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Thread: "Crack In Back"

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Question "Crack In Back"

    Hello All:

    I'm now coming up to 4 months post op and a "funny" (truly NOT) thing happened to me last Saturday. I was moving from my bed headed toward the bathroom and I heard a loud "crack" in my back and my right leg gave away. I said out loudly to myself, oh that can't be good. I didn't have any real residual pain that night except that my right leg started the burning, numbness and stabbing pain that I've continued to have post surgery (also had pre surgery, but has greatly lessened) As the days progressed, I called my surgeon and on Tuesday my physical therapy day, I was only able to do the hot pad, scar manual therapy and when I tried the first knee to chest exercise, I said no way, so got an ice pack and left. I described what happened to my therapist and she said believe it or not it could be scar tissue cracking. Boy wish someone had told me about this. Well today (yesterday) I finally got into the surgeon for an xray and all is still in place and healing well. The surgeon also thought that it was probably one of the internal sutures that snapped and the muscle and hardware (this is my 3rd fusion, this time to the sacrum) jockeying for position. Needless to say this was unnerving, but the fact that there was no real pain days later, except for stiffness and soreness, I'm just interested if others experienced something similar, if so, what other noises or creaks or movements should I expect? I don't remember ever having this issue previously.

    LJ

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,757
    Quote Originally Posted by dealornodeal
    Hello All:

    I'm now coming up to 4 months post op and a "funny" (truly NOT) thing happened to me last Saturday. I was moving from my bed headed toward the bathroom and I heard a loud "crack" in my back and my right leg gave away. I said out loudly to myself, oh that can't be good. I didn't have any real residual pain that night except that my right leg started the burning, numbness and stabbing pain that I've continued to have post surgery (also had pre surgery, but has greatly lessened) As the days progressed, I called my surgeon and on Tuesday my physical therapy day, I was only able to do the hot pad, scar manual therapy and when I tried the first knee to chest exercise, I said no way, so got an ice pack and left. I described what happened to my therapist and she said believe it or not it could be scar tissue cracking. Boy wish someone had told me about this. Well today (yesterday) I finally got into the surgeon for an xray and all is still in place and healing well. The surgeon also thought that it was probably one of the internal sutures that snapped and the muscle and hardware (this is my 3rd fusion, this time to the sacrum) jockeying for position. Needless to say this was unnerving, but the fact that there was no real pain days later, except for stiffness and soreness, I'm just interested if others experienced something similar, if so, what other noises or creaks or movements should I expect? I don't remember ever having this issue previously.

    LJ
    Deal, I'm 13 weeks post-op and have this happen almost daily. The first time was the very first time I drove (3 weeks post-op ... in the middle of the fusion) as I leaned on the seat.

    It didn't hurt when it happened. Oddly, it felt like a normal back crack, which (obviously) is NOT possible since 10 are now effectively ONE.

    It didn't hurt at all afterwards.

    I asked Hanson about the cracking in my back, and he said (in my case) it's most likely muscles, etc. dragging across the hardware. The rule of thumb to which I subscribe is "If it doesn't hurt, it's probably nothing".

    The fact you had some residual soreness makes the scar tissue theory more likely. I have other hardware (not in my back ... from softball injuries), and I can always count on mild soreness when an adhesion breaks loose.

    But, yeah - LOL ... the sound is more than a little disconcerting the first time it happens ...

    Hopefully soon, any cracking you have will just be noise - minus any pain ;-).

    Regards,
    Pam
    Last edited by txmarinemom; 05-09-2008 at 08:19 AM.
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    32
    Pam, thanks so much. You know eventhough this is my third, I never had this happen previously. Maybe it also has to do with the location now, but it sounds like it's now uncommon and I'm not alone, so that makes me feel better, hey just another thing that make us (fusion survivors) even more special.

    Hey and great to see your Marine is home on leave, that I'm sure makes the recovery even more special

    Thanks as always for the insight

    LJ

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    127

    Smile God is with u

    hello dealornodeal! no matter wut pain ur goin thro, just trust God. i will be prayin 4 u. just remember God's promise: "I WILL NEVER LEAVE U, NOR FORSAKE U." TTYL and God bless, ~*val*~
    Valerie

    Age: 18
    Hi, my name is Valerie, but you can call me Val or V.
    I wore a Boston Brace from 2007-2010
    My curves were 30 and 31
    I now have only a single curve which stands at 35 degrees.
    I owe all of my blessings to The Lord!
    I am very thankful with where my spine is at right now.
    I want to meet some new people on this forum!
    Don't be shy...
    Feel free to message me if you would like to chat!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    32

    Wink Still Crackin' and Creakin'

    Thanks Val,

    Absolutely trusting God to get me through this day by day. I just had another incident yesterday when I went back to PT. As a result of the first "crack in back" xrays showed all hardware was still in place, and doctor suggested taking a week off from PT. Well yesterday was my first day back and as I went to do my first exercise (knee to chest) I felt something pull in my lower pelvic area right at the end of my spine. My latest fusion was to the sacrum and I know that I will be feeling different pains here and there, but does anyone know when it should be a concern or when it should just be something that in time will heal. I don't want to have to call the doctor every time I get a little pain. I typically have a high tolerance for pain, but it's these nagging pops and cracks and creaks and aches that seem to be making appearances on a regular basis and I'm not sure what's a concern and what's not. Any insight would be most welcome.

    Still progressing (4 months post-op)

    LJ

    P.S. for those who remember my flower dilemma earlier, they are now coming up and my yard is looking beautiful. Just in time for my birthday! (May 19th)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,974
    Deal-- I don't know very much about this, so don't take my sharing as something real informative...

