View Full Version : Pain around scapula/nothing helps

06-09-2004, 02:42 PM
Does anyone else have this pain? My daughter has a 51* curve and will have surgery, but the pain appeared at 43* and nothing helps it. And believe me she has done yoga pilates massage physio acupuncture Tylenol Ibuprofen psychologist/painmanagement...She has always been very active and in excellent excellent shape. She can't sleep at night, and even resting and taking it easy does not take away the pain. I gather this is fairly unusual for this size curve. I would like to hear from others who have experienced this.
The physio thinks maybe her scapula is rubbing on the ribs. The scapula juts out a fair amount. When we compared backs with her friend who has 61* upper and no pain, we found that Leah's scapula was much more prominent. I am hoping that surgery will re align the scapula so that her muscles will not be so strained.
(I also posted this on the Watching and Waiting Forum)

06-15-2004, 12:34 PM
Hello mammelc!

There is no indication if and when a person with scoliosis starts to have pain. I know young people with about 10 degrees who are in pain all the time and I know old persons with over 70 who have hardly any problems. Actually, it is known, that the most problems are not caused by the size of the curve, but by the rotation of the spin.

You write that Leah's scapula is much more prominent compared with her friend's. That is a sign that your doughter has a quite strong rotation. There are methods to measure the rotation - have this done!

I do not know how old your doughter is and if there are any other reasons for surgery, but if it is possilble I would try out a brace before surgery. Dr. Cheneau (a scoli-specialist from France) invented new brace-type: the Cheneau brace. Actually it is not new any more, it is known for many years in Europe and here it is nearly the only brace used. With this brace not only the curve is tried to be corrected, but also the rotation of the spin. I am not sure if this brace-type is available in the US, since I only read about Boston- and Milwaukey-braces, which are not used any more in Europe. If surgery is really necessary (get several opinions), then make sure that the surgeon also takes the rotation of your daughter's spine into consideration and that he corrects it.

And for the pain: Did you already try to put something warm on the area where the pain occures? I know this is no treatment, but sometimes it helpes really well. When I have pain, I lay down on the floor and put my lower legs up on a chair. This also might help to stop pain for a while.

best regarts,

06-15-2004, 08:07 PM
Hello Lilith and thank you for emailing. Unfortunately heat and posture changes do not help Leah's pain. Her rotation is about 40*
The following is the procedure the surgeon will follow. Dr Tredwell has done about 1400 of these. He derotates the spine and does thoracoplasty at the same time, designed to flatten the rib hump as well. the braces you mention sound interesting and worth considering at smaller curve sizes, but we feel that we need to do surgery instead.

The surgeon will make a cut (about 12-inches long) in Leah's back. He will attach small steel hooks to the bony bits which stick out from the vertebrae. He will attach the hooks on the inside of the curve. He will then bend the steel rod so that it matches the shape of the curve yet straightens it a little. He will then thread the rod through the hooks. After fastening the hooks securely over the rod, the surgeon will turn the rod 90 degrees. With that one turn the curve and the twist of the vertebrae will be corrected. The curve is turned so it follows the natural curve of the normal spine. Also the vertebrae will be lined up in the same direction as they should be. Now another rod will be attached on the other side of the vertabrae in the same way. Then the two rods will be bolted together with small steel bars. This will support the spine while it heals.
The surgeon will take small chips of bone from the ribs or pelvis and pack these around the rods. In time, these chips will grow together to make a solid stable bone support to prevent a curve from forming again. This is called spinal fusion. The fused section cannot bend and will not grow. The rest of the spine will move normally.

Leah is expected to be 1 1/2 - 2 cm taller after the surgery. The expected rate of correction is 2/3 to 3/4.