QOTD: What Caused My Pain?

Spoiler Alert: The “Return to Normal…”

E. Katherine Kottaras
13 min readDec 17, 2021

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Leaving Normal street sign, from https://www.zimbio.com/trivia/4KJUiRRQfxS/These+Ridiculous+Town+Names+Real+Fake
Photo credit here

“What caused your pain?”

“How did it start?”

“When did you first notice it?”

These are excellent questions.

Oh, if I only knew the answer.

The long and short of it is that although I was only recently diagnosed with FAI/labral tears in November, I’ve experience chronic hip pain specifically for at least fifteen years. FAI itself has unknown origin in that it can be congenital or acquired, and many people live with FAI for years without symptoms.

(Matt and Shane over at The FAI Fix make some compelling, evidence-based arguments regarding how bone shapes are simply “normal anatomical variants,” impingement does not necessarily cause arthritis or pain, and surgery often does not work.)

So what’s my story? When I trace back to my teens, I can find a few incidents that probably started the issues that I experience on the left side of my body. In 1992, when I was 16 years old, I dislocated my left knee — it would dislocate every year or so for about five years until I started exercising seriously for the first time in my life in my early twenties, and then that pain was mostly resolved.

The first time I really noticed the hip pain was when I was pregnant at age 30. I was told to sleep on my left side to protect the inferior vena cava, and so I did — and it started to hurt. It only worsened for the following years of baby-years and toddlerhood, until the pain got so bad that I finally sought out physical therapy for the first time. I had excellent experience with various therapists, including one who focused on my pelvic floor dysfunction (that’s a whole separate story…).

She concurred with other PT’s who had concluded that I most likely have scar tissue from my three surgeries, all which took place in my abdominal and hip areas (1993 appendectomy, 2006, C-section, and 2009 ovarian cyst removal), and which probably contributed to the pain. They all worked on my groin and told me to do strength exercises, including Pilates and yoga for pain.

And so I did. And I managed… I mean, relatively speaking. I never could sit very long whether it be during meetings, road trips…

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E. Katherine Kottaras

M.A. English// M.S. Kinesiology, Integrative Wellness. Contemplative teacher & writer. 🏳️‍🌈☮️🌴🍕 Chronic pain yields chronic hope.