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Thread: Rib to back pain making it hard to breathe?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Springfield Missouri
    Posts
    9

    Rib to back pain making it hard to breathe?

    hello-
    I had a posterior spinal fusion on June 4th 2009. I am at 6 months post op. I had rib pain for about 4 months after surgery and it quit. But, about a month ago the rib pain has came back on my left side and shooting through to my back on the that same side, making it hard to breathe. Has anyone had that going since they had their surgery. I have my next appointment on Dec 7th.

    Thank you,
    Lindsey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    I wonder if it's your intercostal muscles? I had intermittent intercostal muscle pain for about a month post-op. I haven't had it now for about 6 - 7 months. I'd forgotten all about it.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Springfield Missouri
    Posts
    9
    I had a little chest pain after surgery for a couple months and it went away. Now just in the pass three weeks this has started. It is a stabbing, hurting, pain in my left rib cage. It hurts all the time but worse time is laying down. It's keeping me awake and sometimes the pain gets so sharp I have trouble breathing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    Hi Lindsey. Your appt. is still a week away. Can you see your primary care physician (GP in Australia) and find out what he/she thinks? It sounds very unpleasant. Hope you are feeling much better soon.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,291

    Lightbulb Healing process

    This type of pain is common many months post-op as the nerves/muscles "wake-up".

    New movements and increased activity cause all sorts of new pains, jabs, and other feelings which can drive you nuts if you let it. It is all part of the healing process.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    I agree, those intercostal muscle pains can be killer. I still have problems with them from time to time, only on my left side. For me, tylenol does help this pain.
    __________________________________________
    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    129
    I experienced similar pain to what you all are describing when I was six weeks post-op. (I am now eight months post surgery). The pain was absolutely unbearable! It felt like shooting, stabbing pains in my side, and whenever I lied down, breathing became very difficult (both due to intense pain and shortness of breath). In fact, at the worst of it, I nearly collapsed after walking up half a flight of stairs! At first, my pain was misdiagnosed as severe muscle spasms, nerve regeneration, etc., but finally, after the pain continued to get worse and worse, a CT scan revealed that I had a very large pleural effusion. Basically, a pleural effusion is an abnormal, unsafe amount of fluid between the layers of the membrane that lines the lungs and chest cavity. The extreme amount of fluid collection in my left lung cavity was causing intense pressure in my chest (resulting in shortness of breath) and severe inflammation (my misdiagnosed "muscle spasms" near my ribs). I ended up being readmitted for a week and had a procedure called a thoracentesis, in which doctors used an ultrasound to guide a hollow needle into a specific area between my ribs, and then suctioned out 1,300 mL (two lbs worth!!!) of fluid. By the next morning, though..... all the fluid was back.... so a chest tube was then inserted. The tube stayed in for four days, and b/c the fluid was able to drain gradually, they were able to get ALL the fluid out that time around.
    Long story short, I'm not sure if this is what you have going on, but I think it'd be worth it to get it checked out! Because I waited so long, I STILL experience painful scar tissue build-up...

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