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Thread: Having a problem with scapula pain

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
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    Having a problem with scapula pain

    I have found a few posts on this subject---but I was not able to find out much on what helped. I have been dealing with a locking right scapula since right after I was fused up to t-2. t started almost right away and reaching my right arm forward---like to hug someone or something---seems to pull out my rt scapula. Then it gets stuck and will not feel better until someone pops it for me.{so far I can't seem to pop it on my own} I have gone back to PT and Have lost major strength in rt side compared to left. I am right handed and would have guessed that the right side would be stronger but The left is about 4 times as strong as the rt.
    In PT we are working on building up the right side. I think there is an impovement in motion and the scapula doesn't seem to pop as much but it still locks.
    The dr also ordered an epidural at c7-t-1 with the thought of having the upper trap muscle not go into spasms so much. All of this should help.and that is what I want before the dr fuses up to c-.7.I am already fused t2-pelvis and c5,6,7.
    Any one find anything else that can help? I take pain meds, Pt, use a tens unit and heat. Sometimes the only thing that works is to lay my head down and relax that upper spine as much as I can.
    Last edited by jackieg412; 01-04-2014 at 08:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,168
    Oh, Jackie, that sounds awful! I am having scapular pain, but mine is muscular only. I started some exercises, but it only help some. Maybe we will get some advice from others that is helpful. Susan
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    243
    Hi Susan,
    I hope others that have had tis issue will offer some help. WE do {us scoli's} have the best ideas. We know what we are talking about!! The Dr has ordered an epidural at c-7 t-1 but I an awaiting an approval from insurane company. This is the fight---is that disc cervical or thorasic? Since it is both--how and who makes up thier mind. Because if it is cervical they will reject it.That is worker's comp for you. Now I can have it through medicare--but I need workers comp's rejection in writing so medicare will pay. I have been trying since Dec 5th. I know the holiday's and everything delay it --but we had almost three weeks before!
    And If I have it through my medicare--I can not go to my spine dr's office for it. They no longer take my type of medicare.So it means another group of doctor's and all that goes along with that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    243
    Well I heard back from WC insurance and they rejected the epidural. I am trying to get it done through medicare{I have an HMO}. I will find out on monday if I can get approval.
    They also rejected my PT as they do not think it is necessay. It appears as if the scapula on the right side will get stuck on something in middle of the spine{Screws or connector or bone??Then I have to have someone force it through and pop it before it gets better. I need to find out if it is the larger connection in middle of the spine. My rods are connected at the t9-t11 area. Is that about where the scapula rests?Any other ideas?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    2,646
    Here's just a thought. Can you see a shoulder specialist? The scapula is one of the bones that make up the shoulder joint. He/she may have a different perspective on it or be able to confirm why the scapula is locking up. I also have scapula pain, but mine don't lock up. It's all muscular in nature. The upper traps do play a big role in "my" pain. I get trigger point injections and Botox injections to break up the spasms.

    I hope you get things figured out. I think the most frustrating part of having scoliosis is being shipped from doctor to doctor and having insurance denials, etc. Most people just don't understand how painful this condition is for some of us. Also, finding the area that's causing the pain can be almost impossible. :/
    1985 - Dx w/ painful AIS at 16 with 39* upper LEFT thoracic single curve.
    2000 - 41*
    2010 - 46* (T1 - T6) 38* (T6-L2) Now a double thoracic
    2012 - Dx w/ Cervical Muscle Dystonia.
    DDD L5/S1 with left nerve impingement
    Left SI joint dysfunction

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    243
    The Pt doesn't think it is in the shoulder. There is a liltte click there but a bigger one lower on the back. It is when the scapula is coming down not up. Now I have a swelling about 2 levels lower on the spine that wasn't there before.I noticed it on Saturday--I was rubbing it because it was so sore. My last surgery is almost 3 years ago. I saw the pt today and he wants me to see the surgeon because he has moved that area before and this was not there. So I called the doctor's office and was given an appointment for this evening. I didn't even know he was at the office in the evening. So I will go have the swelling looked at. Maybe we can find out more about what is not working right. I have not fallen or had any mishaps that I can claim could have changed anything. So I will go find out!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Warsaw, MO
    Posts
    278
    Good luck! Praying for relief. Keep us posted.

