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Thread: Hi, new here 46 year old Mom with thoracic mid-back pain - advice?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    9

    Hi, new here 46 year old Mom with thoracic mid-back pain - scoliosis advice?

    Hi, I vaguely recall being checked for scoliosis in grade school and having a curve that was moderate. Nothing further came out of that check. I don't recall visiting many doctors from age 9 to 17 or so.

    At 45, when my daughter was 4, I could not handle the mid-back pain. It's always been there (a good 10 years where it was moderate - now is chronic and moderate-severe pain that I feel). By 7-8 pm at night, my back is agonizing. Standing on tile (while cooking, etc.) exacerbates the pain (no, I'm not trying to get out of cooking lol but my husband is very kind and does the dishes when he sees I need to get off my feet for my back!) - whenever I stand in one position for too long I can feel the pain coming or worsening.

    I went to an orthopedist who took an Xray and told me I have Kyphosis - I asked him what cuvature/degree it is and he said "doesn't matter there is nothing you can do for it". I figured "he's a surgeon; let me see a pain specialist and a physical therapist. I started PT in May 07 (it helps very slightly). I was prescribed 20 mg percocet daily and do use them because of the pain at the end and beginning of every day. I sometimes think that it would be nice to be pain-free, permanently, for example I can see why some people check out because of their pain. Edited to add; I have personal experience with this - my brother - it's a long and sad story and I understand 8 years later if that makes sense). He passed away on December 24, 1999.

    At my new facility, I also see a Chiropractor who gives me relief when he cracks the middle of my back - without fail it cracks like 5 sets of knuckles.

    I've been lurking and am heading over to read the Diagnositic board to see what tests will confirm that it's not all in my head. My husband also gave me a book re healing back pain while dealing with "life, stress, etc". eg it's all in the head and if you deal with what ails you your back will improve (it's for people of don't have a diagnosis for their back pain). Can anyone relate?

    Thanks - it felt good to just post. I use the massage chair insert you see at all the drugstores - that helps at times I find it too hard though. I have a numb right calf and continuous numbness (pins and needles) in my hands. Im open to all opinions and experiences. I wish you all pain free days!
    Sincerely
    Alice
    Last edited by Alice; 03-22-2008 at 09:54 PM.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2008
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    9
    I am hoping that this board is slow on the weekend and perhaps someone will read this week and have pointers.

    It's so painful at night and I've been told by 3 doctors that scoliosis and kyphosis generally don't cause pain. In any event, there is some good intormation which I'm filtering through and also some controversial stuff. I'm not interested in controversy, just looking for a friend who can relate.
    Alice

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Big Bear, CA
    Posts
    290
    Alice,
    If I was you I would find a Scoliosis Doc and have them get xrays. Let them tell you where you stand. Most other Docs don't have a clue that scoliosis HURTS! I decided on surgery when the curve started progressing rapidly and the pain started hitting in the thoracic area rather than the lumbar area that I was used to. I wish you well and hope someone out there can help you. Stay strong.
    Alicia
    Geish
    47 years old, dx at 13
    +30* to the right, +60* to the left, +30* to the right
    Surgery 12-13-07 - fusion from T4 to sacrum.


    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...tachmentid=267 Pre surgery
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...tachmentid=268 Post surgery
    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t...s/DSC01091.jpg Xray from the side
    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t...1089-1-1-1.jpg Xray from the back

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    9
    Thank you Alicia for validating that scoliosis does hurt.

    I looked at your pictures. I wish you continued success - are you pain free or is that the outlook? You look wonderful.

    Truer words were never spoken I guess:

    ""Now the top and bottom curves are completely gone and middle curve is now less than 20 *.""

    I never knew that your run of the Mill doctor had no idea bout this condition - one would think they would. I will somehow slot in visits and diagnostic tests and keep you posted. Thank you so much for your reply.
    Alice

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    9
    This is what I meant to quote!

    "Most other Docs don't have a clue that scoliosis HURTS!"

    But your progress is worth quoting as well!
    Alice

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sydney - Australia
    Posts
    166

    Don't give up!

    Hi Alice,

    Firstly - a big Cyber hug - you sound so depressed and upset at your situation. I can relate to that.

    Secondly - not Scoliosis related as I'm on this forum as a Mum of a child just through the surgery but......

    Never, never, never give up trying to find a solution to your problem. For some us like me, it's a big deal even to go to a Doctor in the first place, I hate going, but to be told, nothing wrong, can't help etc, it's very depressing. After the birth of Elysia I had excruitiating pain in the butt - just to cut to the chase with the story without the gory details - I went to 3 GP's, 1 surgeon, 1 Gynaecologist and then back to another surgeon before finally getting diagnosed. Half of my local district had looked at my rear end! LOL! I perservered for 12 months (only cause of the pain) but finally was diagnosed and had a very simple surgery to rectify the problem.

    Now not saying that is your case, but you need to see a reputable Scoliosis surgeon, get a recommendation from the forum here, and hear directly from them whether anything can be done or not!

    Also what a load of "wallop" that Scoliosis doesn't cause pain, many will tell you otherwise on here regarding that.

    I haven't been much use, just wanted to encourage you to keep up your spirits.

    Cyber hugs
    Del
    xx
    Elysia 16 in Feb 2010
    Sydney - Australia
    Feb 2008 Fused T5-L1 and 5 ribs removed.
    Dec 2009 - Crankshafting
    Dec 10 - Revision surgery...3 vertebrae taken down, hooks removed, at T11-L1 - screws inserted, fusion extended down to
    L3 using Pedicle screws, some rib removed to try to derotate. Praying for things to settle.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    9
    Thank you Del for your very kind reply. I'll keep you and your daughter and family in my good thoughts and wishes. You were so helpful and I thank you for being kind enough to take time to reply. I hope your daughter recovers nicely and I'll look for your updates.

