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Thread: Rib hump worse, rod pushing through skin, more pain...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Rib hump worse, rod pushing through skin, more pain...

    I posted before about ongoing problems I'm having. I have a broken Harrington rod which is visible through my skin. I was fused from T3 - L2 in 1967 and again in 1970, ages 12 and 15.

    My current curve progressed over the years to 68 degrees thoracic from 55 degrees when I first had my surgeries. Several months ago I went back for physical therapy due to increased problems with pain, and with shoulder and herniated neck disks. THe therapy was ok and I felt well enough by March to resume my full activities and exercise program. In March I decided it was *safe* to go on a short trip to Delaware and Maryland the end of April, which I had planned for for some time. However, I made the mistake of using binoculars that were too heavy for my back. I took precautions by using a shoulder harness which is supposed to protect your back, neck and shoulders. But even with the harness I suffered a terrible setback. I suddenly developed spasms of pain during my trip. I had to call my internist where I live who called in an emergency rx for flexeril to the local pharmacy in Delaware. So much for taking chances - when you feel well you believe you will always feel well!

    Since the Delaware trip my rib hump is more prominant near my neck, and my scapula sticks out more near the top of the rod, which is pushing through my skin. My torso is rotated. At least, I think I look worse. My overall condition usually improves when I do daily walking and my theraband strengthening exercises. Right now though, the exercises don't seem to help, so I stopped temporarily. I can't lift without my back going out. On the positive side the flexeril made the pain bearable so I was able to enjoy my trip, at least. But now...two months later I am very unhappy with the way I look and feel and keeping active is difficult. Does anyone have suggestions on what I can do? I think I should have the part of the rod that sticks out removed, but I don't know if that will solve my problems. I've been through p/t numerous times and I think with such a large rib hump on the right side of my back and the left side caved in there is only so much a physical therapist can do. I am so tired of all this, going for p/t, feeling better followed by a setback, more p/t, more setbacks. It's a vicious cycle and I hate all the stress. I appreciate all the help from members of the board.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern California

    There's no way of knowing if removing your rod will reduce your pain (it likely won't), but if it's really pushing on tissue, you're probably going to have to have it removed eventually, as it may come through the skin. My only recommendation would be to find a specialist who has a lot of experience in treating patients with prior fusions.

    Good luck.

    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

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