    I have popping in my back and my PT says it is most probably muscle moving over the hardware. I think somehow as it's moving, being used, it comes to a screw or whatever, meets a little resistance, then pops on over. He said if there is a deeper, burning sensation, that might indicate a nerve irritation or problem and it's time to back off from what you're doing. I'll try to ask more about it tomorrow, if I remember. I'm trying to recall what he said about a month or so ago, and my memory.... isn't always that great.

    I also have a lot of popping in my right hip when I do certain exercises. After reassessment yesterday I learned I have "wimpy" hips. (Believe me, they don't look wimpy! ) They look plenty hefty to me... but, although I've built up a lot more strength in major muscles like my quads and hams, etc. I am very weak in the hip flexors, rectus flexors, etc., and my I-T bands are way too tight. That may be what is causing the popping in my hip. (And for any of you who know all the muscle names, tendons, etc., I apologize for sounding like an idiot! I did learn the muscles back in my college days, in comparative anatomy, but that was working with a cat-- and over 35 years ago...)

    When I had my 10 month check up with my scoli doc, he said all the creaks and pops and that kind of stuff was normal.

    Glad to hear the flowers are doing so well!
    Last edited by Susie*Bee; 05-21-2008 at 12:17 PM.
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    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
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,974
    While it's still (sort of) fresh in my mind... I asked my PT today about indications of when to back off from exercises, and he says to stop if there's sharp pain, pulsing pain, or a deep burning sensation... these can be nerve problems. If it's that "burn" feeling you get from pushing your muscle a bit, that's ok, but that's a shallower burning sensation, and doesn't really feel HOT. But of course, if anything you do actually hurts, don't do it. He's very cautious with me and we don't do anything that could possibly involve twisting my spine or putting stress on the vertebrae just above and below the fusion. In other words, my back is either supported or stationary with no stress on it when I exercise.

    I also found out that the popping in my hip is "snapping hip syndrome"-- and that and my tight IT bands are just going to have to be that way, because the stretches to cure that involve twisting the back. So I'm ok, sort of.
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    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
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    United States
    Posts
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    Smile your welcome dealornodeal

    your very welcome dealornodeal. also, feel free to pm me anytime you like. ~*val*~
    Valerie

    Age: 18
    Hi, my name is Valerie, but you can call me Val or V.
    I wore a Boston Brace from 2007-2010
    My curves were 30 and 31
    I now have only a single curve which stands at 35 degrees.
    I owe all of my blessings to The Lord!
    I am very thankful with where my spine is at right now.
    I want to meet some new people on this forum!
    Don't be shy...
    Feel free to message me if you would like to chat!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    32
    Thanks all, I've taken off the past two weeks from PT and I'm supposed to go back again tomorrow, so we'll see what happens. I have also taken a CT scan in the interim to see what stage we are at regarding the fusions. I'm still wearing the Orthofix bone stimulator also, just wondering if the stimulation could be moving some of the instrumentation around also? Just a thought, but back to therapy tomorrow, so we'll see how things go.

    LJ

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    DFW area of Texas
    Posts
    72
    Hi DealorNoDeal

    I should have read down further last night and found your message. I posted a new one right before going to bed about this same subject. I had one of my P.T.'s say that it might be scar tissue, but the other one said No, scar tissue would have a sense of burning. The upper pops (or clinks as I call them) happen much more often than the clunks (which are the really strong ones that occur in the lumbar). If I am doing housework in the evenings and am already tired, then the clinks in upper back are almost constant. They don't hurt, but are uncomfortable; they're not the rather pleasant little pops I previously had that felt good and they're not quite not the pops that a chiropractor brings forth, because their pops are deeper and are sometimes uncomfortable. The pops ("clunks") in my lumbar really get my attention; I actually look around to see if anyone heard that. I gradually started bending over from the hips about a month ago. Remember those muscles that Susie*B named in this thread, the only one I consistently remember are the hip flexors and my P.T.'s have worked on them religiously for the last month. (When they started that, their fees went up to $358 per session... they failed to get some type of insurance permission and they are going to have to eat those sessions and I get more, but can't go until I see the doctor and get an Xray.) When the pops started I called the doctor's office and spoke with the P.A. and she said not to do any more therapy in the sacroiliac and that if I'm worried about it, to come in, so I'm going to.

    That just proves that for every symptom we get, that someone in the forum has already had that if we just search long enough!!!
    Diane in Dallas
    Adult Ideopatic Scoliosis (37%) and Kyphosis (65%)
    Surgery #1 8/4/03 - Dr. Shelokov, Plano
    Surg #2 12/8/03 - Dr. Shelokov, Plano
    Surg #3 1/10/05 - Dr. Shelokov, Plano
    Surg #4 9/10/07 - Dr. Viere, Dallas
    Surg #5 1/28/08 - Dr. Viere, Dallas
    Surg #6 4/27/09 - Dr. Viere, Dallas

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,793
    Quote Originally Posted by dealornodeal
    Well yesterday was my first day back and as I went to do my first exercise (knee to chest) I felt something pull in my lower pelvic area right at the end of my spine. My latest fusion was to the sacrum and I know that I will be feeling different pains here and there, but does anyone know when it should be a concern or when it should just be something that in time will heal.
    Hi Deal...

    What you're describing sounds similar to something a friend experienced. While she was still in he hospital after revision surgery, she bent over (not a good idea), felt a sharp pain and heard a loud pop. It took several months to discover that she'd fractured her sacrum. Hope that isn't what you're experiencing, but thought I'd mention it so you can get it ruled out.

    Regards,
    Linda

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