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29 years past surgery with rod in place

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  • 29 years past surgery with rod in place

    Hello. I am glad to find this forum, particularly since it seems more active than another forum I just stumbled on. I just posted to another thread and am hoping to find others with similar symptoms and experiences as mine.
    At the age of 12 I noticed my back was hunching over on one side. Within a couple months of discovering this I was preparing for surgery to correct a hemivertebrate in my thoracic spine. The fusion was performed and a harrington rod was inserted. That rod is still in place. I am trying to find others with rods in place or removed and what type of symptoms they have.
    I have done well over the years, even spent two years in the Peace Corps in Southern Africa. For most of my young adult life the most discomfort I had was from leaning back on a metal chair and feeling the rod. I was always active walking, stretching and strenght training but always avoided contact sports or any sport that I felt could compromise the fusion and rod placement.
    As I age the symptoms have increased. Thankfully, I was able to carry 4 pregnancies with minimal discomfort. If anything, pregnancy was when I had the least amount of muscle spasms. Three of the deliveries were completely natural as I did not want an epidural and had a doula coaching me through the deliveries. She was on hand in the event of back labor. The last pregnancy was breech and a c-section was needed. I did not opt for an epidural block but went for general. Post pregnancy was harder on my back, carrying infant seats and holding the babies for long amounts of time took its toll.
    I can manage for the most part with strength training exercises, stretching and some pain medications. I do not take part in any sports and after 4 pregnancies am not as slim as I once was. I am thankful that I was able to have the spine straightened though now I deal daily with discomfort. I have arthritis in my neck and lower back. The muslce spasms on my right side can be extreme at times. My lower back is generally sore. I also have an inflamed muscle in my right shoulder and an inflamed muscle in my left hip.
    My scar still impresses the medical community and I still spend the summer hiding it! The scoliosis is not always apparent as the fusion corrected it well. I do not remember the exact degrees but I went from a 54 or so degree curve to about a 20 degree curve if I am remembering correctly. The surgery was performed at Columbia Presbyterian by Dr. Hugo Keim. I no longer live in the metropolitan NY area but am in Southeast massachusetts. I have 4 children, a great husband and two dogs that keep me busy.

  • #2
    I had my surgery 32 years ago. I carried 2 babies full term and both were about 9 pounds! My problems started around 5 years ago. My fusion had continued growing on its own and I had to have part of that removed (they also removed the bottom of my rod). I have severe arthritis in my spine plus 3 discs that are almost shot (1 below my fusion and 2 above). It would probably be a good idea to find a doctor that deals with adult scoliosis and get your back checked. I just had 5 facet nerve joints cut to be relieved of some of my pain in the thorasic area. The area above my fusion took a lot of wear and tear from compesating for the rest of my back. I started swimming just before Christmas at a therapy pool where the water is kept around 90 degrees. It is helping to strenghten the muscles and the warm water feels good when I am sore.
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004


    • #3
      Pain and pregnancy


      You said something that I thought was interesting, that is, you had less pain when pregnant.

      I always thought the same thing--at least thru the second trimester. I often wondered if it was because that the pregnancy suppresses some cells of the immune system that contribute to inflammation of the joints. Its just speculation. I wonder if anyone knows.



      • #4
        thank you

        thanks for the replies. It is good to know others are out there who understand the daily symptoms. I do see a physicians assistance at an orthopaedics office regularly. The physician she works under did mention removing the rods at one point. PT had helped quite a bit so the discussion was not revisited. My 4 children were very young so the thought of my going in for surgery was a bit frightening. At present I am wondering why the discomfort around the rod itself is increasing. They exray and check for breaks in the fusion. At present everything remains solid. The idea that maybe I should go to a different doctor has crossed my mind.

        Someone once mentioned it was probably the hormones of pregnancy that relax the muscle spasms. I can't remember who mentioned that to me.


        • #5
          When I was pregnant two years ago I felt wonderful. Actually, that was the best my back has ever felt. A doc that I work with explained it this way: He said that during pregnancy your body is working with different hormones than usual and that some of these hormones are steroids. Hence, the good feeling in your joints and muscles. Too bad we can't bottle that good feeling!


          • #6
            side effects

            I think I would like the side effects better if we could bottle those steroid hormones!
            Not sleepy, no pain, glowing skin!