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Fusion 2 years ago, pain under left shoulder blade

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Scoliosis
I underwent a spinal fusion 2 years ago for scoliosis. I healed up quickly and was back to school in 2 weeks. The next 2 years I had little/no pain, just a little stiffness. I felt that I had made the best decision ever.

NOW, 2 years later, I have a horrible stabbing pain under my left shoulder blade. My GP gave me muscle relaxants, and told me I was having muscle spams, but all they do is zonk me out. I think seeing my GP about my back is kind of pointless, all he can do is give me pills, but he's the most accessible.

From reading some of these posts I see that pain under the shoulder blade is quite common??
I had my surgery at Vancouver general hospital which is 8 hours away, and I can't get up and go there to see my surgeron every time something goes wrong... but is it important that I see him?

I do think it's the rods because it constatly feels like something is poking me underneath my skin.

Is rod removal common?? Does it help the pain?? Does your back need any kind of support after the rods are removed or are people generally okay? To me it seems like without support it might go back to how it used to be.



  • I just hate this. I feel like I hurt way more than I did before I had the surgery, but at the time it seemed like SUCH a good diea.
    I've been crying for the last 3 days because it hurts so bad. I don't get why it had to happen to me. Im taking hyrdromorphone and muscle relaxers, but none of it seems like its doing anything.

    I can't even take a deep breath in, or cough without hurting myself.

    I know most of you are going throug the same thing so maybe you can offer some insight.
  • Hey Stephanie -

    I had spinal fusion to correct a compression fracture in C6 and C7... I didn't have any choice about my surgery so I can't wonder if it was the right choice or not but I undertand how much it sucks having pain after! I had a speedy recovery and because I'm young and active my surgeon didn't even think I needed PT, but 2 years after I'm still feeling sharp pains under my shoulder blades, throughout the shoulder, and mid-back.

    The best thing I have done to strengthen my back and muscles has been water aerobics. Its not a cure and I'm not sure if it'll help your pain but if its your muscles that are hurting - but improving my upper body strength has helped me.

    For me the worst part of the recovery is not having anyone my age understand this type of pain or being able to find information about spinal fusion in your early twenties. I'm just usually frustrated because there are no concrete facts about long-term pain... Its hard to know what to expect for the rest of my life and how to know when your symptoms are normal.

    I can't offer medical help or even tell you if taking out your rods would be an option because I have to have mine for the rest of my life. Good luck with your back pain - I hope you find the answers you are looking for!

    Spinal Fusion Winter 07
  • Maybe your Dr. can order an MRI? Have you tried amitriptyline or Lyrica or Cymbalta for nerve pain. Your PCP needs to refer you to a pain management Dr. to figure out where the pain's coming from. Also you need sufficient medication and hope you review your meds with your Dr. or Pain management Dr. Don't forget ice and heat(hot water bottle) is good but heating pad is okay also. Take care and I hope something will help with your pain. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hey Stephanie welcome,
    I find it hard it to come on here most days because im so busy in college now but when i saw your post i had to reply.I had scoliosis about two years ago myself,would of been around your age (im 21 now).I had a bad case of it,cant recall what degrees i was but it was bad enough,played alot of sports and wasnt even that noticeable to be honest with my clothes on.

    I had two surgeries to correct it and had minor surgery last year cus one of the rods was poking out at my lumbar region.Now im straight as an arrow and moving well. I also too get pain round my shoulder blade areas a bit often...its like a sharp stab like pain yeah?

    I feel that the pain gets worse if i hunch over a desk or dont watch my posture.The pain is kinda like a warning to watch my posture as the rods would be put under a little pressure.Best thing you can do is get as comfortable as possible even when sitting,put your shoulder blades and lumbar region right back in the seat and when you can do some stretching around the shoulder blade and neck area. Try stretch back your shoulder blades as far back as possible,should help a bit.Even also i found helpful when i had severe back pain from scoliosis was taking baths.

    Now about getting out the rods...since your were about 50 degrees i wouldnt suggest getting out the rods...not just yet anyway. If you take out the rods too soon you might cause more damage to your spine as the rods need time to strengthen your spines new alignment especially if your still growing.If the pain consists and is very bad i suggest you speak to a local spine surgeon specialist...wouldnt hurt to get an xray and make sure everything is still ok.

    I hope what i said helps you..if you have any further questions ask away cus i know its hard to find people with past scoliosis stories in here.Everyone on this site though are down to earth and very supportive so your in good hands :)
  • Hi

    I was 16 when I had my surgery and was 64degrees curved by then. I wasn't in my pain before, more unconfortable and it was quite noticable by the time I had my op.

    I do get pain now however, I get that exact stabbing pain underneath my shoulder blades. It makes me feel better knowing its not just me. I did go back and see my surgeon once a couple of years ago because I was getting muscle spasms a lot but he said exactly what your doctor has told you - you need to work on your core muscles, improve your upper body strenght but also give it time, its only been 2 years for you.

    If I had a choice again I would still have the surgery, its not been easy but I know I am better off for having it. The pain medication will help in the short-term but remember that muscle relaxers aren't good for you in the long-term (stomach problems etc).

    Pilates is good for your core muscles. I don't get muscle spasms that much anymore, just the odd twinge under my shoulder blades, I do get lower back pain but that could be sitting at a computer all day at work!

    Hope this helps!
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