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Heavy back feeling post revision

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  • Heavy back feeling post revision

    I have not posted here in ages! My “back story” is all in an older thread and I thought I’d start a new thread for this topic.
    I decided to go ahead and have revision surgery as I had worsening sciatic pain, rapidly increasing deformity, increasing flatback syndrome causing me to pitch forward, and a “deadline” on how long my bone density would be adequate to undergo surgery.

    After long and hard consideration, I decided to go with Dr. Lehman at Columbia/NYP. He was very impressive and I was very comfortable with him.

    I had the surgery in November, 2021 at The Spine Hospital in NYC. This was in two stages, OLIF L4/5 with a vascular surgeon and posterior T3 – Pelvis two days later. I wasn’t thrilled about the long construct but he explained that he had to get up to T3 to correct the flatback, as given my age and bone density, he wanted this to be a “one and done” remedy.

    Basically everything went really well. No more sciatic pain, right rib and hip are no longer touching, I’m no longer leaning forward, and two inches of height were regained so I now stand at a towering (HaHa) 5’0.” Dr. Lehman sent me to a former Wash U colleague at Mayo here in Phoenix for interval follow-up appointments and x-rays. I had my one year follow up in NYC in late October and everything is in place and looks good – at least on paper.

    However, I have a huge problem that nobody can seem to figure out. I feel like I am wearing a gigantic heavy backpack at all times. It’s quite uncomfortable and when I walk I feel like I’m being pulled backward by my hardware with every step even as I try to propel myself forward. The feeling is constant such that I never feel “normal.” It’s not pain, it’s a strong sensation of heaviness and backward pull. I have been going to PT almost since being released from the hospital and have many exercises that I still do but they don’t help with this, nor does walking about 2 miles daily, every day, no matter what.

    Dr. Lehman didn’t have an explanation at my follow-up appointment, other than to say that I was possibly used to being pitched forward for so long that now that I’m standing straight it feels like I’m being pulled backward. His nurse did put me in touch with the head of PT for scoli surgery at Columbia who walked me through a bunch of exercises over the phone, but nothing is making a difference. I’ve had about 10 treatments from a myofascial release therapist who is very good and who “gets” scoliosis surgery, but it hasn’t helped. I have seen a few other posts about this problem on this forum, but they are old posts and nobody has reported back on what happened to them. Since I’m a tiny woman, sometimes I wonder if the hardware is too big for me, but it’s hard to imagine an experienced surgeon not customizing the hardware size to the patient, and I know they work on kids who are way smaller than me. I’ve been hesitant to ask that question as it sounds confrontational.

    Does anyone have any ideas?

    Attached Files

  • #2
    Hi Irene, I have also had multiple revisions. When the surgeon did the last one, he warned me I could feel like I would be feeling like I would be falling backwards. At times I do feel that. I also have a problem choosing the shoes that are best.
    It may settle down in time.
    T10-pelvis fusion 12/08
    C5,6,7 fusion 9/10
    T2--T10 fusion 2/11
    C 4-5 fusion 11/14
    Right scapulectomy 6/15
    Right pectoralis major muscle transfer to scapula
    To replace the action of Serratus Anterior muscle 3/16
    Broken neck 9/28/2018
    Emergency surgery posterior fusion C4- T3
    Repeated 11/2018 because rods pulled apart added T2 fusion
    Removal of partial right thoracic hardware 1/2020
    Removal and replacement of C4-T10 hardware with C7 and T 1