View Full Version : Achy all over

05-25-2005, 12:34 PM
Started fosamax on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I was achy in my bones and joints and muscles. Is this be a result of taking Foxamax or is this just my back and pelvis waking up. I spent most of both days in bed. I hate to lay around like this, but I felt pretty punk those days. Is this usual for 3 1/2 months out?
I don't see how I can return to work and six months if I' m still having this kind
of pain. I am fused to the sacrum. Kathleen (63years, feeling like an old woman) and needing some advice.

Karen Ocker
05-25-2005, 07:24 PM
Kathleen: It is normal to feel punk so soon (3 1/2 months)after surgery at our age. I went back to work 4 hours, one day a week 6 months after surgery(age 60).

Did your spine surgeon prescribe the Fosamax? If not make sure he knows. I asked about bone building meds myself but my surgeon was not sure about the effect on the fusion. NSAIDS like Advil and Aleve are not allowed the first 4 months because they can interfere with the fusion. I just looked up Fosamax on the drug data base I use for work. It can cause musculoskeletal pain as well as abdominal pain and esophageal ulcerations. I was given Fosamax long time age to keep my scoliosis from getting worse(it didn't work) and had all those side effects.
My surgeon suggested I walk as much as possible because this builds bone. This I did. My bone density(when measured 2 1/4 years after surgery) actually INCREASED without medications with walking and Pilates. I do take calcium and vit D.


05-25-2005, 09:32 PM
Thanks Karen! This gives me some hope. There are other alternatives to
Fosomax. It looks like I will be doing a lot of sewing standing up and a lot
of walking. I have been dilligent about continuing my physical therapy
exercises. Will I ever feel as though my back belongs to me, normal and
comfortable, or am I always going to be so aware that I am carrying wire? You are two years out, how do you feelabout your back? Kathleen

Karen Ocker
05-26-2005, 05:21 PM

I feel totally normal right now. I might feel a little achy with weather changes but really no big deal.

Don't even think about the hardware. You can go nuts for no reason. It takes many months of steady healing for everything to heal-it is a slow steady process. It is normal to feel: jabs, shocks, itches, aches, twinges, spasms, tightness and back fatigue. They all go away in time. Try to go with the flow and do your best. Rest when tired but exercise really helps pain and aches. It increases blood flow thus healing.


05-28-2005, 05:38 AM
Kathleen, I too have recently started on Fosamax as a precautionary measure, minor aches in the mornings but nothing like yours. But over the first months I did have acute pains in my hands and feet after lying down for a while - this has now stopped as the numbness and rigidity in my back has reduced, so I think it was to do with nerves rather than muscles.

I have found getting back to work about like Karen. I'm lucky in that I see patients in my home consulting room, and can arrange my own timetable to some extent (but unlucky since being freelance means no money for my time off!). After 4 1/2 months I did 2-3 hours a day, separated out since I had to lie down very often then. This was really too soon, but I had told my patients that was when I expected to begin to return to work, and it would have caused me more stress and trouble to delay it further. I can now (6 months) do a 5 hour day once a week and less on the other days, and could now do as Karen did, a 4-hour day with travelling, and then gradually add more. Looking back I can see that in months 4 and 5 I improved tangibly, thought it always feels that things will stay the same for ever.

Second message following...

05-28-2005, 05:44 AM
One thing I wanted to ask you and/or Karen, what physical therapy you could do before your brace was off? This is not included in the UK (nor is specialist pain advice), and I can't risk a physio who doesn't know about the operation. However, I have a hospital appointment next week and would like to check with the consultant whether there are some safe exercises I can do - he is going to check the yoga for scoliosis book, which I may be able to start in a month or two if I can find a teacher. He said I could start swimming! which cheered me enormously but unfortunately was too soon, resulting in days of agony - partly being out of the brace too long, and partly shoulder and upper back strain, and of course the troublesome metalwork pain.

One thing I've found helpful is to keep a note of my progress (or seeming lack of it). Like Karen, I have found walking a safe and beneficial thing to do. One question for Karen - how much walking did you do to build up bone density?

Very best wishes to both of you,


PS Surgeon said fosamax is fine to take after fusion.