    Tamena
    Diagnosed at age 12 with a double major curve

    Braced till age 15

    SSBOB T12-L2 Anterior age 34. (October 22,2012) Dr. Robert Gaines Jr. ( Columbia, MO)

    Revision Surgery T2-Sacrum with Pelvic Fixation Prosterior age 35 (November 13,2013) Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, MO)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    East Central FL
    Posts
    189
    Hello, I'm jumping in on this thread as I'd also like to know what has worked for anyone. Scapula pain before & since surgery has been a non-stop part of Jacob's everyday life, yet no one has been able to solve it. PT, then continuing w resistance bands, weights, swimming helps ease it out, but it's always there to some degree. How would you find a shoulder specialist, other than just calling around? Thanks
    Mom of 14yo son diagnosed Oct 2011
    Surgery 1/3/12 w Dr. Geof Cronen,
    Tampa General Hospital T3 to L1
    Jacob's pre surg curves: T58 & L31 12/28/11
    photos & xrays in "First-Time Surgery" thread "Before & After"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    243
    The results of the visit with my doctor.

    The swelling is over the part of the spine that has my connection of my rods. My t-2-pelvis fusion was revised at the 2 year mark. So my rods run t-10 to pelvis and are joined there and extended t-2-t10. The doctors did not remove the 1st rod--just connected to it and then banded it . so in the area of the swelling it is wider than anywhere else. and just above that is a connector that connects the rods. A LOT OF METAL IN THAT AREA. The doctor said the swelling is soft tissue and back off of PT for a few days. I had been telling the PT that it feels as if I am ripping the muscle's apart. I am almost 3 years past the last surgery and the spine is solid{DR SAID SO}--so this metal can be removed BUT, He said it would be very,very difficult to do and was just shaking his head at the thought. He said it was incased in bone and would require a difficult surgery. At this time I am saying NO to that. But now I know why I am having a hard time about moving my scapula. The scapula itself catches on a rib and the muscles under it are rubbing the hardwear. It causes me to keep my right arm close to me so I will not feel this. The doctor also said that I was very small and too thin. So I guess if you have some muscle in your back that you have better padding.MAybe I can have a FAT transfer????
    Is your son thin?? It has been an issue{the scapula} all along for me. I am doing the PT as he is. It is moving better--but it will happen again. Now that we know what is happening==it looks like I will just have to have pt off and on to keep it moving better. The doctor implied that there isn't too much I can do about it.Is it like that with your son?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    2,646
    Jackie,
    I'm so sorry to hear the news from your surgeon. Why would they put those rods next to each other, especially in a thin person? That is a LOT of metal to have in one spot. I guess I never stopped to think that the rods get encased in bone after the fusion. I always assumed that they packed the bone next to the rods leaving access to the screws and rods. That would be the smart way to do things. I guess he can tell from your x-ray that it's encased in bone? Well, that at least tells you that your fusion is REALLY solid. I wonder how much bone they would have to chip away? You'd think that if they could get the screws out and the wires off, that they could tap the rods out without having to take ALL of the bone loose. Anyway, I'm just thinking from a surgical perspective of what they could do. I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to go through that. I hope you can find a way to get your pain under control and your range of motion back without having to go through another surgery. I'm feeling sad for you...
    1985 - Dx w/ painful AIS at 16 with 39* upper LEFT thoracic single curve.
    2000 - 41*
    2010 - 46* (T1 - T6) 38* (T6-L2) Now a double thoracic
    2012 - Dx w/ Cervical Muscle Dystonia.
    DDD L5/S1 with left nerve impingement
    Left SI joint dysfunction

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    243
    Well after 7 plus months it looks like we may have an answer to this problem
    After several injections and another set of pt,I finally had a c.t scan. It appears as if the hardware is impinging on the intercostal nerve. The Dr is going to take out part of the hardware in the thoracic. He will remove the cross connector also. I have my rods joined at that level also so he will remove the domino connector too.
    Maybe then I will be able to get off of the medication
    I do not know when. It is still part of a workers comp case. I thought I was finished with that but I guess not yet.Maybe soon. Yes!!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,243
    Jackie--
    You've suffered a long time with this. I have right scapula pain on occasion and it is no fun and yours sounds much more complicated and painful. I hope the doctor can take care of this for you. Good luck & keep us posted. Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

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