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Pain in Thoracic after L5/S1 Fusion 1 yr ago

MingMMing Posts: 1,127
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Chronic Pain
I was wondering if anyone else experienced pain in the thoracic area (between my shoulder blades and a little bit under) of my spine after having an ALIF L5/S1 over 1 yr ago?

I didn't have this pain before the surgery. It seems to be getting worse instead of better and is right on my spine. I don't know if this is normal because now the levels above the fusion are taking on more.

I was just curious if any of you are experiencing this. Just what I need, 1 more thing to cause me pain ~X(


  • sorry youre having even more pain problems. youve certainly had enough!!!
    you probably know that thoracic problems are rare. normaly our lumbar and neck go first. however when we experience trouble in one area other areas of the spine get more strain. when i was using crutches for my legs the neck and back took a beating. where you dont have numbness and tingling chances are its muscular. are you still doing water therapy? is that straining muscles? doesnt sound too serious but if it doesnt go away tell your dr and maybe he'll get mri. hang in there...i know youve got a lot to deal with
  • Thanks for the advice Pete. I've been waiting for it to go away for months. I haven't brought it up cuz I feel like a constant complainer.

    I was supposed to go to new PT evaluation and start up the water therapy cuz I stopped a month ago due to a flare up and then needed a new script. I slept thru my appt and feel like crap for doing it. I didn't even call them cuz I was embarrassed. I was up until 4am because of the pain, i just couldn't get comfortable.

    I have been over doing it as usual. It's almost impossible not to with my busy life. I'm hoping it's just my spine trying to get used to the added stress on the other discs and will get better with time.
  • Long time no hear. I'm so sorry you are still in so much pain. I will continue to keep you in my prayers.

    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • Thanks Evelyn for keeping me in your prayers. I really missed everyone and the support I got when I wasn't able to get on here for so long. It was only a couple of months but felt like a lifetime to me lol.

    How are you doing?
  • Thanks Evelyn for keeping me in your prayers. I really missed everyone and the support I got when I wasn't able to get on here for so long. It was only a couple of months but felt like a lifetime to me lol.

    How are you doing?
  • I think I know exactly what's wrong (assuming that you do not have a herniated disc in that area!). I've told you about Doug, my "rearranger/acupuncturist" in the past....we were just talking about this problem last week.

    It ia a muscle imbalance that is caused as a result of the lower lumbar fusion and is just a matter of kind of retraining those muscles. I will check with him next time to get the full explanation for you...but don't worry. I'm willing to bet it is the same thing I have and it is not a structural deficit caused by fusion.

    Soft tissue can get really screwed oup from fusion -- it gets tight from trying to compensate and if you are not very careful about using really good posture, it causes a torque in that part of the back between the shoulders.

    Be very careful that you are not carrying your head over your body when you walk and move...do not lead with the chin, so to speak. Spend some time lying on the floor, flat on your back with your knees bent, arms out to the sides close the the body, palms facing up. This gives the soft tissue and muscles a chance to relax back into position and the discs a chance to unload. I've been known to drop down on the kitchen floor to do this when my back starts to ache while cooking. The dogs think it is a very fun game!

    Gotta run -- we're heading for the car ferry and my family is waiting for me!!

    Take care. Talk to you when I get back.

    xx Gwennie
  • I've not had any surgeries so I can't address your specific question, but I can say that one will compensate for an injury (or surgery, or whatever) by using other non-affected muscles to compensate for the decreased function in the injured area. I wonder if that may be what's happening.

    I hope you find some resolution, there's nothing like adding a little insult to injury, so to speak!
    Spiney hugs :hug:
  • As always, you are a wealth of info when it comes to the spine. I know exactly what you mean. I feel as you said loaded and it just feels like someone is sitting on my shoulders. I have to lay down on my back just as you stated to get some releif. I'm sure if I lost the weight I gained from the back pain meds and inability to exercise as I once did, I would feel so much better.

    Have a great time with your family and try not to over do it.
  • Thanks for the spiney hug and the great advice. I agree with you that one area may compensate for the other and I'm hoping that's all this is.

    The only thing that concerns me is that is write on my spine (vertabrae and/or disc). I had an MRI done a couple of months ago but it was only the lumbar and didn't show any of the thoracic area even after telling the surgeon this. I meet with him in Sept for follow up and xray so I will mention to him then if it's still bothering me.
  • That sounds like a good plan, your doc may order up another MRI just to make sure there isn't something else is going on.

    Hope you're able to figure it out!
  • I'm still having this pain in my lower thoracic, upper lumbar and I'm getting that crunching noise in that spot in addition to the fusion area. I'm also getting increased aching and burning in legs as well as the pins and needles feeling. Now my inner and outter and front and back thighs are all aching and/or burning. I also am now dealing with SI joint pain on both sides instead of just my right side and my whole lower back hurts from one hip to the other.

    I feel stuck and wonder how so many others who do not have health insurance handle this. I'm currently "in between" insurances. Mine ran out on Sept 1 and I reapplied that day as well as back in July but they needed more info. NOw I have to wait 30-45 days from 9/1 to find out if I'm going to have insurance. I can't keep paying cash for my meds each month and I definitely can't afford to have any tests done (MRI, Xray etc) until my insurance kicks in.

    I just needed to vent my pain and frustrations with it and appreciate you listening. I'm going to try to get to bed now.
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