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Chronic upper back pain from scoliosis

genoistggenoist Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I am suffering from chronic upper back pain from scoliosis. I have seen an orthopedic doctor once so far and he wanted to prescribe some NSAID's for the pain. The problem is I have Crohn's disease, so that makes NSAID's a no no.

Because of this the doctor prescribed a topical cream that has some muscle relaxers and pain relievers in it. So far after about 3 or 4 weeks of trying the topical cream I've determined that it doesn't actually work, at all. I get a little bit of relief from having the cream massaged into the muscles, but that's it.

At home I use a heating pad, but it's pretty much getting impossible to make it through an entire work day due to the back pain escalating throughout the day. I have been taking Tylenol arthritis, but it does little at best.

I just had some unrelated surgery a couple weeks ago and have been on Percocet since then for surgical pain, so that has eliminated my back pain, which has been a GREAT relief for the first time in a long time.

Is there anyone else in this type of situation? What has your doctor prescribed for you? What's worked for you?

Any feedback would be GREAT.


  • I have suffered chronic pain from scoliosis since 1992. diagnosed at age 11 in '87 and put straight with rods (from a 60 degrees curve) age 16. The rods moved within a few weeks and the surgeon decided to remove the rods without the fusion being given the time neccessary. My back grew dramatically worse and fused in a 90 degree curve. I also picked up an infection in surgery.

    Now i'm 35 and i've tried accupuncture, cortisone injection, exercises, and TENS, without any significant results.

    I take Tramadol painkillers which deal with most of the pain affectively, long walks are good and a memory foam mattress made the most difference its amazing how much it helped my sleeping.

    Am now looking to give up full-time work as it's a real struggle.

    Would like to hear from anyone else here suffering from surgery gone wrong.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    ..of your experiences...It does sound complicated.

    If someone here is able to relate, they will probably drop in to share their struggles and successes...

    You may be interested in using this site's "search' feature..to see about info from previous posts.. also, site has great articles and videos..may be able to find more info that way.

    Good luck to you and may your day be as comfortable as possible! Take care!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I have only mild scoliosis, but lots of problems with my spine from wear and tear, and poor posture work practices. I no longer work, and had to stop because of the back, neck and head pain.
    The best things that I can strongly recommend for muscle pain are remedial massage-you indicated some relief just with rubbing a cream in, so that is a good clue-, and a daily dose of magnesium.
    I found that regular massage gave me good pain relief, but lasted only a week or so. did that for 18 months.
    Then I started taking a large dose of magnesium oil and within a week I was getting better, and now after over 18 months on it my muscle problems have GONE. Still get lots of spinal pains to contend with, but the muscles are now good.
    I take 2 teaspoonfuls a day in 600mls of water which I sip.
    This is the best treatment I have ever taken.
    Lots of physios, chiros, doctors, injections, pain meds and so on, but the magnesium has been the best.
    Start with a small dose for a week or so to test for any adverse reaction, then gradually increase it. Be wary if you have kidney problems.
    You can get a powder, but don't waste money on tablets.
  • I have Scoliosis and the pain has progressivly gotten worse over the years. Right now I have Fentanyl patches that work for my upper back pain. I also take Roxycodone 30 mg. Basically those two drugs seem to help my pain the most. I used to take Hydrocodone but got immune to the effects and needed something stronger and got Roxycodone. Percoset and Roxycodone have the same type of opiate that helps the pain which is oxycodone. Be aware that all the drugs I just mentioned are very addicting and once you start down that path it may be difficult to stop. I have become addicted to the pain meds but it helps manage the back pain and given the choice between addiction and Pain I would rather be addicted than in pain. I would suggest you do some seaches on internet and get as much info as you can about your condition and what pain meds to take. I am not sure but I dont think that you can get Percoset any longer Oxycodone has repaced them I think. Good luck hope you find what you need for your pain.
  • I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was in 6th grade. I was put in a back brace for 4 years. It was worn for 23 out of the 24 hours a day. I am unsure if it really helped or not. What I do know is that I am in pain and have yet to find any relief! I am 45 years old and as each year goes by the pain seems to increase. There is constant every day pains but at least once a week I get severe pain in my upper right shoulder and neck with an unreal head ache that is in my jaw, ear and behind my eye. I have gone to spinal specialists and have been told there is nothing they can do. I am sure it is because it is not life threatening and insurance would not pay for surgery. So I am now continuing my search of pain medication so I can try each one until I find one that may actually work. I now have a new list to take to my doctor. Hopefully one of them on this list will finally work!
  • Have you had x-rays that measure the curve in your spine? Have you been to a Pain Management Dr. yet?

