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Thread: Tight Back

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    492

    Tight Back

    I am very happy with the outcome of my surgery, but curious about one thing. My back gets tight in the middle sometimes, like someone is holding me with strong hands. It is not bad and if I have to live with this feeling for the rest of my life, that is totally fine. But I wanted to ask people who are several years out of the surgery does this tight back feeling ever go away?
    I am stronger than scoliosis, and won't let it rule my life!
    45 years old - diagnosed at age 7
    A/P surgery on March 5/7, 2013 - UCSF

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,129
    Hi Irina, I never had that tight feeling or the spasms. I could be completely wrong, but I thought I'd mention this, just in case it is of some use to someone. When I walk, I walk as fast as I can which means I swing my arms a lot. As I walk, I can feel my muscles in my thoracic area moving and I wonder if this isn't giving them some sort of work out which is preventing the tightness/bear claw feeling?

    I'm glad that it's not bothering you, and that you are very happy with your surgery!

    I should add, I started kayaking, if I remember correctly, about 8-9 months out from surgery and still kayak occasionally, which is a real workout for the arm, back and shoulder muscles. But I see there are others who suffer the tightness who've tried exercise, with no luck. So it may have nothing to do with it. I've always wondered why I didn't get that tightness, as most patients seem to get it.
    Last edited by JenniferG; 12-02-2013 at 02:21 AM.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    west midlands, UK
    Posts
    148
    I am 3 years post op and suffer badly from the 'bear claw' feeling. I've prayed for it to go but it hasn't and I don't believe it will now I'm so far out of surgery. On an ordinary day I can cope with it but if I go out for more than 2 hours it becomes unbearable. Only today I spent the afternoon around a very crowded Xmas fair and I got to the point where I simply had to sit down. My surgeon has suggested hardware removal and I'm now seriously considering it.

    I think yours still has time to ease more, it may just take time. I've tried excercise but all it does for me is aggravate the protruding screws I have in the middle of my back. I hope things improve for you.
    Fused T2-L4 with costoplasty on 3/11/10

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,955
    I had the tightness more in the early years. I'm 5 years out now, and knock on wood, I don't get much of it any more. Motrin helped me for that almost as much as muscle relaxants.
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    98

    Ongoing tightness

    Hi Irina,
    At 2 1/2 yrs post-op, I am one of those who still experiences the ongoing tightness in the thoracic area. I do play tennis 3-4x/week and use the elliptical and lift weights a couple times/wk as well. When it gets really, really bad, I place hot towels on my upper back or take long hot showers. Sometimes just laying flat on my back is the only way to get relief. I am beginning to think that it must be a posture thing for me especially when I am standing for extended time or when I am unable to lean back when sitting.
    Donna
    Female - 49 yrs old at surgery
    Surgery 5/5/11 - Dr. Bridwell, St. Louis
    Fused T3-L3
    60 degree thoracic curve corrected to 30 degrees
    Tennis player & returning to the courts!
    http://s1050.photobucket.com/profile/walkingmom1/index

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,835
    Irina-- at 6 1/2 years post-op I still get that tightness, but mostly when the weather has turned cold...
    63, and feeling better with each year-- Life is good!
    2007 major curve @ 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shiftt
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15-- and Tickled Pink!!!


    Click to view my pics: [url=http://s244.photobucket.com/albums/gg25/SusieB1951/pics%20of%20scoli%20x-rays/,[/url] digital x-rays, and pics of me

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    236

    Omg!know how you feel!

    Hi,
    I joust want to add my two cents about the tight back! I think some days it could drive me nuts. It feels like someone is pulling on my back and squeezing with both hands! I just walk as much as possible. I was thinking the cold weather makes it worse, but I think it started before it got cold. I have been taking hot showers. I don't know about massage yet since I'm only seven months out of my revision surgery. Anyway, all you tight backs, I am right there with you! It sounds like it is pretty common. And my muscles have been cut (posterior) top to bottom four times. Yikes! Rubber bands for sure~~~anyway! I love this site for sure! Know one else would have a clue what we are talking about. Keep posting and I will try to be better about updating. Irina, hope this gets better. I am going to call Dr. Lenke's nurse to see what is going on. Warm thoughts of all of you during the Blessed Holidays!!
    Linda Brozik~~60 yrs. old at time of Lenke's first surgery. 62 now!
    Surgery 2006 L3/4 L4/5 double fusion/ instumentation/ With 2 cages
    This started adult onset scoliosis
    July 1st, 2010/ surgery ~~fused T10 to pelvis (long rods/ screws)
    Oct.20th 2010, extended rods to T4 / did osteotomy at L3
    Am awaiting surgery with Dr. Lenke(Oct. 29th,2012) at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. He will fix my saggital imbalance.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,133
    I know the tightness. To me, it feels like I "have a board stapled to my butt". I wanted to be more eloquent when I described the tightness that I feel to my pain management MD, but that was my best description. I figure that I am on the 2 year recovery plan, so I am trying to just go with it and be patient.
    Susan......as seen in one of my favorite cartoons of a buzzard on a branch who says, "patience my ass, I want to go out and kill something"
    Dxed 8/2011: Degenerative Adult-Onset Scoliosis age 65
    XRAY 1/2012: 25* T levoscoliosis/ 36* L dexroscoliosis w/ 4.1 cm coronal & 3.5 cm sagittal balance
    XRAY: 12/2012: Scoliosis curve same, Coronal Balance increased to 11.2 cm. T kyphosis 90 degrees
    Severe disc degeneration thoracic & lumbar, stenosis esp L4
    Surgery: T3 to S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries,
    19 & 22 March 2013, Dr. Serena Hu @ UCSF
    Postop incisional hernia @ ALIF incision, repaired 3/2014

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,955
    the cold weather definitely makes it worse for me. I bought the warmest winter coats I could find after my surgery which helps. I avoid shivering at all costs.
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    231
    Cold is a big problem. Last year my brother gave me a polar fleese vest. I wear it all of the time--I even sleep in it. It seems that being warm eases the tight feeling. The only other thing that helps is a lot of walking without carring anything. My lumbar surgery is now 5 years old--I quess my spine just wants to be tight.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    492
    It's not too cold in California, so I am not sure if I can blame tightness on cold weather. I am back to work and sit a lot, doing much less walking and can only go to gym on weekends. That might be it... I probably need a job that doesn't require 10-11 hours days and 36 miles commute... This is too much... Hot showers help and relax me. Thank you everyone!
    I am stronger than scoliosis, and won't let it rule my life!
    45 years old - diagnosed at age 7
    A/P surgery on March 5/7, 2013 - UCSF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lilburn, GA
    Posts
    200

    Tightness in back

    I am two and a half years post op and still have the tightness. I have tried exercise, massage, chiropractor, nothing seems to alleviate it other than sitting or lying down. It is particularly painful before a storm. I have tried everything short of medication ( I do not want to take anything for it and will deal with it if I have to) and nothing works. I am very active but the tightness and occasional pain (stabbing, piercing sensations) are completely random. Even my surgeon is stumped.
    50 years old!!!!!
    Wore Milwaulkee Brace 1976-77
    Original curve 36 degrees ( measured in the 70s)
    Advanced to 61 degrees 01/2011
    Surgery 07/11/2011
    Fused T1-L2 (curve now in the 20s!)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    west midlands, UK
    Posts
    148
    My surgeon doesn't have the answers to the tight back feeling either, he even said he's never had a patient talk about 'pressure' in their back like I have. He did say though that it could be the spine being in its new place causing the tightness or it could be the age I had it done (45). I do get tired of the feeling, for me its all around my middle back and with the pain I have from the protruding screws on top of that it can be rather debilitating. I find its tighter if I'm inactive but if I go for a walk it can't be for too long otherwise the pressure feeling gets so great I have to sit down.
    Fused T2-L4 with costoplasty on 3/11/10

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    79
    I have the tight back feeling. When I am really tired, like now, it is painful. Mine is in conjunction with what seems to be some nerve pain that at times goes around my ribs like a pair of too high, too tight panty hose. The feeling is just under my shoulder blades. Since I am only six months out I am hoping it goes away with time, but if it doesn't, then I will ask my surgeon. I began working out today, using light free weights, bands, and the bench. I took it easy, but I can feel it in my ribs. I wonder if it might be scar tissue formation. Massage and heat help with that. As time goes on the scar tissue gets softer and smaller.
    It could be posture, too. Gonna get working on that. Got the little stabby pain things going on as well. Those are getting better. I have finally crossed over to the pain med free zone, and am beginning to find joy in my journey back to health.
    Wendy
    Fusion T6 to S2 with Dr. Carlos Bagley,
    Duke Spine Center
    Surgery Date June 21, 2013

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lilburn, GA
    Posts
    200

    Asheville, NC

    Hi Wendy!

    I am from Asheville too! I went to Dr. David Capiello in Asheville back in the 70s when my mother first noticed my back didn't look quite right. I was sent to Duke for further evaluation and was told at the time that my curve was not significant enough to require surgery. It was around 30. I did wear a brace for two years. Dr Capiello tried to convince me to consider surgery because "it will make you look better". I thought that was ridiculous at the time considering back then, one was put in a body cast for a minimum of 6 months. In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't have it done.

    I still have the stabby pain you mentioned. It comes and goes and again, I cannot tie it with any other activity. I do notice before a big storm, it hurts like crazy. The tightness in the thoracic area is always there but does change in intensity. I work out a lot as well with weights and do plenty of cardio. It definitely makes me feel better and I am much more mobile than I ever thought I would be.
    50 years old!!!!!
    Wore Milwaulkee Brace 1976-77
    Original curve 36 degrees ( measured in the 70s)
    Advanced to 61 degrees 01/2011
    Surgery 07/11/2011
    Fused T1-L2 (curve now in the 20s!)

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