06-13-2005, 11:52 AM
I did and do several. I use the theraband, you can buy them at a hospital supply or exercise store. Following are the exercises, if you need more detail
on the procedures let me know. These were given to me by a physical therapist
who has worked for over ten years with scoliosis patients. So they are safe.
!. Squats- Stand against a slick door with your feet about a foot in front of you
and pointing ahead of you. You will have have your knees bent. You MUST HAVE YOU NAVEL SUCKED IN TOWARD YOUR BACKBONE OR THE EXERCISES WILL DO NOTHING FOR YOU. Slowly bend your legs and slide down the door about a foot. Then slowly slide back up. Exhale as you slide. My legs were flacid after leaving the hospital, now I have my muscular shape back. Start with 10 repeats then after a few weeks move to to 20.
2. I do the following before I leave the bed in the morning. Lay on your back with hands at your sides, knees bent to 90 degrees. SUCK YOUR NAVEL IN AND TIGHTEN YOUR BUTTOCKS MUSCLES. Breath in Raise your buttocks off the bed about 12 inches or whatever is comfortable. Let your breath out slowly as your back comes back down on the bed. Repeat 10 times add more in two weeks. during this your back will be straight, your legs will be doing all the work.
and the following exercises

06-13-2005, 12:48 PM
3. Again this is done in bed before I get up. These last three require no theraband.
Lay on your back in bed, raise both legs into a bent, 45 degree angle . They will be together. TIGHTEN YOUR NAVEL BY PULLING IT DOWN TOWARD YOUR SPINE. REMEMBER, THESE EXERCISES ARE WORTHLESS UNLESS YOUR NAVEL IS TIGHTENED.Inhale, straighten your right leg toward the ceiling not straight up, but at an incline. Then straighten your left leg so that it is alongside your right. Take your left leg down slowly,to its 45 degree angle,exhale, then take your right leg down to 45 degree . Do 10 repeats and add on as the weeks pass. These exercise will strenghten your legs. You will probably notice some pain in the backs of your legs, this is from those nerves which have been under stress during the operation. They need to be stretched and this exercise does that . Lay on your back in bed,bend your right leg into a 45 degree angle,and bring your right thigh close to your chest. Turn( stretch) your toes up they will be pointing toward your chest Now slowly straighten your whole leg up toward the ceiling keeping your toes curled .Your leg will be pointing toward the ceiling, yours toes will be pointing toward your face.. You will immediately feel some pain from stretching those areas. Try to hold this for as near a minute as possible. Try this three or four times. As time passes, you will have less pain as the nerves and tendons will stretch. I still have pain down my leg into my arch. Alternate and do the left
leg. The exercises I have given you do not have to be done in your brace. I
have hated these exercises for four months now, but I know they help. Kathleen

06-14-2005, 05:34 AM
Thanks Kathleen, shall add them to my routine. If you have any safe exercises when out of brace, I have finally now got out of mine completely! I was worried because the surgeon's registrar (who is mostly at my hospital appointments) suggested that if there was pain it was likely to mean non-fusion. However, he now says no problem, so it is just a matter of facing the increased pain - like going back 3 months, so thank yourself for not getting dependent on yours. Trying Karen's pain relief tips but I now seem to be allergic to every drug there is. Maybe my body is trying to tell me something. Exercise is horrible when you have to do it, but feels really attractive to me as I have done nothing but walk since Jan. So thanks! By the way, I'm also now facing the alien feeling of my fused upper spine without the brace, so coming to terms with doing everything differently - reading, writing, washing my face, not to speak of household things like feeding the cat and doing things at floor level - anything that I used to do without keeping my back in one unit. Like you I wonder if it will ever feel natural, so Karen's words are also helpful to me.

Keep me posted on your progress,


06-14-2005, 09:06 PM
The exercises I have already given you can be done both in and out of a brace. They are excellent for those of us recovering from surgery as they
place no stress on the spine itself. I bought the theraband (yellow, then red) because I can tie them to doorknobs or hooks high on the wall and pull slowly
on them with my arms and my navel pulled in. You can invent some of your
own. If you look around, you can find an exercise teacher who can show you
some different ways to work with them. The therapist who gave me those exercises I have shared with you works almost exclusively with scoliosis surgery patients. I am glad you are able to work a few hours a day. I am retired but was working part time with children. Now, I am sewing drapes for my daughter's home. I will probably go back to work part time at mid semester for a school system. I don't want to work full time with high school, I've already retired from that. I am still achy at the end of four hours. I have to take a hydracodone then.l Kathleen