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Thread: Is it normal to feel cracking sounds on the fusion?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    153

    Is it normal to feel cracking sounds on the fusion?

    hi,

    I am almost 4 months post op. I am fused from T3 to T10.

    Every time I feel or hear of a cracking sound on that area I obsess about losing correction or having a problem with the hardware.

    Those who are fully recovered (+ 2 years post op) still hear or feel this?
    The sounds per se don't bother me, what bothers me is that they could mean that something wrong. They don't cause pain.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    reno,nevada
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    Richard, cracking sounds can happen and can be caused by multiple things. I wondered about it also......(Soft tissues can make cracking sounds) My un-fused neck makes cracking and snapping sounds, sometimes I will open my mouth, tilt my head back and it will sound like snapping a 1/2” diameter stick of wood which is quite loud. (Elastic modulus)

    Once again, try to take it easy until you fuse......Self diagnosis is usually fruitless and since you are early, you have to stay the course and breathe deep. One day at a time. We experience see-saw type up and down recoveries with good days and bad days. I always simply lay down as a first choice when feeling bad.

    As long as you do not have any “alarming” high level pain events, you should be fine. If a pain event happens, contact your spine surgeon.

    Healing takes time and recovery from scoliosis surgery teaches patience. Worrying or second guessing about medical complications shouldn’t be a focal point. Knowledge is always beneficial, know and treat it like that icon on the corner of your desktop that you glance at once in a blue moon. Try not to click on it too much, and do try to keep smiling.

    Hang in there

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 59, the new 55...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,162
    I think Richard's post underscores how poorly we are prepared mentally or emotionally for these huge surgeries. We go in knowing it will be tough, but I don't really think surgeons spend much if any effort preparing or warning us for how difficult the recovery is mentally and emotionally. How should we cope with worries such as Richard's?? I don't know the answer and am certainly still struggling with how to shake off the feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop after two huge, unexpected revisions for broken rods. I wish this topic was discussed more.
    Last edited by leahdragonfly; 06-21-2016 at 12:03 AM.
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    769
    Gayle I agree with you. I did have one of my surgeons give me the link to this site. Other then that, I was just told recovery would take 6 months. And it takes much longer than that. The people in the rehab center helped the most.
    I think the lack of the full, across the board medical care exists in other areas beside these major spine surgeries. After this latest surgery for my shoulder blade, I was not given proper guidelines to rehab the muscles. It is a very good thing I have a PT friend.
    T10-pelvis fusion 12/08
    Fractured t-9 six days out of surgery
    C5,6,7 fusion 9/10
    PJK at t-9
    T2--T10 fusion 2/11
    Removal of left side t6-t10. 8/14
    C 4-5 fusion 11/14
    Right scapulectomy 6/15
    Right pectoralis major muscle transfer to scapula
    To replace the action of Serratus Anterior muscle 3/16

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    153
    Thanks for the contribution.

    I have heard that after fusion sets in and it is solid enough, the cracking sounds will subside. This seems logic, but what is your experience?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Reno, Nevada
    Posts
    6

    Cracking Sounds

    Here is my experience with cracking sounds in my neck. (FYI, I had surgery for scoliosis in 1964 when I was 15 years old. I had two Herrington rods attached and nine vertebrata fused.) Within the last few years I noticed how tight my shoulder and neck muscles get and that when I moved my neck how I heard cracking sounds. Also, pain in the neck and shoulder area has been getting progressively worse in the last few months. About three months ago I started going to a massage therapist who advertises his specialty as pain management. He has mainly worked on my back, shoulder, and neck muscles and the muscle tightness, pain, and popping has almost disappeared. Also, I was getting head aches and ear aches that I've had for years and they have almost totally disappeared too.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    242
    Quote Originally Posted by jackieg412 View Post
    Gayle I agree with you. I did have one of my surgeons give me the link to this site. Other then that, I was just told recovery would take 6 months. And it takes much longer than that. The people in the rehab center helped the most.
    I think the lack of the full, across the board medical care exists in other areas beside these major spine surgeries. After this latest surgery for my shoulder blade, I was not given proper guidelines to rehab the muscles. It is a very good thing I have a PT friend.
    I agree absolutely- it is the same in UK. And specifically with Scoliosis and surgery the information outside of the surgeons consulting room and operation table is woeful. When one is at one's most fragile after major surgery it is disgraceful how there is poor and often completely inaccurate information and advice available from the medical community.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    8,932
    I think it is the case that PT-scoliosis research has not had much funding at all. I suspect that has to do with the notion that it doesn't seem to correct or hold a curve. But it should be studied from the standpoint of pain reduction. That's why that yoga paper was authored by a physiatrist and not a surgeon or scoliosis researcher.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 11-17-2017 at 09:14 AM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
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    3,587
    Quote Originally Posted by jrj1965 View Post
    Here is my experience with cracking sounds in my neck. (FYI, I had surgery for scoliosis in 1964 when I was 15 years old. I had two Herrington rods attached and nine vertebrata fused.) Within the last few years I noticed how tight my shoulder and neck muscles get and that when I moved my neck how I heard cracking sounds. Also, pain in the neck and shoulder area has been getting progressively worse in the last few months. About three months ago I started going to a massage therapist who advertises his specialty as pain management. He has mainly worked on my back, shoulder, and neck muscles and the muscle tightness, pain, and popping has almost disappeared. Also, I was getting head aches and ear aches that I've had for years and they have almost totally disappeared too.
    Welcome. I probably spent 100K on massage through the years in the Reno area.

    Who is your therapist?

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 59, the new 55...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,162

    Give it lots of time

    I agree with Ed that scoliosis surgery recovery forces great amounts of patience. Not my strong suit, that's for sure! I am a bit over 2 years post-op my second revision for my second go-around with broken rods, and overall doing quite well. I seem to have about one serious pain flair per year, which is always terribly concerning considering all we endure in our recoveries. I had a pretty serious pain flair over the summer with no obvious precipitating event, but it is now about 95% resolved. These incidents seem common among other scoli surgery survivors.

    In my experience the cracking and popping sounds do decrease over time. Improvements in recovery continue for me at least 2 years...I was significantly better at the 2 year mark than a year earlier. I have found a truly wonderful deep tissue/trigger point massage therapist who understands my back well and is so intuitive. I see her once or twice a month and it is some of the best spent money I can think of.

    Hang in there Richard...you are early days in the scheme of things, and have much improvement to look forward to. I think time also helps ease (but not erase) the fear of a hardware complication...
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

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