View Full Version : physical therapy for shoulder

08-03-2004, 10:25 PM
I had surgery six months ago (tommorow is the 6 month mark, yay!). Anyway, I had ribs removed for my back hump, but I still notice that my right shoulder blade sticks out and it looks really weird, especially when its not covered. I've also been having sharp pains on my back right below the shoulder blade. Does anyone have any experience with this or know if it can be fixed by physical therapy?

08-04-2004, 04:44 PM
Amber is 3 months post-op and is experiencing a very similar thing. Her shoulder blade is 'sticking out'. When I feel around the area I can feel the end of the ribs where they are growing back. I think that the ribs are pushing the on shoulder blade. I don't know how long it takes for the ribs to grow back completely or why the shoulder blade is like this. I do know that Amber is rather annoyed about it. Can you feel your ribs? or have they grow completly back already. She is getting some pain and says that her shoulder gets very 'tired'. Maybe it is just muscular and nothing to do with the ribs at all. We are going to Sydney for a check-up with her surgeon in 2 weeks and seeing her specialist here a week later. I have lots of questions to ask both of them about this. Hopefully I will find out enough to answer your questions as well. I am glad to know, however, that Amber's shoulder is not the only one that has gone a little 'weird'.
Best wishes.

08-05-2004, 04:38 PM
I had spinal fusion four months ago, but before the fusion I had tons of back pain! Not as much in the shoulders, but I would get this really weird feeling between my shoulder blades that felt like I was bleeding - like a hot liquid on my back. I also had severe neck pain from doing activities where my neck was bent for a long time like doing homework, dishes. I also did quite a bit of horseback riding, and that would cramp my back so that when I turned in a certain direction I would jerk back because of sudden pains.

Just letting you know that pre-sugery pain is not at all uncommon, and it can come in many forms. Just be glad that it will be going away soon.


48 degree upper curve
L2 to T4
Braced for 4 years
Surgery 2/4/04

Hello, you posted this in the waiting and watching forum just a month ago.

You said you have burning hot liquid pain in the shoulder blades.

I had that and i haven't done surgery yet. Sometimes its a burning liquid, sometimes it feels like insect stings a couple of times.

So you did surgery, and you still have that pain?
That is weird, i thought it would go away since the shoulder blade will be back in normal form and not stick out.

Please tell me that surgery doesn't eradicate this pain in the shoulder blade.

As well, i don't think physiotherapy will work on it anyways. Your shoulder blades still stick out right. I get more pain when i try to graba box or in a hugging position. In other words pain from scoliosis for lower back pain seems effective as i don't have much lower back pain from 1 month of physiotherapy back in May-June.

Im concerned because if even surgery doesn't remove the burning liquid problem, i might not go on with surgery. It is because that liquid problem i got from 44 degree curve is more significant from the back pain of upper and lower areas of the spine.


08-05-2004, 04:44 PM
Amber has described the same burning liquid type pain. Mainly before surgery though. Hopefully her Dr. will be able to tell us why. We see him on August 18. I'll post anything I find out here.

08-05-2004, 05:03 PM
Hello mumof5.

My doctor told me it was because the rib rubbing against the shoulder blades.

Could also be bursitis, inflammation of the bursa, the sac between the bone and the tendon of the shoulder. As mammelc, fellow member of this forum did some research on that.

So this is weird. Your daughter did the plastocography(sry maybe misspelled, the remove rib hump) and still has a shoulder stickout.
I thought, the whole shoulder stickout and rib hump problem can be done through plastocography and the spine rotation which they do to put the rod in.

08-05-2004, 07:18 PM
Hi Justin

The amount of "shoulder stick out/rib hump" that is able to be corrected depends on lots of different things. Not everyone loses there full hump after surgery (sometimes it is not simply possible to remove it all). Factors include the degree of curvature before surgery, the amount of rotation in the spine, how flexible the spine is able to be moved, how the ribs are in comparison to the spine etc


08-13-2004, 04:25 AM
We had a rush trip to the doctors today partly about Amber's shoulder.
Basically it is because before surgery the ribs are growing one way after surgery when the spine is straightened and rotation is corrected, the rib tries to regrow the same way. That is what causes the 'hump' to return. The lump that we can feel between Amber's shoulder blade and her spine is the stump of the rib. The doctor has said that it shouldn't get any worse now but it won't get better on it's own. The only way to correct it is by surgery where they cut the stump off.
We will be seeing the doctor who did the surgery next week so we'll get a second opinion as well but what we've been told and shown with the x-rays sounds pretty right.
I hope this helps everyone else. But make sure you get your own problems checked as well, just in case it is something else.
Best wishes.

08-14-2004, 01:39 AM
Iam wondering whether to have the ribremoval done with my daughters surgery but worried if it can grow back just as bad or it does not achieve good results taken into account the pain,risk and time added on to the already unbelievable 6-8hr surgery we are looking at!
I have been trying everyeve to follow your 's and others here experiences .
Is Amber's rib growing back as expected?
Why would they consider cutting off the "stump"? Isn't it growing back there?
Iam sorry Amber is uncomfortable. I hope it passes soon and she feels better. Iam glad you are keeping up here on the board for all of us to compare our issues against. I know you have ALOT going on with your other girls too.Hang in there and Amber too.

