over came it.  I hope that you will find something that either cures your pain or helps you cope with it.
 
steward & bricolagier
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Tricks for getting up: A) Be sitting on a stool any time you can, instead of on your knees, lees up to get.
B) When my pain is bad, a stout stick isn't enough to get me up, I keep a medical walker, set low, that I can use to ladder myself up. I end up using the ends, where there is an extra bar, your experience can tell you what works best for you. As long as it's within crawling distance, it's easy enough to get to. I use one like this, a light weight one, bought it at a thrift store, no wheels on it (I need it to stay put!)



Have you considered something like this? Look up Garden Sitting Cart ... lots of types. See if any look like you can deal with them.


And oh yes, I can totally empathize with you. It HURTS. I noticed the other day it hurts me less to swing a mattock for 30 minutes than it does to walk across the yard. Has to do with what muscles I'm using. it's weird.
HUGS my friend, it hurts, and I know how bad it gets. Been there, I'm past have the TShirt, I have the whole wardrobe. And it sucks.

:D
 
pollinator
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Mandy Launchbury-Rainey wrote:I have wanted to have a permaculture garden since I first saw the documentary by Bill back in the early 80s. Now I have the chance to develop the dreams but have also developed hip problems. I can't have hip replacement untill I am 10 years older or in intolerable pain (!). Everytime I wake up I have an idea in my head of what to plant or sow or build, and by mid-morning I have to give up. That is depressing in itself. Now. We all know that there is someone else out there with worse problems, but somehow that doesn't always help when one is kneeling on the ground, unable to get up, just as the postie arrives, the phone rings or one nees the loo. Does anyone out there have exercises to help with hip and back pain, ideas for doing gardening tasks more easily or just knows what hip pain and associated sciatica is like?



Two members of my family got knee replacements by the time they were 55, another by 60. It CAN be done, if you are in enough pain, and they wish they'd been given them years ago. And yes, pain is relative.

Is it a sudden onset hip and back problem, or a longer term worsening thing?

I've always been very skeptical of chiropractors, but I was having dehabilitating hip issues, where I would lie on my back and my hip would literally fall out of  the socket and I couldn't stand until the muscles slowly relaxed to let it fall back into place. Terrifying. Xray showed... no problem, and my doctor dismissed the issue, so I went to a chiropractor. She fixed it in one session, but it was back again in a month. Chiropractor said I had an inbalance of my hip muscles, too strong on the outside and too weak on the inside. I stopped sleeping with my legs in "butterfly" yoga position, and that helped some, but still came back. I went to the chiropractor about 3 times when it got bad again, then suddenly it went away. I figured it out when it came back a few months later - I had been spending a lot of time in a work pickup truck, hopping up by swinging a leg up and wrenching my body awkwardly in the process. It went away when i stopped driving a pickup truck, and came back when I started again. I am now very careful about how I enter and exit large vehicles, and my hip issues haven't reoccurred.  So I definitely suggest thinking about how you use, move, and stretch your body on a day to day basis, and the ergonomics of what you are doing. If it's a muscle issue rather than a joint degeneration issue, I'd be talking to a physiotherapist or a chiropractor for stretches.

For hip stretches, I like:
-  the butterfly position from yoga to stretch the inner muscles
- Grabbing my foot behind my back, and leaning forward to grab a counter with the other hand
- Sitting with both legs out, then putting one foot over the other leg, then stretching/turning away from it
- Standing in front of a counter and picking up my leg and putting it on the counter in front of me, then with my leg outstreched to the side, then with my leg stretched out to the back.

This article looks interesting - https://www.verywellhealth.com/back-pain-relief-through-outer-hip-muscle-stretching-297195

I also highly recommend trying lying on the floor with your knees up and feet on the floor to bring your lower back straight (I sleep like this if my back or hips hurt), then bringing the knees up and hugging them, and rolling a bit on your spine. Not a hip stretch, per se, but a really good relax for a sore back. I also love any sort of yoga twist - I am not an expert, so can't tell you the names of most of the stuff I do! My mother swears by her foam roller. She lies with it beneath her back by her spine and uses it to loosen up her back/hips/shoulders. With stretching, you always want to find countering moves - so stretch your inner hips then your outer hips, or stretch forward and then back, and always do both sides.

In terms of arthritis/degeneration pain - different NSAIDs (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs - ie pain killers - advil/ibuprofen, naproxen, etc) work better for different people, so if you have tried one and don't find it helps much, i would try a different one. For bad arthritis pain, a heating pad or, better yet, a heated mattress pad is heavenly (and saves on winter heating costs). Swimming is the easiest exercise if you can find a pool to lane swim somewhere (prior to one of my relatives getting his knees replaced, he swam a few times a week and found the non-weight bearing exercise was very helpful to his pain levels).

Hope you find something that helps!




 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Thank you so much Catie!
 
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It's hard when you're hurting, but keeping a healthy (on the low side) body weight and maintaining strong supporting muscles can help.  I'd second the reccomendation for swimming - especially if your local rec centre has a hottub or sauna for afterwards.  Sometimes there are even group exercise classes on offer for people waiting for surgery.

Do you have any access to physiotherapy or occupational therapy?  They might be helpful. YouTube has some helpful videos with titles like "how to get up and down from the floor" and "how to strengthen your glutes".  Although it is always good to apply a grain of common sense to filter "self help" videos, I have had a lot of success doing yoga and pilates videos off of YouTube.

The same way, it might be helpful to let your doctor know the pain is bad enough it makes it difficult to get up and to the bathroom.  Medecine is always about balancing the benefits and harms, joint replacement surgery is invasive and irreversible so they often tend to be hesitant until they are sure all other options have been explored - but that's a good thing and you want to do that too.  Keep slim, strengthen everything you can, learn how to move in ways that protect and or avoid your weak joints, optimize your diet for healing.  Maybe it will help you avoid surgery, or maybe it will just get you poised for good healing post joint replacement.  It can't hurt and could help a lot.
 
Kate Muller
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T.J. Stewart wrote:Do you know why you are having hip pain?  

I had crippling arthritic back pain for years.  Some mornings I would barely be able to stand up first thing in the morning.  I decided to do a 30 day raw food challenge (to loose baby weight) and about 5 days into my challenge I noticed that I wasn't having back pain.  I don't know when exactly the pain had stopped because I was so used to having it that I didn't pay attention at first.  After the 30 days were up I went back to eating cooked food, specifically meat and the pain returned.  I cut beef (and now all meat) out and the pain went away again.  Thankfully, I have been pain free for about 8 years now.  I don't know if changing your diet will help or not, but I just thought I'd mention my experience with pain and how I over came it.  I hope that you will find something that either cures your pain or helps you cope with it.



Figuring out which low inflammatory diet works for you is a difficult path but worth doing.  One thing I have learned from talking to  quite a few people that use diet to reduce inflammation symptoms including chronic pain is diet is so individual.  No one diet works for everyone and it takes a lot of work and commitment to really figure out what you should be eating based on your body.

I wound up doing a Low FODMAP elimination diet for some other health issues and found that about 28 common food and food additives aggravate various medical issues I have including increasing my chronic joint pain issues.  I wasn't expecting to get so much relief form diet changes but I am glad I took the 6 months to completely change the way I eat.
 
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