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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    311

    upper back pain - won't go away

    Hi all,

    I thought that I might have some loose hardware because of my upper back pain, but the CT scan didn't show that. I'm wondering if anyone else has had similar symptoms to mine and has found out what was wrong. I have a fusion from L3-T4 and seem to have some sharp pain around T7 or T8, but my whole upper back between my shoulder blades just hurts really badly. It mostly hurts whenever I extend my arms to do something, such as reaching in the fridge, opening a door, switching laundry, putting up my hair, etc. Sometimes it feels like my muscles are ripping.

    I should say I had a baby 3 months ago and I know the lifting and demands on my body probably have a lot to do with it. I'm going to try lidocaine patches as well.

    I haven't had an MRI, but am worried that it might be something to do with a disc, nerve?? Is it possible for damaged nerves in my upper back to regenerate after 2 1/2 years post-op?

    Any clues or advice will be greatly appreciated!
    Best wishes for a Happy New Year my fellow scolis,
    Anya
    "You must be the change you want to see in the world."

    Previously 55 degree thoracolumbar curve
    Surgery June 5, 2007 - Dr. Clifford Tribus, University of Wisconsin Hospital
    19 degrees post-op!

    http://abhbarry.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    360
    Hi,

    I've had horrible pain to the left of my right shoulder blade for 9 years. I saw an orthopedic surgeon that my spine surgeon had recommended and he said I had scapular tendonitis. He gave me a cortisone shot and the pain was gone within a few hours. I'm currently in physical therapy for it and it has helped a lot. It could be something like this for you. I also had that feeling that my muscles were being ripped. Is that area sore to the touch and swollen?

    I hope you are feeling better soon.

    Shell
    Chemist, 30

    1998- 18 degrees
    2003- 33 degrees
    2005- 37 degrees
    2006- 44 degrees
    May 2007- 47 degrees
    December 2007 - 50 degrees X-ray

    Surgery May 27, 2008
    Fused T1 to L2
    Curve corrected to 15 degrees X-ray

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,793
    Hi...

    I'm also fused T4-L3, and have had left sided scapular pain since my surgery 16+ years ago. It was almost constant for the first 3-4 years post-op, and then became more infrequent, but has never completely disappeared. I also have more generalized pain across my entire upper back from time-to-time. I had no upper back pain prior to my surgery.

    Shell, I'd love to know the specific location of the steroid injection that worked.

    Regards,
    Linda

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    311
    Linda,
    What do you do for the pain? I'm starting Lidocaine patches tomorrow, but am not thrilled about it, especially since I'm nursing. Shell - yes, I would like to hear more about the steroid shots- how frequently do you get them and what is the location that worked? How did they diagnose it?

    The pain is on both sides of my spine, but also seems to be stemming from the spine around T7/T8 - I can feel my muscles hurt every time I move my arms. . . hmm. Searching for answers. I'm going to PT, acupuncture, and massage therapy next week.

    Thanks,
    Anya
    "You must be the change you want to see in the world."

    Previously 55 degree thoracolumbar curve
    Surgery June 5, 2007 - Dr. Clifford Tribus, University of Wisconsin Hospital
    19 degrees post-op!

    http://abhbarry.blogspot.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    311
    Shell,
    I forgot to mention that yes, the whole area of my upper back is very sore to the touch. It has been since surgery though.
    "You must be the change you want to see in the world."

    Previously 55 degree thoracolumbar curve
    Surgery June 5, 2007 - Dr. Clifford Tribus, University of Wisconsin Hospital
    19 degrees post-op!

    http://abhbarry.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    101
    Hi Anya,

    I had my surgery (T5 to L2) nearly 20 years ago now, and I remember having quite a bit of upper back pain at different points, everything from general achiness to an intense pin pricking feeling every once in a while (usually if I put on a heavy backpack). I always chalked it up to the fact that I kept trying new things that used new muscles (like playing field hockey, Ultimate frisbee and backpacking through Europe). Lifting a new baby would definitely put stress on muscles you may not have used before and/or right after surgery. Most of my problems went away as the years went by.

    I did have a big problem with my upper back a few years ago - muscle pain like you describe in my upper thoracic area. I went to a physiotherapist for it and the exercises she gave me were moderately helpful. More helpful though, was getting a mattress pad and a better pillow (I experimented with different thicknesses and finally found one that worked) and also finding a better position for my computer keyboard.

    I'd just keep experimenting with different changes, if I were you, now that you know it's not loose hardware. Also, keep in mind that muscles start to atrophy while you're recovering from surgery and you may need to find ways to build them up again to deal with the demands of the new baby.

    Hope you find the solution to this pain!
    - 39 years old
    - At age 14, curve progressed from 45 degrees to 62 degrees in two months.
    - Surgery in 1990 at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) with Dr. Letts. Fused T5 to L2. Corrected to about 30 degrees.
    - Harrington rod
    - Herniated disc - L5/S1 - January 2008. Summer 2009 - close to making a full recovery.
    - New mommy as of February 2011
    - Second child - September 2013
    - Staying relatively painfree through physio exercises!

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