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Thread: Shoulder/Neck pain After fusion

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    London, Ontario, CANADA
    Posts
    36

    Shoulder/Neck pain After fusion

    Hello, I had fusion 5 years ago when I was 18. All was awesome.

    I've been working in call centers for the last 5 years and I get horrible headaches, shoulder and neck pain. I was wondering if this is just from working this type of job, or if it's related to scoliosis and the surgery.

    I never had any physio, 10 minutes with a nurse 2 days after my op to learn how to use stairs. That's the only physio I've ver had.

    I feel like all the muscles in my shoulder blade are SO tight and rock solid and sore and they spasm and feel like they're ripping sometimes.....

    Has anyone had a revision in their shoulder area after spinal fusion or had the same problems as me?

    Any input greatly appreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Geneseo, NY
    Posts
    133
    My fusion is all thoracic, starting at T3. I've had some episodes of "stiff neck" over the years. The fusion has to put more stress on the remaining unfused vertebrae, absorbing the shocks that would normall be distributed throughout the vertebral column. I believe your work environment is not ideal for your body. As you suspect, you should consult with a physical therapist. You will probably need to get a PT referral from your doctor in order for insurance to pay for it. At work, you should be getting up and moving your shoulders and upper body at least every hour. Do you regularly exercise? Being in generally good physical condition also helps absorb the shocks life brings to us.
    1966 fusion in Buffalo of 11 thoracic vertebrae, with Harrington rod

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    798
    First, so sorry for your pain! Sounds like a real "pain in the neck" multiplied many times!

    I am struck by recent threads by members with problems with "sagittal balance". It seems that such patients, lacking the proper lordosis (lumbar curve tilting the pelvis backward just the right amount) either post-surgically or idiopathic - like me, with "flatback" - have a constellation of typical symptoms.

    Most have considerable trouble walking owing to pain and they "compensate" as best they can, by either jutting the head and shoulders forward often having difficulty forcing the head up even to see where they're going. or else they bend their knees - or both.

    This is in a spontaneous effort to balance their improper plumb-line - imaginary line of gravity which should go from approx. mid skull to mid-foot, with the weight-bearing equal on all sides.

    Can't help wondering whether this might be your problem, in which case the problem does not originate in your neck and shoulders at all. If so, PT can help relieve pain by strengthening supporting muscles, but it can't correct that underlying balance problem. If you can get someone to take a snapshot of you from the side standing naturally, see what kind of line your spine makes. Look especially for whether or not there in an inward curve at your lower spine above and including part of your pelvis which should tilt backwards slightly. If it looks flat, well --- the name, flatback doesn't come from nothing.

    As far as I know there is no non-surgical solution, although I myself do MANY exercises trying to create some lordosis, and have from young adulthood. At that time, there was relatively little pain, but the cosmetic effect was notable (slimline skirts with baggy area in the back!) If I had been more fashion-conscious, I probably would have investigated more even before the pain became disabling!

    Best of luck - and remember, this is just a thought, maybe far out...Sitting position at work-desks even if they are ergonomic (most aren't) are also notorious for stressing much the same area you describe!
    Last edited by Back-out; 06-12-2010 at 02:18 PM.
    Not all diagnosed (still having tests and consults) but so far:
    Ehler-Danlos (hyper-mobility) syndrome, 69 - somehow,
    main curve L Cobb 60, compensating T curve ~ 30
    Flat back, marked lumbar kyphosis (grade?) Spondilolisthesis - everyone gives this a different grade too. Cervical stenosis op'd 3-07, minimally invasive

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    798
    PS I'm sure there is an easier way to tell (how you sit in a chair or a special bending test) but I don't know any. Suggesting the photo, as I haven't yet found a good way to see my own spine from the side without some distortion!
    Not all diagnosed (still having tests and consults) but so far:
    Ehler-Danlos (hyper-mobility) syndrome, 69 - somehow,
    main curve L Cobb 60, compensating T curve ~ 30
    Flat back, marked lumbar kyphosis (grade?) Spondilolisthesis - everyone gives this a different grade too. Cervical stenosis op'd 3-07, minimally invasive

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