View Full Version : Numbness and itching

12-29-2014, 12:55 PM
What is people's experience with these issues post-op? Is the numbness temporary or permanent? Where do you feel it? Any itching as nerves heal?

Also, how do you scratch your back? Back scratcher? I assume you can't reach certain places.

Any other physical sensations/symptoms you might not have expected?


green m&m
12-29-2014, 08:27 PM
Numbness is usually temporary -- but there may be patches of skin that will remain permanently numb after surgery. Sometimes the little nerve branches just never reconnect properly. (Of course because I'm weird, that thought made me think of two disconnected nerve sections crying looking for the other side....sigh)

Itching will happen all over skin. Mainly due to the trauma and the healing that follows causes lots of mast cells to be released around the area of healing and mast cells release histamine so... yeah, itching. It's weird itching for me though because of the combination of numbness and itching makes me feel like I'm scratching a slap of steak that belongs to me.

I can reach all over to scratch my back but I'm hypermobile -- can put palms down between the scapula. So I'm probably not a good example of the range of reach.

The standard antihistamines are great when itching gets too annoying from the combination of healing and the pain meds. I tried benedryl (Diphenhydramine) and Zyrtec (cetirizine) and both worked to reduce itching.

12-29-2014, 08:53 PM
As Green M stated it is a strange itching. Even if you scratch it . the strange nerve feelings don't register it. It does go away after awhile. The numbness gets less but some areas remain numb. It is sometimes good--I've had to have shots in the hip but I have no feeling there. It this summer I burned my back on a heating pad and did not know it until the blister broke and my shirt got caught in it. It wasn't real big but got infected and had to be treated by a doctor. I would say it is little larger then a fifty cent piece. So in that case it wasn't good to not safekeeping. I also cannot feel my right groin mussel. Sometimes it messes with walking. Also another sensation I had was like things crawling up your legs. That was earlier , right after surgery. Very strange though.

12-29-2014, 09:20 PM
I'm 2 months post-op & I have numbness all the way across my upper buttocks & very low back. Sometimes, it feels like my underwear is falling down in the back. When I try to adjust it, I find that my undies are in the right place and it's just a weird sensation in the numb area! I'm guessing some of this numbness will go away - it's still early in my recovery.

12-29-2014, 09:30 PM
Most of my numbness went away after my first surgeries, but I'm 4 years postop from my second surgeries and have large areas of my lower torso and parts of my legs that are numb. After both sets of surgeries, I used items of different textures (e.g., brushes, feathers, rolling pins) to rub the affected areas, while thinking about what those textures SHOULD feel like. It worked well after the first surgeries, but not at all after the most recent surgeries. There was 20 years between surgeries, so I'm guessing that the older you are, the more likely you'll be left with residual numbness.


12-29-2014, 09:31 PM
The opioids make you itch......and the numbness takes around 1-2 years if I remember correctly....


12-30-2014, 01:02 AM
The opioids make you itch......and the numbness takes around 1-2 years if I remember correctly....

Yes, I have not had the surgery, but just got switched from oxy to morphine, as the oxy was making me itch like crazy.

12-30-2014, 12:22 PM
The posterior incision zone becomes numb, itís a 4 inch wide area centered down the scar. Actually, with this area being numb, it acts as a benefit during recovery. The bandage is thick and laying directly on the back supine applying pressure on this bandage can be unpleasant.....I slept half way between my side and supine for a long, long time.

I also have a huge anterior scar and it was not as numb. Anterior scars heal really QUICKLY for some reason.....

The numbness and itching are pretty much resolvable..... and are not really things to be worried about or focused on. I think that looking way ahead and concentrating or visualizing on a complete recovery is key. The recovery is just a hard chapter of the book you have to get by, and you will. Accept that change will come and that changes are not all that bad of a thing. Adapt with a smile. If you have a flat on your car, laugh. If you have 4 flats, laugh 4 times as much.

When someone has no arms or legs and smiles, that sends a POWERFUL signal. I have friends and relatives that are or were in really tough medical situations which I thought about, and realized that I didnít have that much to worry about....I would take things one day at a time. That change was inevitable, it had to happen like many things in life.

Scoliosis patients need to have this attitude. Its an attitude that incorporates education, knowledge, understanding, strength and hope.


01-03-2015, 03:00 PM
Thank you for all of the feedback. It was something new that popped into my head as potential effects from this surgery. Didn't think of using an antihistamine, so that's a great tip!

01-03-2015, 08:07 PM
I am 5 years out from my first scoliosis surgery and yes I still have places that are numb. I do not have any itching.