View Full Version : Hardware pain?

02-22-2016, 10:03 AM
Hello. This is my first posting. I had scoliosis surgery 9/29/15 fusing t4 - pelvis, followed up by quicker (and easier) ALIF on 11/4/15 to secure l5 to pelvis. Prior to the surgery I walked with a cane to keep my rib from rubbing against my hip. Now my rib hump is gone, I am able to walk without a cane, and I stand for much longer periods of time without getting grumpy. So overall I am happy with the results and glad I had the surgery. I still have some pain between my shoulders when lying on my side and when standing and dipping one shoulder. I perceive it as hardware pushing/pulling against the muscles in my back. Have others experienced this kind of pain months after surgery? Does it ever go away?


02-22-2016, 01:27 PM
It seems that things get better with time. However you may continue to have this for awhile. It really isn't that long since surgery. Keep walking it should improve.

02-22-2016, 03:54 PM

I've had the pain you mentioned since my surgery 20+ years ago. It was difficult at first, but got somewhat better over time (same magnitude, but less often) . I still get it occasionally.


02-22-2016, 07:30 PM
Welcome. Its always nice to have male members chime in.

Unfortunately, I have to say yes. I call them the bear traps, the gripping feeling in our thoracic in the surgical zone.

It did get better for me after using an arm bike. This I did at 8 months in a shoulder PT program, but only after I was released from my spine surgeon. It toughened up the soft tissue running over the hardware and helped. I have noticed it becoming worse upon approaching storms, usually winter storms.

Walking is a necessary thing with us....this always helps

Nice to see another male ALIF patient. You’re the only one I have seen in approx 8 years posting here.

Hang in there


02-23-2016, 11:40 AM
Thank you all for the replies. I will be patient and keep up the walking. Yesterday I was able to jog a few blocks though it felt like what a riding hardtail harley must feel like. No shock absorption.

A little about me -
I didn't become aware that I had scoliosis until my early twenties. I am now 54. Though diagnosed as idiopathic levoscoliosis, I feel strongly that it was caused or worsened by a motorcycle crash I had when I was 18 and stupid. In that crash I broke (among other things) 3 transverse processes on the right side of my lower lumbar. I have since learned that these are major connecting points of the psoas muscle. Anyway, once I was released from the hospital I realized that part of my right abdomen was numb and bulging out a bit. After some time I was able to pick up distance running again and continued running for another 25 years. However during that time my scoliosis progressed and eventually I was at 22 degrees cob angle and had a blown out the disc at l3-l4. I guess I should mention that I have extra lumbar vertebrae though I've been told it was not a factor. In 2005 had a spinal fusion to address the disc issue. I was supposed to have 3 vertebrae fused but right before they wheeled me in the operating room my doctor announced that he felt I was too young to have so many vertebrae fused and that he was only going to fuse l3-l4. In hindsight this was probably not a good idea as that was right where the apex of my curve was so though it helped with the pain for a while it effectively increased the angles above and below the fusion. Again I recovered and continued to run for about another 4 years before I gave into the pain and stopped running altogether. As the years went by my curve continued to progress to over 50 degrees and I started having rib and neck pain. I started researching and practicing the Shroth method. This helped me to some degree with the pain, but my curve continued to progress. I wish I had learned of this method much earlier. So I tried the Spincore brace for a while. But found that when I first put it on it woud help me correct my posture. But once I stared moving around the straps would move into the wrong position and actually work against the correction instead of helping it. This may have been in part to the lousy support I got from the chiropractor who fitted me for the brace. Last winter, after a hard session of snow shoveling the day before, I woke up with weak and partially numb right arm and shoulder. I had been experiencing some pain in the arm prior to this event but had been just toughing it out. The weakness scared me and I finally decided that my quality of life (and my wife's) had gotten to the point that it was time to look at surgical options again. Initially was expecting to only have scoliosis surgery, but ended up having 4 operations in 2015. My doctor wisely would not even consider the lengthy scoliosis operation until I addressed the issues with my neck. So he fused c4-c7. Unfortunately, I came out of this with c5 palsy and couldn't lift my arm at all after surgery. Post-op images revealed the compression on spinal cord was still there so I had another operation (this time from the front). Thankfully it was successful and with some PT I have regained most of the feeling in my arm and shoulder. Next came scoliosis surgery (t4- s1). And finally about a month later an ALIF fusing l6-s1.