08-14-2004, 02:15 AM
How do you feel about your rib removal?
Would you do it again ?
Is the shoulderblade look the same as before?
I bet it is not as odd as you think. Maybe you are just looking at it too critically.
I hope I don't sound mean I'm just trying to think about how I try not to focus on only the deformed part of the scoliosis and see if it is really so bad looking.
Congrates on your 6mo post op timeline!!!

08-14-2004, 04:18 PM
Amber's rib is not growing as we expected. I guess when you have things like this done you expect everything to be perfect when it's finished. As with everything in life that's not always the case. Amber's rib hump is now about half what it was. But it is a different shape. The problem rib is coming out from under the bottom part of her shoulder blade and is causing the shoulder blade to sit 'proped out'. As far as we can tell it is only one rib. Sometimes nerve damage can cause the shoulder blade to 'drop' and the shoulder doesn't work correctly. The doctor checked for this by feeling her back as she did a wall push up. Thankfully everything shows that Amber's nerves are all OK.
Amber has seen in photos what her back and hump looked like before and has seen in mirrors what it is like now. I have asked her repeatedly if she is glad that it was done. She always says yes. I double check and ask 'What about the ribs?' She says yes. She has also said that she would have it done again. We have talked about having this rib corrected when she has healed completely and she said not now, maybe later on, we'll see.
She is still exteremly thin and as she puts on weight it will cover it a bit. I think she will wait until then to see how it looks. It's one of those things that unless you know it's there you don't notice unless for some reason you are looking right there. She did say on Friday night after we had seen the Dr. and were talking about it that she didn't get teased before when it was bigger so she doubts it will be a problem.
To fix it they just cut off the stump. I don't know all the 'ins and outs'. But it would be looked at around the 12 month mark and surgery discussed then.
There is a boy here that has just had it done, his was a lot worse than Amber's, I'm going to see if we can contact him and find out what he's been through.
All said Amber says she would have the ribs done again.
Best wishes

08-15-2004, 01:17 AM
You are so thoughtful to explain the latest about Amber's rib and shoulder.
I hope she is in no pain bc of it.
Do you all consider removing the rib bc of pain ?

I am happy Amber feels good about her surgery and decisions, she is helping all of us in a way..
I will see what our 2nd opinion Dr thinks of removing my daughters rib(hump).
The first Dr and associate did not bring it up. Maybe we weren't far enough along in all the questions.

When you write again can you refresh my memory on what bone you had them use for the fusion.(ex:hip,bank,rib?)

Thanks again for your time, please reply at your convienience.

08-15-2004, 03:31 AM
The doctors that did the surgery told me that they did take some bone from her hip. She only had the one cut though, but it does go right down. It's amazing how far they can stretch everything. As far as I know (and can work out for myself because those doctors are so far away) they mainly used her ribs for the graft.
I personally feel that if they are going to take away bone they may as well use it for the grafts instead of throwing it away and using something or someone elses bone.
Amber says that her shoulder 'pain' is hard to describe. From what she says I think it is more muscle tiredness. It starts around lunch time and stays for the rest of the day. It is not really a pain, just weird she says. I hope everyone understands what I'm attempting to say.
I think that we will wait until the 12 month mark until we really start to think about the need to remove that rib. At the moment it is not bothering her with its appearance. And she has accepted that the discomfort is part of the healing process. I should add that Amber rarely uses pain relief of any kind for any reason, most of the time I almost have to force her to take anything.
I have tried to share our experiences in the hopes that it helps someone else. We have received so much help and support here that I really want to give some back. Besides you never know when someone will say 'hey! that happened to us as well! This is what we did.'
Best wishes.

08-16-2004, 07:13 PM
Just wanted to say, thanks, Cheryl, for sharing all this, because it's really helpful. Courage to you and Amber, and stay cheery--Laura

08-18-2004, 04:10 AM
We have been to see Amber's surgeon today. What he told us was exactly the same as our other doctor. It has put both of us at ease. The shoulder is something that should 'improve' or more 'be covered' when Amber finally starts to put on some weight. It won't 'go away' on it's own though. Both doctors have said that if she wants it fixed they can do it but not until she is 12 to 18 months post-op. Everything thing else to do with her recovery is going well even her 'numb' patches are lessening. The doctor today said that we will find little things happening that may seem a bit strange or that concern us, he says it is very normal. He really impressed on us that he is only too happy to help and to call if anything worries us at all.
Best wishes everyone.

08-28-2004, 06:57 PM
Hey I don't know anything about the sholder blade sticking further out. But as for the pain right under I went to my doctor a couple of months ago about it he said its the muscles there rubbing against the metal rods and causes pain. He also said pretty much eveyone gets it sooner or later. It took me two years after my surgery. He said it usually happens before that but there wasn't anything wrong with it. Hope I helped.

08-31-2004, 11:43 PM
Hello all.
Sorry I took so long to reply - I've been really busy.

Anyway, back to the shoulder. I do not get the "hot liquid" feeling any more, so don't worry about that. Sometimes I feel a stinging sensation behind my shoulder blade, but its not too horrible.

If I had to redo the surgery I would definately do the rib removal again. My back looks SO much better. The hump is completely gone, its just the shoulder that bothers me. Its actually not even the pain that I don't like about it, its more of the appearance and its uncomfortable in certain chairs. It doesn't flatten so I sit rather tilted and the point pokes out and rubs against the back of the chair.

03-13-2005, 06:05 AM
Is there any relief for the shoulder pain? My daughter has intermittant sharp pains that last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Her xray was fine. She is completely immobolized during that time.She had surgery about 3 years ago with the fusion in her upper back only.