    I'm a bit depressed - just tired of always saying "my back hurts". My husband is a Saint. If I were married to me I'ld want to run away. Even our 5 year old says "oh, I have to lie down my back hurts" when she's imitating me lol.

    My 71 year old Mom has a big bump in her back and has lost a few inches of height but says it is not scoliosis. My Granny was the same as are all of my Aunts. My PT is trying to stop it from progressing more. In the meantime I will search out a specialist. Just to know that some do have pain from kyphosis and scoliosis - I feel less alone. I really thought it was in my head until I happened upon this site.

    Thanks again.
    Alice

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    Hi Alice,

    Many of us on this forum found that our curves progressed more rapidly, with increasing pain, in middle age. I would also advise you to find an adult scoliosis specialist (don't waste your time with a regular orthopedic physician or neurologist). You can find a physician in your area by going on the Scoliosis Research Society web site. Good luck!
    Chris
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    9
    Thank you Chris, I will be looking for a specialist when my daughter's spring break is over. Funnily enough the Chrio (and there is a PM doctor on site) said I should see a neurologist asap and take Lyrica due to the numbness in my leg and the numbness, tingling, pins and needles all day in my hands as well as my right ankle.

    Many thanks.
    Alice

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    9
    PS: I am slotted for another MRI and am curious to read the diagnostic testing board now - my primary doctor said somehting like "it should not be painful now if it wasn't painful from your teens through about age 35". I wasn't sure if that was a true statement and I've been searching the internet and this is basically the only site where I have noted pain associated with kyphosis and scoliosis to date.
    Alice

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NorthCarolina
    Posts
    51
    Hi Alice
    My case is somewhat similar to yours - scoliosis as a youth with no pain (or brace) that has come back to haunt me in middle age.
    At the end of the day, it often feels like I have a knife stabbed between my shoulders and very uncomfortable pressure on my right ribs - feels like someone is stepping on my rib cage and trying to crush it.
    The least expensive thing that has surprisingly helped me is a simple posture corset (http://www.amazon.com/Posture-Correc...tdp_sv_edpp_i). It's provided much more pain relief than my expensive memory foam mattress.

    Hopefully your MRI will shed some light on your situation.
    Mom to Haley, 13.5 yrs old
    Diagnosed at 6 yrs old - 18T.
    Boston Brace at 9.5 yrs old - 34T/18L
    Switched to SpineCor at 10 yrs old
    Stable at ~22T OBX until 12.5 yrs old
    Adolescent growth spurt was brutal - scheduled for surgery Dec 7th.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NJ across from NYC
    Posts
    329

    Private Message

    Alice, I just sent you a Private Message. Lynn
    1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
    2000 Partial Rod Removal
    2001 Right Scapular Resection
    12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
    06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago north suburb
    Posts
    774
    Hi Alice,

    As others have advised, please see an adult scoliosis specialist, and the next time a doctor tells you that scoliosis does not cause pain, ask him if he thinks this woman is clinging to the wall for the thrill of it.
    http://www.spinal-deformity-surgeon....liosis/24.html

    Chris

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
    Posts
    285
    Quote Originally Posted by Alice
    "it should not be painful now if it wasn't painful from your teens through about age 35".
    Alice -
    Your primary doctor needs a re-education. I found out I had scoliosis by accident when I was around 19-20 years old. My S-curve was well balanced so the only outward sign was one hip higher than the other. I was told it was too late to do anything, that it wouldn't get any worse. So I promptly forgot about it. I had no problems or pain until I hit my early forties - my line was "I hurt from my neck to my knees" - and then had increasingly worse pain until I had no choice but to have surgery. As you can see by my signature, I have had four surgeries. It's so far so good with the latest one, and I'm cautiously optimistic that this will be the last. Good luck to you.
    FeliciaFeliciaFelicia
    10/24/00 posterior fusion T4-L4 at age 57
    8/5/05 posterior surgery for spinal stenosis at L4-L5; laminectomy and fusion
    5/14/07 posterior revision with fusion to sacrum
    2/11/08 anterior discectomy L5-S1, and reinforcement of fusion with plate attached to L5-S1
    3/9/2011 and 3/11/2011 revision surgery with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis - complete revision and fusion with instrumentation from T1 to sacrum, one lumbar osteotomy.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    152
    I'm afraid many doctors don't know what they are talking about in regard to scoliosis. Sometimes it's not painful, but some cases (like mine) can be very painful.

    Tight hamstring muscles are a contributor to back pain in a significant number of scoliosis victims (including me), as well as the general population. They are perhaps more likely to cause lumbar than thoracic pain, though. Happily this is easy to fix by yourself if it's part of the problem.

    Try sitting with your rump against a wall, back straight up and legs straight out. Just imagine your muscles on the back of the legs relaxing. Not only the muscles have to relax, but the brain's muscle control center has to get the idea that it is not necessary for the hamstrings to contract so tightly. Do this for 30-60 seconds once or twice a day. If hamstrings are an issue, you will notice the difference immediately. Standard runners' hamstring-stretch exercises will work as well.

    Weak lower back muscles are also frequently an issue in scoliosis pain (and with many other people), but unfortunately more complicated to fix. I've posted on this before:

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...highlight=medx

    Physical therapists are generally more attuned to analyzing and treating muscle pain than most doctors. You might try consulting others if the one you're working with is not succeeding. Also investigate the Schroth method -- see posts about it elsewhere on this board.

    Good luck.

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