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Thread: Terrible pain in lower back- anchor screw?

  1. #1
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    Terrible pain in lower back- anchor screw?

    For the past few days, I've been having terrible pain back there, and it seems to be getting worse. It's hard to tell if it's the iliac screw, or what. It's coinciding with this drainage tube being installed, so I'm starting to wonder if having all the fluid in me was acting as a cushion of some sort..? The pain though is REALLY bad. I could hardly stand up long enough to brush my teeth this morning. A week ago I was outside walking the dog around the block, so this is a disappointing setback. I finally decided to send my surgeons nurse a message about this today, but it was about ten minutes from 5:00, so I'm not expecting a response until Monday.

    I know it's still VERY early in my recovery, I'm at about 5 weeks now. I've been reading through some old threads, and I see this isn't the first time this has happened. Is there a way to know for sure if this is definitely coming from the fixation screw? And is it odd for this to just sort of come out of nowhere, and this painful? I'm dreading getting up to walk at this point. I keep thinking I've done something to mess up the hardware somehow... Bending down too much or something. I do think I've been bending at the waist way too much, and just probably doing things I shouldn't have been doing. The thought was, if I can do it without hurting, it must be ok.. I really hope I didn't break anything in there. The only real relief I get is laying down.

    I go in for a checkup next Thursday, so we'll see. Anyone have experience or advice here, other than what turned up in a couple searches I did? This just seems like such a setback right now, and it's very frustrating...
    Pre-surgery- 80°+ thoracic/ 60°+ lumbar
    Still unsure of post-op numbers
    37 yrs. old, 6'7" ish
    Scoli pics

  2. #2
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    Did the pain come on suddenly after a bending episode or has it been building?

    My one daughter went to a HS dance 2.5 weeks after her surgery and was doing fine until a much shorter friends ran up to her and pulled her down to hug her. That caused an instant pain response and set her back at least a week. Her fusion/hardware were not affected. Similarly, I think it is probably very unlikely that you could have affected your fusion or hardware with anything you have been doing.

    If you pain has been coming on more slowly, maybe your drain has introduced an infection into the area?

    Good luck, Mike. I hope you get an answer soon.
    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."

  3. #3
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    Hey Sharon, thanks for the response..

    Don't think it came on suddenly. It's actually hard to remember because I had so much pain before surgery, but it almost seems this pain is in a similar area as a problem spot before. I've asked my surgeon if my ribs are hitting my hip, and he said no, so I have to believe that's not what I'm feeling. Hope it's just some surgical pain that showed up, and won't last long. I'm sure I've been doing way too much, way too early, and it's hard to not get immediately paranoid that something is terribly wrong. Reading this forum gives a lot of good reassurance that things are most likely just fine.

    Last night was the first time I've slept past 4am.. I woke up at 2:30am, emptied the drain bulb, and actually went back to sleep until 6:30. AND I didn't have any pain meds since 10:30 the night before. That's huge. The spot I'm having so much pain in didn't hurt when I first got up and started moving around, but already, I'm getting some burning pain going in there.
    I just need to stay positive, which can be hard, relax, and just let this healing take place without me interrupting it.

    Oh, and I don't think there's any infection going on, only because the color of fluid coming out is still good, I'm not running a fever, the seroma area isn't warm or hot to the touch... But I'm still getting a good amount of fluid draining.. Where is this stuff coming from??!!
    Pre-surgery- 80°+ thoracic/ 60°+ lumbar
    Still unsure of post-op numbers
    37 yrs. old, 6'7" ish
    Scoli pics

  4. #4
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    Well, I am betting it is soft tissue whatever it is. I think this will resolve. I just wish you would get a break and start having an uninterrupted upward trajectory towards recovery.

    I admire your positive attitude through this. That is your ace in the hole.
    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."

  5. #5
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    An onset of new significant pain without a corresponding increase in activity is a reason to contact the surgeon. It's probably not an emergency (unless you have a temperature), but you should call on Monday.

    Also, if you've stopped taking pain medication, that could explain it.
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
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    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
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  6. #6
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    No temperature, and definitely did not stop taking any pain meds. I sent a message in to my surgeons office, but it was five minutes to five, on Friday. I'm expecting a call from them Monday morning. They're good about returning calls. I sat on our couch earlier, instead of this new recliner we bought for when I came home after surgery. I felt almost weightless on that couch, no pain. It's like my bones were lined up perfectly or something.
    Then I stood up after sitting there for 20 minutes or so, and just stood there with my arms out stretched, still no pain in that pelvic area. Walked a little ways, went to the bathroom, and BOOM... Sharp pain, horrible. I even took my pain meds an hour early, about an hour ago, and pain is still here. Super frustrated. I want to go take a shower so bad, but I'm hesitating because I'm not sure I'll be able to stand in there that long...

    Linda, being that I'm a pretty thin guy, and that I'm having all this fluid drained still.. I would think there's some pretty raw tissue in there making contact to hardware for possibly the first time. Is that correct to assume that's where all this pain has suddenly come from? I would think I'd know if any hardware inside me has broken or moved or anything, right?

    Maybe it's this recliner that's just putting me in bad alignment...? Maybe I'll not sit in it tomorrow and see if that changes anything..
    Pre-surgery- 80°+ thoracic/ 60°+ lumbar
    Still unsure of post-op numbers
    37 yrs. old, 6'7" ish
    Scoli pics

  7. #7
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    Is it nerve pain or soft tissue?
    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."