Sorry for the long post.


02-23-2016, 09:31 PM

That’s quite a history.....sounds painful.

Your not the only member that has had a single level “quick repair” on a scoliosis curve that needed follow up.....and wow, are you lucky with your neck!

I don’t run. I can run, but it seems that I have to transfer the majority of the landing force to the balls of my feet (almost running on toes) instead of landing on the heel.

The books will say 12 months for fusion to happen. In my recovery, I walked on eggshell’s for over a year (14 months) and had my surgeon wanting me to break this mentality of being afraid and loosening up and being more active. He actually ordered me to go skiing at 14 months post. I wanted to make sure that I fused and was afraid of that 1st test. We all fall at some point, its just making damn well sure that I was fused solid as a rock before that happened that I was concerned with. Integrity of fusion was of some concern....

There are not many Spine core testimonials here.....and was wondering about Spine core myself since it looks pretty good at least as a pain control device. If I wasn’t battling extreme pain myself years ago, I might have tried it. From your testimonial, it seems as if you have to constantly adjust the straps? If this strap problem was solved, how would you rate the brace? Would you recommend it provided you had the strap and follow up problems solved?

On your fusion, how do you feel? 5 months is still early......but it does get better.


02-24-2016, 07:40 AM
Hi Ed. The issues I had with the Spinecore system are - a) The bottoms for lack of a better word must fit VERY snugly. This is essentially the anchor of the system and important that it stays put. I was instructed to wear non-slippery running tights under them. Even though mine were super snug it would try and rotate around my torso causing a bit of a wedgy and the need to constantly readjust. b) on top a tight fitting slippery t-shirt should be worn under the straps so that the straps can move with you as needed without getting bunched up in your t-shirt. But I found that the straps would soon start to roll rather than lye flat. Especially where it went around my waist on concave side. I think this prevented them from moving back into place properly and so again I needed to constantly reach under my shirt to flatten the strap and readjust them. c) The straps are elastic and tend to stretch over time requiring you to shorten them often. Especially when new. This happens frequently enough that it is impractical to make an appointment for each adjustment so I learned to adjust them myself. This may have been part of the issue. LOL. d) The brace is very expensive and not covered by my insurance. For my hard earned money I was given two sets of bottoms and 1 set of straps. So you need to be diligent about having one pair in the wash while wearing the other. This causes a lot of wear and tear. When the bottoms started to wear out I asked if I could purchase another set. I was told I would need to pay the original purchase price again even though I wouldn't be requiring another fitting. So apparently Spinecore places no value on the consultation or fitting. What?? d) And finally the brace is designed to help with correction when standing. I felt no benefit from it when sitting. I am a programmer and spend a lot of time sitting in from of a computer.

Having said all that, the brace did help me maintain a correction when standing as long as the straps behaved. However, I am a pretty active person. When not working I can usually be found out working in the garden, cleaning the house, or down in my my wood shop. All of these real world activities caused the system to quickly get out of alignment and need constant readjustment.

I recognize that everyone's shape and daily activities are different so it might very well work for some folks. Just not for me.

I had a fall 2.5 months post-op while fussing over my wife while she carried the garbage out for us. She is very capable and doesn't need fussing over, but I was feeling guilty and leading the way to the trash can when I slipped on wet decking. Hurt like the dickens for a couple of days but fortunately didn't do any real damage.


02-24-2016, 09:59 PM
I was told I would need to pay the original purchase price again even though I wouldn't be requiring another fitting. So apparently Spinecore places no value on the consultation or fitting.

Funny how the price is firm even without a guarantee.....or warrantee for that fact. And we thought it was only Microsoft who was allowed to break these sorts of rules. (Or anyone else for that matter) It is nice when people back their product, perhaps that’s a pipe dream these days. Its bad enough that we have to actually “go back” for any sort of recall, on ANYTHING, let alone a medical device. I would say this counts as a ding. I had a Copes brace many years ago.

We tried.

Thanks for the review on Spinecore.....

If you have any questions at all, let them rip. There are some fantastic people on this forum.....