Surprise, Surprise! You need a Total Hip Replacement! OR: Living with Chronic Pain Without Knowing You’re Living with Chronic Pain. Tune Up Fitness Blog » Surprise, Surprise! You need a Total Hip Replacement! OR: Living with Chronic Pain Without Knowing You’re Living with Chronic Pain.

Surprise, Surprise! You need a Total Hip Replacement! OR: Living with Chronic Pain Without Knowing You’re Living with Chronic Pain.

By: | Monday, October 23rd, 2017 | Comments 55


It’s ironic, I’ve lived with chronic pain for at least 7 years…but didn’t know it.

A few months ago, I read the radiologist’s report of an MRI for my left hip. I had my hip scanned as I thought I had a torn labrum but the imaging told a different story. Labrum (the cartilage rim on the edge of the cup side of the hip joint)? What labrum? The joint is decimated. It looks like someone went in with an ice pick and chipped, flaked, abraded and destroyed my coxal (hip) joint.

  • Inflammation, check.
  • Osteoarthritis, check.
  • Bone cysts, check.
  • Chondromalacia, check.
  • Bone spurs, check.

My orthopedist further translated for me: I am a perfect candidate for total hip replacement.


My hip will be totally replaced.

When my orthopedist did a standard range of motion test on me, he rolled my right hip around in the socket like it was a pinwheel in the breeze. My left hip traced a similar path, but was 20% less the range. He contemplated out loud…”well, there’s your pre-existing condition right there.” We locked eyes and mouthed the words at the same time, “hypermobility.”

Inside my brain and body, I whisked through a timeline that scrolled through decades of dance, yoga, fitness and all the things I did to stretch myself into exhilarated states or mental quiet. I started to confess to my surgeon my own self-diagnosis of “overuse,” but cut my monologue off. He’s the fixer, not the detective.

But the detector in me is now on a new mission to sift through the decades of my life and identify moments of crisis where I think my movement patterns, or my emotional patterns pushed me to move to a threshold with such vehement regularity that I remodeled a hip that ultimately couldn’t survive the assault.

My therapist tried to stop me from further blaming myself for my condition, “perhaps it’s genetic,” he said. “No one in my family has had their hips replaced. I built this city,” I insisted. My pre-existing genetic condition was to move and stretch myself compulsively to stifle the emotional stresses I felt as a constant in my body. I’m not enough, not perfect enough, not smart enough, not nice enough, not pretty enough, not worthy. My yoga and stretching could quiet me like a quart of bourbon could silence my ancestors. It could take off just enough of the edge to get by. But I was building a new edge. I built an irregular surface with organic stalagmites and stalactites that mismatched one another. New body teeth that chewed through synovial membranes…the gums and saliva of my hip joint. My need to grind out my frustration wore a new pattern of tread into a hip capsule made fragile by multiple ankle injuries in my teens and twenties. My pre-existing condition was a belief that I could do more, be more and accomplish more if only I did more. More was more and I needed to move constantly upon that moor in order to survive my life.

When did I first feel the real pain? Somehow I was led to stop stretching myself from limb to limb around 2003/4. That was when I consciously named my work Yoga Tune Up® and pulled back on a practice of daily asana (yoga poses). I turned to anatomy texts instead of yogic texts for information. I started working on the particulars of my movements. I had to re-examine my addiction to stretching. My dependency on my yoga practice was shackling me to the mat and consuming up to 2 hours every morning, if I didn’t practice, I didn’t feel right in my skin. Going without my ritual left me feeling unhinged, irritable and anxious. My need to stretch was no longer expanding my mind, it had trapped it.

Tune in for part 2 of this series, where I examine the mysterious behavior of chronic pain. I ponder how imaging, diagnosis and embodied experience can often be completely out of step with one another.

Follow my hip surgery journey on INSTA or FB with this hashtag #TheRollReModel

Liked this article? Read It’s A Pain in The Core! Life After Spinal Surgery


About This Author

Jill Miller, C-IAYT, ERYT is the co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide and creator of the self-care fitness formats Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method. With more than 30 years of study in anatomy and movement, she is a pioneer in forging relevant links between the worlds of fitness, yoga, massage, athletics and pain management. She is known as the Teacher’s Teacher and has trained thousands of movement educators, clinicians, and manual therapists to incorporate her paradigm shifting self-care fitness programming into athletic and medical facility programs internationally. She has crafted original programs for 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox, YogaWorks, and numerous professional sports teams. She and her team of 500+ trainers help you to live better in your body with an emphasis on proprioception, mobility, breath mechanics and recovery. She has presented case studies at the Fascia Research Congress and International Association of Yoga Therapy conferences. She has the rare ability to translate complex physiological and biomechanical information into accessible, relevant moves that help her students transform pain, dysfunction and injury into robust fitness. Jill is the anatomy columnist for Yoga Journal Magazine and has been featured in Shape, Men’s Journal, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, Yoga Journal, Self, and on the Today Show and Good Morning America. Jill is regularly featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She is the creator of dozens of DVD’s including Treat While You Train with Kelly Starrett DPT and is the author of the internationally bestselling book The Roll Model: A Step by Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility and Live Better in your Body. Based in Los Angeles, CA, she is a wife and mother of two small children and is currently writing her second book.

Surprise, Surprise! You need a Total Hip Replacement! OR: Living with Chronic Pain Without Knowing You’re Living with Chronic Pain.

  1. Becky says:

    A story that will stay with me as I move through my own body and teach others. Trying to find the balance between something that free’s us from one trap without putting us in another is a powerful message. What are we really doing? Why are we really doing it? To pause and look in the mirror and ask the hard questions is the ultimate practice I guess. Thank you for your openness.

  2. hello my titanium sister! I’m looking forward to part 2. I can hardly believe you withstood the chronic pain. I couldn’t even walk by the time I had mine done and was on tons of medications! Anyone out there contemplating a hip replacement, don’t wait until you’re absolutely debilitated or your rehab will be much longer. stay strong in the gluteals, adductors and abductors. and don’t forget about the pelvic floor muscles! they all become weak. The yoga Tune Up (R) work has propelled me to a level with my yoga practice I couldn’t have imagined post hip replacements.

  3. Mary says:

    Fancy bullshit poses that are meant to look sexy in photos and impress other people IS. NOT. YOGA.

    This apparently is hard lesson to learn even by so-called experts.

  4. Ekaterina says:

    How often the concept of just “moving your body” equals staying healthy. How superficial and general is it. Stories like the above one are real wake up calls. And you are lucky if you heard it sooner than later..

  5. Corena Purcell says:

    I am experiencing a wake up moment as I read this…I too use fitness as a tool to manage my angst. I, too am convalescing from a surgery and have lost my ability to tap into my “drug of choice” for 4 weeks. I’m apprehensive about what these days will bring for me. I suppose there is noting left to do but turn around a face some demons and wrestle them to the ground. Hulk Smash!!!

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