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Thread: Painless popping in mid-spine

  1. #1
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    Apr 2006
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    Painless popping in mid-spine

    Hi folks. I have a 35-degree lumbar scoliosis that has never caused me any problems that I know of, though I've had a lot of odd symptoms over the years.

    Recently I've been having a very noticeable but painless POPPING in my mid-spine (about ribcage level, I think).

    It's a smooth series of VERY FAST pops, like something is shifting in my spine. They are not loud, but I certainly FEEL them.

    It happens when I move, MANY times a day. Mostly I think it's when I'm bending or straightening and simultaneously turning a little, such as turning to remove or place something on a bookshelf (I work in a library, so I do that a LOT during the day).

    Anyone have a clue what this is? Any cause for concern? I reiterate, it is NOT painful and I don't have back pain at all.

    Thanks for any info,

    Nancy T.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    17
    Hi Nancy

    It sounds like it is just your spine being mobilised, so I would think it is a good thing, rather than anything to worry about! From what I understand, the joints tend to stiffen and get 'stuck' - and when you move in a certain way, the joints separate and cause this 'popping' sound.

    I do stretches every day and I will often get the same popping sensation - I regard that as proof that my spine is being mobilised. And I usually feel less stiff afterwards, so I think it does help.

    So my advice would be not to worry about it - but do make sure you bend from the hips so you don't pull your spine out of alignment, and you should be especially careful not to bend and twist at the same time, because this can damage your discs.

    Sounds like your job is as good as any yoga class I've been to

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
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    Nancy,

    I used to get that popping in my lower spine prior to my surgery, almost every time I stood up after sitting a while. It never hurt either, it actually kind of felt good.

    I wonder if that happens to everyone, not just scoli-spines.
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Greenfield, WI
    Posts
    414

    popping

    Hi. I used to get popping in my spine and hips very often, to the point of where others could hear. Now, I get a different kind of popping sound, which feels weird, but doesnt hurt. Is it related to Scoli? Maybe, maybe not....
    Lynn -30.... something
    DxD @ 8 yrs old: 10* curve-no brace-no nothin'!
    At age 26: Thorasic 48*/Lumbar 50*
    At age 34: Thorasic 58*/Lumbar 60*
    Posterior T5-L4 Fusion Jan 14th, 2009 w/Dr Tribus
    UW Madison, WI Hospital
    **AFTER: less than 10* Thorasic/15* Lumbar**

  5. #5
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    Apr 2006
    Location
    Oregon
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    Hi everybody! Thank you so much for the responses. It sounds like it's a pretty common thing, not necessarily anything to worry about.

    I just hadn't ever noticed this before--it seems like the popping suddenly became really noticeable and frequent. Hope it doesn't lead to arthritis or something.

    I have no idea whether it has anything to do with my scoliosis. I saw a spine doctor in 2006 just to get a "read" on my back, since I hadn't seen an orthopedist since age 14 (I'm now 51), and he said I could come back in a year to make sure the curve wasn't progressing, but I never did--it didn't seem necessary.

    Thank you and best wishes to everyone! (Rods, surgery--wow, I'm lucky...)

    Nancy T.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2005
    Location
    Gold Coast Australia
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    Sorry to hijack your thread Nancy, but while I don't have popping I do have very loud grinding/creaking/crunching in my lumbar spine (I think).
    I have DDD and a moderate thoracolumbar scoli. In the last 2 1/2 years Ive had 2 surgeries consisting of a disc replacement, Dynesys stabilisation and 2 fusion over 3 levels. My "noise" has been very noticeable in the 8 months since my last surgery and seems to correspond to the degree of pain Im having at the time. Most times now I feel like my lumbar is being squeezed in a vice. X rays aren't showing anything unusual.
    Any clues anyone?

  7. #7
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    Wow, Cathy, that sounds horrendous!! What does your doctor say about the noise and the crunching?

    I hope you can find some relief soon for it.

    Best of luck,
    Nancy T.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2005
    Location
    Gold Coast Australia
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    Nancy, while not quite horrendous, it is disconcerting to say the least!
    And typically, it tends to be very noticeable as the day/evening wears on. I mentioned it to my surgeon at my 6 month checkup in Nov....my appts are always morning as he has surgery 3 afternoons a week...and of course I couldn't "do" the noise while I was there. He half joking told me to make a dash into his office one day when it's happening so he can hear it.
    It's possibly a ligament catching or sacroliliac issue I think.
    I have my 9 month post-op visit next Fri/13th and a CT on Wed so I'll definitely be mentioning it again.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2006
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    Oregon
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    Hi everyone. I saw the spine doctor (orthopedist) again in early June for my 3-year followup (I was supposed to see him after one year but didn't). This was just to make sure my curve (35 degrees) wasn't progressing.

    It didn't progress. He measured it at 38 degrees this time, but he said this was within the range of measurement variation.

    He said the popping is nothing to worry about. They don't know what causes it--the theory is release of gases--but he's not sure.

    Nancy

  10. #10
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    Apr 2009
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    sounds like he's saying it's the same as when you "crack" your knuckles, so just joints moving & releasing "gases" then.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy T View Post
    Hi everyone. I saw the spine doctor (orthopedist) again in early June for my 3-year followup (I was supposed to see him after one year but didn't). This was just to make sure my curve (35 degrees) wasn't progressing.

    It didn't progress. He measured it at 38 degrees this time, but he said this was within the range of measurement variation.

    He said the popping is nothing to worry about. They don't know what causes it--the theory is release of gases--but he's not sure.

    Nancy
    There could be a difference between popping in someone who hasn't had surgery, and one who has. And, I think "grinding/creaking/crunching" is definitely something different.

  12. #12
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    Jul 2008
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    408
    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    There could be a difference between popping in someone who hasn't had surgery, and one who has. And, I think "grinding/creaking/crunching" is definitely something different.
    Yes, grinding/creaking/crunching is not the good stuff. You don't want that. Trust me.
    Surgeries July 26th & August 3rd 1983 (12 years old)
    Still have 57 degree curve
    2 Harrington rods
    Luque method used
    Dr David Bradford
    Twin Cities Scoliosis Center
    Preop xray (with brace on)
    Postop xray

  13. #13
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    Apr 2006
    Location
    Oregon
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    Hi everyone. Yes, I certainly didn't mean to put my painless popping in the same class as Cathy's "grinding/creaking/crunching"! Those are no doubt two different animals.

    Nancy

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