    A Physiatrist(sports rehab Dr.) can help with any exercises or advice to help with your pain and do any further investigations about the headaches and jaw pain.

    I went to the Cleveland Clinic and the Physiatrist was very helpful for doing investigations in my sciatica and back issues. I have minor scoliosis and kyphosis and mild DDD but really there's nothing mild about the pain is for sure. I hope you find a good Dr. to help. Take care. 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
  • Yes, I have had soooo... many xrays. I can't remember the % of curve, I know it was just a few off from what they consider severe. My spine is like a backward S, so I have a curve on the top and bottom along with some twisting in the spine and right set of ribs. I have sent to physical therapy which I find to be a total waste of time. Yes, they can give you exercises to do. They are the same exercises given along with the back brace. It does not alliviate the pain whatsoever. I have not been to a pain clinic yet. My doctor has me going for a second opionion from another spine center before he will agree to send me to the pain center. This whole thing is just frustrating! Just give me something that will make the pain go away! And I don't mean the everyday pain...that I have had so long, it is just part of my life. I mean the days that I get the severe pain. I have invested in special furniture and bed and pillow. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. That is what the spinal center doctor told me. Just keep finding things that will keep you as comfortable as possible...sometimes they will work, sometimes they won't. Oh and by the way, you are out of luck, it will just get worse and there is nothing we can do.
  • suzyssuzy Posts: 2
    edited 05/27/2013 - 9:58 PM
    I hope you all still get on this site to discuss your situations with your scoliosis and your pain! I sometimes feel like no one other than those of us who suffer from severe chronic back pain understand! Before I go all out with the particulars of all my issues caused from scoliosis, I want to make sure some of you or hopefully all of you still check in on this issue so I know I will have someone to discuss this with! Another sleepless night, due to my back pain, leg, body, muscle, nerve, joint pain, brought me to this page! So I am very hopeful I will hear from some of you! I just need to find understanding and options and help on what I should do! Thank you!
  • Hi guys if you look under all forums then scroll down there is a whole forum on scoliosis
  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 05/28/2013 - 6:17 PM
    It's frustrating to read these comments. I have no doubt that you guys are experiencing pain. What is sad is that I know there are treatments out there. I chose to have (non life threatening) surgery in hopes to not have to be on permanent narcotics. It took two huge surgeries and two minor ones (and tons of narcotics during recovery) but now I'm narcotic free and my daily pain is usually manageable with nothing, occasionally Tylenol, and if I do suffer a major flare up I have access to pain killers.

    I live in the USA and my insurance (Aetna for what its worth) never questioned the surgery. My first surgery (again non life threatening) was covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield without question.

    I can't encourage you all enough to seek out second, third, forth opinions from spine specialist. My surgeon actually specializes in adult scoliosis. (Originally I was diagnosed with per-adolescent scoliosis @ age 9 and saw a pediatric scoliosis surgeon) Keep looking and try not to get discouraged.