  8. #8
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    How can you tell the difference? If I had to guess, I'd say soft tissue pain.
    Pre-surgery- 80°+ thoracic/ 60°+ lumbar
    Still unsure of post-op numbers
    37 yrs. old, 6'7" ish
    Scoli pics

  9. #9
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    Well I am no expert but I have had both and they are completely different to me.

    Both times when I herniated a disc, there was instant pinpoint linear pain down my buttock. It had the quality of either being zero or a ten on the pain scale.

    Soft tissue pain is more diffuse. It is more constant.
    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."

  10. #10
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    Hmm, I don't know. This is almost a burning pain, which usually falls into the nerve category, no? It's not completely constant, I can get in a few different positions to calm it down. When I'm standing and walking, it's about 90% constant. Sitting in certain positions, and laying down, eventually it will go away.

    You know, just words from my surgeon saying this is ok, normal, expected, and will eventually go away, will completely change the way I feel about it. During my appointment this Thursday, I'm going to ask for an x-ray at the least, to get a good look at what's going on in there. Is that ok to ask for a new x-ray, or should I wait for him to order one?
    Pre-surgery- 80°+ thoracic/ 60°+ lumbar
    Still unsure of post-op numbers
    37 yrs. old, 6'7" ish
    Scoli pics

  11. #11
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    I was just thinking, about 4 days ago I did completely squat down to get something out of a bottom cupboard in the kitchen. I made sure to keep my spine and neck as straight as possible as I did it, and made sure I used only my legs and then arms up on the countertop to help myself up.. I'm sure that wasn't too smart. In the rehab facility I was in they had me do some squats, but nowhere near as low as I did in my kitchen. Probably should mention that to my surgeon, huh?
    Pre-surgery- 80°+ thoracic/ 60°+ lumbar
    Still unsure of post-op numbers
    37 yrs. old, 6'7" ish
    Scoli pics

  12. #12
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    Mike, Lets hope it’s a soft tissue injury....that’s probably what it is. You can have an injury to surrounding tissues inflame and press on a nerve. I had it happen at 22 months post, it lasted for 2 weeks, 1” circle of pain, just off center at L3 or L4. When I went down to visit my surgeon, in the elevator I realized that the pain had just quit. They shot x-ray’s and it all looked good. It felt like a soldering iron, so I guess that’s burning pain. If I didn’t label the pain “soldering iron”back then, I wouldn’t have remembered.

    How many patients here have reported breaking hardware at 38 days? I cant recall any.

    JDM reported pulling a lumbar screw, but he wasn’t fused to the pelvis......being fused to the pelvis adds tremendous support to the construct. Our Eiffel towers....

    I have had skiing injuries with up to 2 weeks delayed pain response. Hard to believe but true.

    Try to take it easy......things are going to be ok

    Discontinue the trampoline training.....(scoliosis forum humor)

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    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

  13. #13
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    Ahh yeah, the nice soldering iron feeling... I still can't believe you ski after this. That's definitely motivation, for I'm guessing a lot of others as well.

    One of the best things about this forum is all the knowledge, and the reassurance that comes from someone(and more likely, multiple people), when you're just not sure what's going on inside your body. This place has been invaluable to me for around 7 or 8 years.

    Oh, and Ed, I tried sending you a pm, but it says your inbox is full........
    Pre-surgery- 80°+ thoracic/ 60°+ lumbar
    Still unsure of post-op numbers
    37 yrs. old, 6'7" ish
    Scoli pics

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
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    3,551
    The pain will pass....

    Its not snowing out here and we are in a SERIOUS SERIOUS drought. Lake Mead is drying up and they will shut the generators off soon at the dam. I have not been skiing lately.....full fusion scoli skiers need it deep to soften the crashes. (smiley face) I’m not keen on going out and ice skating anymore which is what the base becomes unless it snows. They also want a fortune, Squaw demands around $165 at the window these days and I’m not $165 worth of gung ho anymore. I am truly a spoiled skier. I am also a spoiled diver....

    I actually had a problem with my lumbar on Thursday. First problem with my lumbar in around 7 years now, but it actually was a soft tissue injury. We never really know what we do a lot of the times, but it was an acute pain sensation that locked me up like a scarecrow down at work. Everyone was concerned, and I laughed and told them all that I could simply stand right here and direct traffic. He he. You get used to these things, pain just doesn’t matter anymore.....I went home and went to bed right away, don’t want to cause more injury. It becomes automatic with me. I’m fine now.

    You should go in and see your surgeon right away to make sure things are ok. He will probably shoot x-rays as they like to look for fusion on x-rays. At 5 weeks, there should be some action as far as this is concerned. Remember that the fusion process starts, but its integrity of fusion that matters. You can walk on concrete at 48 hours, but it takes 28 days to cure. Fusion mass takes a year.

    Don’t crack your concrete.

    There is a lot to be said about multiple posters....there is always something that is missed, and that’s where others are valuable in a group setting which is the beauty of the forum. Sometimes, there are shill’s, or plants, and they get caught, but a lot of the times, we can put the dart on the dart board through experience and knowledge.

    My PM is clear again

    Ed
    Last edited by titaniumed; 12-18-2016 at 11:55 AM.
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    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

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,551
    Mike

    All the old photos are on my old laptop, and I tether my laptops for mobility. What I need to do is to take the old computer down to work and do some serious updates and transfer the files. I don’t do updates while tethering......unless I switch to T-mobile here soon since they now have unlimited data for $70. Decisions, decisions.....(smiley face) AT&T, you now have competition.

    I see my sagittal in my sig is gone. Don’t you love updates?

    But, there is always good news, thanks to You Tube. This is me skiing at Donner summit, January 2011. 3 years after being fused.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tEypv3Vz8o

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    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

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