I am far for an authority on this subject, but, I have been researching it more and more since I am a prime subject.
My first spinal surgery was in 1978, my last in 2000. Since then I have herniated several thoracic discs, plus re-herniated some L4/L5.
Around 2003, I started having some mild problems with my shoulders. In 2006 I had a bone scan which should concentrated areas of arthritis in my shoulders and knees.
Fast forward to 2006, I had very difficult times lifting my arms over 90 degrees. I went to a shoulder specialist who injected some deep cortisone/steroid in my joints. That provided relief for almost 18 months. Then the same problem occurred and I kept going back for shoulder injections every 6 months.
Finally in 2009, the injections were not helping and the doctor did not want to do any more injections. Some MRI and X-Rays identified that my arthritis was progressing very rapidly and that the need for complete shoulder replacements were mandated.
I had a set of X-Rays in Jan 2010 and a month before my surgery, I had another set done. It was a bit unclear as to why the arthritis was progressing so rapidly. By the time of my April 8th surgery, there was the bone on bone situation was at its max.
I am progressing rather well, 3 months post surgery and just working on building up shoulder/arm strength as well as the rest of my spine before my next complete shoulder surgery replacement in October.
What baffles me the most and what I haven't been able to get detailed answers on is WHY the arthritis progressed so fast! For years, it was taking a normal course, but then within the past 6 months it accelerated so quickly.
Why? Was there something I did or didnt do?
I am working with all of my doctors to see if we can come up with some medical answers. So far, nothing.
The only answer that has common threads is that once you have multiple spinal surgeries you are a prime candidate for arthritis.. But how fast it accelerates is still a bit unknown.
I plan on doing more and more research, because to me, there has to be some common denominator between spinal surgery and arthritis progression.
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences