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    My Experience with Joint Pain: Hip Pain After Pregnancy

    This post was sponsored by DePuy Synthes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central; however, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

    My Experience with Joint Pain: Hip Pain After Pregnancy

    Hip pain after pregnancy was a surprising experience for me postpartum. I have always experienced problems with my joints because of my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). EDS refers to a collection of heritable connective tissue disorders, the symptoms of which include joint hypermobility, joint pain, and hyperextensible joints. I was constantly injuring myself doing gymnastics, which I loved but my joints did not. As a teenager, I also developed bursitis in both my knees as a result of my tumbling. But I refused to spend my life on the sidelines because of my knee pain. After seeing my doctor and then a physical therapist, I learned to better manage my joint problems and pain, especially in my knees. I was able to hit play on my life and rejoin the activities that I loved.

    Then came the unexpected aches and pains of pregnancy. During my first trimester, I began experiencing some lower back pain, which I expected. While lying on my back on the floor one evening, I realized that I could no longer move without hurting. I was in such extreme pain that my husband had to help me back up. By my third trimester, the back pain started up and had moved to below my right shoulder blade, likely due to my daughter poking me in my gallbladder. During my third trimester, I also began experiencing hip pain that radiated down my legs when I lay on my sides. Because I was hugely pregnant, I had no choice but to lay on my sides while I slept. Sleeping on my stomach was impossible, and sleeping on my back was not recommended (or comfortable). My only choice was to endure my hip pain and sleep on my side. I kept reminding myself that the pain would stop once I gave birth and was no longer so huge. I figured that my hip pain during pregnancy was the result of my extra weight pushing on my joints or a nerve.

    However, by ten weeks postpartum, I was still experiencing hip pain when I lay on my side. I even woke up once night in such great pain that I shrieked out loud. The simplest solution would have been for me to sleep on either my stomach or my back. Although I do sometimes sleep on my back, sleeping on my stomach was still largely not feasible because I was nursing my daughter. Not only was sleeping on my front painfully uncomfortable, if I wanted to get any sort of rest during the night, I needed to be able to lay on my side. Instead of fully waking up to nurse my daughter, I would simply lay down on my side with her next to me. I loved nursing my baby, and I did not want to miss out on the experience because of something like hip pain.

    Dealing with hip or knee pain can make you feel like your life is stuck on pause. Even in daily life, the pain can make you feel like you should sit back on the sidelines. I am used to a certain amount of joint discomfort and pain in my daily life because of my EDS. However, my postpartum hip pain really cut into my sleep and my breastfeeding experience. If I managed to fall asleep on my side despite the pain, I would wake up when the pain worsened and radiated down my leg. Time eventually lessened my pain, but I still sometimes experience recurrences. I honestly wish that I had spoken with my health care provider for treatment options when my hip pain started after the birth of my daughter.

    Sponsored by DePuy Synthes, the Hit Play initiative helps illustrate and bring awareness to the activities and experiences that individuals with hip and knee pain are missing out on and empower individuals with joint pain to talk to a physician about potential options including hip and knee replacements. From cooking to gardening and tumbling to sleeping, do not let hip or knee pain sideline you. If you too suffer from pain in your knees or hips, visit the “Physician Locator” to help you discuss treatment options today.

    As a teenager, I refused to allow my knee pain to keep me on the sidelines. I loved gymnastics despite the bursitis in my knees. By talking to my doctor, I was able to find a treatment plan that worked for me. After the birth of my daughter, my hip pain nearly sidelined me. However, I refused to allow my joint pain to disrupt my nursing relationship with my baby. I just wish that had spoken to my nurse practitioner about the problem. Hit play on your life and rejoin the things that you love!

    Image Credits

    My Experience with Joint Pain: Hip Pain After Pregnancy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/awkwardturtle/4801964186/ (CC BY-NC 2.0) and https://www.flickr.com/photos/jazbeck/7186953608/ (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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