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Pain near shoulder blade

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  • Pain near shoulder blade

    I have two titanium rods from a surgery in 2006. My curve was over 60 in the thoracic area and a slight curve in the lumbar. I haven't had much pain or problems IN THE PAST besides general soreness and unable to sit in one place for a long time. However, this past year, apparently my lumbar (where there is not rods) has started to curve a lot more. The doc wants to do surgery to take out old rods and put in longer rods to fix it. I really don't want to do another surgery, because i'm currently getting my masters, and like most people, i don't want to spend the money or interrupt my life. The general pain isn't AWFUL but i am very uncomfortable, ue a heating pad every night, car rides suck, sitting for a long time sucks, but i feel like that is normal for scoliosis. But, since my curve has worsened, so has my rib hump, and i have been in a LOT more discomfort this past year. And now is my biggest problem which has led me to post on this.

    Well, in the past month, between my spine and my right shoulder blade (right at the top of my rod), there is PAIN. At first, it was just sore, like i pulled a muscle. Then it turned into dull pain, and now its more of a BURNING and SHARP pain. It gets worse when I pick things up o more my arms behind me or reach for things. It hurts even when sitting or laying down. It almost feels as if something is caught or hung up under my shoulder blade. It hurts/feels kinda good when i massage it, so I am thinking its muscular but it has not gotten better in a MONTH and i have tried icy hot, pain pills, and heating pads. It has actually gotten WORSE. What could this be from? I do have a rib hump, so I assume it could be from posture but why have I never had this before, and why is it getting WORSE? it is like a sharp burning pain right at the top of my rod. I am so miserable but don't want to waste the money going to a doctor who will prescribe pain pills and say good luck. What are my options? Is their some time of shot or cream I could use? Or any type of therapy? I am just so frustrated because nothing helps and even sitting and laying i feel this sharp sensation like something is caught in my muscle. Sometimes breathing deeply makes it worse too. This pain doesn't mean there is something wrong with my rod does there?? I am very nervous! Please let me know if anyone has experienced anything similar to this or has any advice for this pain issue. What does a rod break feel like or is it possible for a screw to come loose or a rod to move/ become dislodged? The top of the rod just DOES NOT feel ok.

    Also if anyone has any advice on if they have done a second surgery, or if anyone does exercises or certain treatment to deal with the pain in general, i would love to know.

    I attached pics of before and after surgery, and the other picture is of my spine 3 years ago (so 6-7 years post surgery, you can see my lower back has started to curve some)
    Attached Files

  • #2
    I feel the same; Most will agree with me!!

    The great knowledge I have gained since my operation in 2012 (2 years) is that your orthopedic surgeon sees you, contemplate your xrays, and judges the progress. He is nothing but a technician concerned about his work. I was so happy to have been cared by a very top notch surgeon where I flew miles to see and did get an excellent correction. Have seen him several times after always having xrays taken and he walks in to check the xrays.

    After he pronounces that the job was stable, everything is as he hoped is going normal, no deviation etc. he and his entourage walks out the door. Of course, I had signed up for the study he is holding in exchange of some money ($25) so far but for the benefit of others in the future and have to fill pages of questions not relevant to me so I have to be measured even for physical therapy ability.

    My concerns my pains and winning are really reduced to nothing to complain about. I go home each time without seriously addressed my problems.

    My surgeon did his job and no one is there to take over the pain left by the healing and adjustment of the bones, tissues, muscles and what not. Mentally, we go thru hell and back. I was in pain before the surgery then in fear of doing nothing about it. My lower curve is well supported and was told that the upper one would not continue to curve.

    After been with no pain for over a year, my back started changing. The incission kept growing deeper into the body leaving a canal in the middle of the back. No one could explain not even my general internist who does not care about my back but my insides.

    I have had pains well over 6 months in both sides of my back. Not sharp but at times it feels like muscle ripping or elastic band stretched to the max, the muscle surface feels like 2 pieces of super hardened frozen meat but not to the touch, of course. So nobody could emphatize.

    I came back to ST Louis for a 2 yr check up and was hit with this reality. All the expense for flying back is not going to help me but the surgeon's studies in this field. So, I went to check my bad right shoulder and to my surprise and shock, the arthritis was much more severe than 2 years ago. Under duress I had to stay and do a replacement. That went well surgically i.e. another plumbing success. But, I hope that all pain will go away. I am 3 weeks post op and doing well but now my right hip hurts when climbing stairs.

    I am done with surgeries. I am 64 with another 10-20 years to live? Let it be in a wheelchair if it has to because I still cannot walk long distances, not sit comfortably etc. Everyone arounds me says: you need to exercise more.

    My heart to you my younger friend. Find someone who could help you.


    Baja California, Mexico & El Centro, Ca
    pre-surgery 75 and 89 - post ?
    Dr. Bridwell Nov 27, 2012 @Barnes Jewish @62yrs
    T11 to Sacrum Dural leak at L2 & L3


    • #3
      I am so very sorry for your pain. I did have a burning pain at the top of my rod, too. I had all the metal removed 20 years ago and that did get rid of the burning pain in that spot, although not the achy bone pain caused from having my spine fused. But, your case is different as you are now curving at the bottom, and I guess your surgeon is saying you need a new fusion? Perhaps you could have your thoracic hardware removed at the same time as you are having the new lumbar hardware put in. At least that might get rid of that one burning pain. I'm so sorry and my heart really goes out to you.
      1st surgery: Fused T1-L3 in 1987 with contoured Harrington Rods. Rods broke at top.
      2nd surgery: Re-done two weeks later; fused C7-L3. Left in chronic pain.
      3rd surgery: Hardware removal 1997, but still pain for 30 years.
      4th Surgery: Fused to the sacrum in 2016. Came out of surgery with left foot paralysis. (Drop Foot) Can't walk on my own.
      I'm blessed to have found my peace and reason to live not from a husband or kids (I have none) but from God and within myself.


      • #4
        I too feel the same pain in the shoulder blade area. They say it will eventually go away. Good luck to you!

        Diagnosed at age 12 with a double major curve

        Braced till age 15

        SSBOB T12-L2 Anterior age 34. (October 22,2012) Dr. Robert Gaines Jr. ( Columbia, MO)

        Revision Surgery T2-Sacrum with Pelvic Fixation Prosterior age 35 (November 13,2013) Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, MO)

        Revision Surgery L4/L5 due to BMP Complication age 36 (November 20,2014) Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, Mo)

        Revision Surgery due to broken rod scheduled for October 19, 2016 with Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, MO)


        • #5
          Shoulder and Neck Pain

          Here is my experience with cracking sounds in my neck. (FYI, I had surgery for scoliosis in 1964 when I was 15 years old. I had two Herrington rods attached and nine vertebrata fused.) Within the last few years I noticed how tight my shoulder and neck muscles get and that when I moved my neck how I heard cracking sounds. Also, pain in the neck and shoulder area has been getting progressively worse in the last few months. About three months ago I started going to a massage therapist who advertises his specialty as pain management. He has mainly worked on my back, shoulder, and neck muscles and the muscle tightness, pain, and popping has almost disappeared. Also, I was getting head aches and ear aches that I've had for years and they have almost totally disappeared too.