What are the best questions to ask my GP?

I have an appointment on Thursday to discuss the results of my XRays and MRI scans.

I have pain in my right hip that also causes pain in my knee, calf, shin and arch of my foot. I now need a stick to help me walk and stand over any distance above around ten yards.

This all started last summer with a bad attack of sciatica and bowel issues (the latter resolved in about six weeks). The sciatica subsided in January. By September the hip pain was dreadful on top of the sciatica so I was referred for MRI scans, one threw up a hemangioma but the spine consultant was not concerned and suggested the MRI showed my hip was bone on bone but did not put this in his letter to the GP. Physio started trying to tackle my core strength but she felt until my hip was sorted there was no more she could do. I have kept up the exercises and do some others from the VA YouTube shorts.

I was convinced a hip replacement was the direction - my Mother and Grandmother were similarly affected albeit I am around ten years younger than they were when they needed the extra help.

MRI has thrown also up issues in my lumbar spine which ‘perhaps patient presentation/symptom’ account for. The XRay (last week) suggests mild arthritic changes (I was first XRayed in 2019) in my hips and ‘the overall joint height is maintained’. Knee is fine although in 2019 is wasn’t.

My quality of life has deteriorated as driving is now painful if I try to travel for more than around 15mins. I can no longer walk my dog (fortunately we have a big garden and as he is 15 with arthritis at each corner so he isn’t too bothered) we only did a daily stagger of half a mile - only five years ago we did a 1,000 mile challenge! I cannot walk round a supermarket and particularly cannot stand in a queue. Cooking a meal is excruciating- I think it is all the little moves.

So, how do I get the best out of the appointment. The Gabapentin and Zapain don’t feel like they make much difference, but I haven’t tried going without. I use Voltarol gel and a tens machine as well as hot baths. I avoid staying in the same position too long. The only thing that really seems to help is sleep.

Is there an appropriate referral I could request?

All advice on the conversation gratefully received ….


  • Hi@Jane63c

    Thanks for you post to the Helpline. There's a lot to think over here and if you were able to I'd particularly suggest you ring us so we can support you while you mull it over.

    I'm not sure whether someone has done a thorough hands on MSK (musculoskeletal) examination with you and worked over what they see as they move different limbs and watch you walk etc.

    Some GPs may be confident to do that really well, but often a very experienced physiotherapist might offer really helpful insights. (The key judgement may be over how much of the pain is from the spine, and how much from the hip.)

    Until the MSK assessment/exam has happened I'm not sure anyone would be able to refer you confidently.

    If no examination has happened you might get the images and share them with a really experienced physio before discussing with your GP what help / next steps you might want. If lots of time has gone by already, you might decide to see a private physio to save time, but why not talk to us on our freephone and we'll try to support you depending on the options you may have explored already.

    Osteoarthritis (OA) of the spine | Back pain | Versus Arthritis

    Osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip | Hip pain | Versus Arthritis

    All the best

    Guy - Helpline Team

  • Jane63c
    Jane63c Member Posts: 16

    Thanks I have just had a very helpful conversation

  • sunnyside2
    sunnyside2 Member Posts: 131

    I would be blunt and if you think a hip replacement will help tell the doctor that is what you think and want. no point being subtle

  • Jane63c
    Jane63c Member Posts: 16

    Had my GP consultation and I am being referred to a spine specialist. I think I am happy with that and the door is not closed on the hip issues. Been told it is reasonable to have a goal of being mobile by July.

    thanks for the advice folks