    Hoping each of you can find a treatment that will help you with your pain, and soon. Best of luck.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 05/29/2013 - 1:02 PM
    Found my answer by reading the scoliosis site. You guys are in so much pain from a really young age. I am so sorry I never realised.
  • All metal, thanks for the advice. I have such a long medical history and I will never stop trying. I'm just past from one to the next it seems but will never give up!! And how crazy my sister and I both have Aetna insurance and they never want to pay for even necessary procedures for either of us and its getting worse and worse with them! Lol. Maybe although its the same company the policies are different. Just thought wow I wish they were that good on our stuff!
  • So much of it has to do with how the office codes procedures. I do know at one time Aetna kicked back like a 20k bill and I was asked to pay for it, I just laughed, literally laughed, and when it was all said and done, they had keyed in a "similar" diagnosis but not the correct one, once that was refiled, it wasn't a problem. Insurance is WAYYYY to complicated in my opinion. Hope you are able to get the treatment you need son.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • edited 06/23/2013 - 10:16 AM
    You guys should smoke marijauna it helps my back alot it just numbs the pain , you can get doctors recomendation at a medical evaluation clinic , and when you go to a dispensary always ask for top shelve indica is a strong bud for head and back pain and sativa is a body pain you feel relaxed with both it usaully helps me get energy and when u get the munchies eat a salad or soup the only junk food I eat is chips and soda , dont eat take out.
  • I was diagnosed with scoliosis a couple months ago and the pain has gotten worse. I'm having a hard time sleeping in my bed. Pretty much right when I lay down it hurts. It even gets to where it hurts to breathe. Has anyone else had that problem???? I had Norco prescribed to me when I had diverticulitis so I had some left, so I take that when I can't handle the pain, and it helps. I really need to get insurance so I can go see a Dr for it . Please if anyone Has advice please let me know
    Alycia Gabriel
  • DobbyRDDobbyR LondonPosts: 4
    I have scoliosis and unfortunately, an L5/S1 that requires laminectomy/fusion, (which I'm fighting against having), but for pain relief, I take 75mg Diclofenac BD and 60mg MST BD, but their effect is limited and pain levels persist, which must be incredibly tough for you as NSAIDs aren't an option...I'm sorry.

    Other than my MST, which is now failing to address the pain as I have built up a tolerance, I also have some 30mg tabs of Dihydrocodeine, which I'm tempted to use to supplement the MST with, but can anyone advise as to whether this would be effective, or should be avoided, as mixing opioids can obviously be somewhat dangerous?
  • I suffer from mild upper scoliosis :( it's really mild, every doctor I visit says it's not suppose to be causing pain since it's really mild but the pain is killing me! I feel discomfort in my upper right back (along with my shoulder and neck) 24/7, sometimes I can't even sleep. It never goes away, sometimes it's worse than other times but I'm always in pain (when I'm on my period the pain multiplies). I'm 21 years old, and i've been in a lot of pain for the past 5 years. Every year it gets worse, I assumed that it's because I gained some weight and because I study more (so I'm sitting a lot). But in summer I lost some weight and I didn't study, and still the pain didn't decrease one bit :(.
    I've tried everything! been to countless of doctors, chiropractors, got acupuncture, tried all kinds of creams and pills but nothing seems to work!
    the only thing left for me to try is swimming, many of the chiropractors I've been to have told me to swim every day if I can, they say it would strengthen my back muscles and that might somehow decrease the pain.. So I'll get back to you if that helps me at all! (I'm also going to try taking magnesium oil).
     please share any useful tips that helped any of you (even if just a bit) i would really appreciate it. 
  • patricklauppatricklau Hong KongPosts: 1
    I was diagnosed with scoliosis around age 20. Thoracic 40 degrees. I'm now a 33 year old men and the upper back pain is increasing unbearable. Sometimes my left arm fees numb and weak and I had to sit down. At times I had to cut my work day short to rest. I experience no pain when lying down, mild pain when walking, and plenty of pain when sitting down. I have tried a lot of things including Chinese Tui Na, chiropractor, accupunture, and nothing works. Now I am trying Schroth method. Hopefully it will help.
  • Nena24NNena24 MacedoniaPosts: 2
    I'm 24 years, and I found out I have scoliosis around 3 moths ago, although I have back pain in the last 5 years... My scoliosis is in the middle part of the spine, and I have terrible pains in my back and neck like most of you guys... I started doing exercises (those provided by the physical therapy), and they really relieve my pain, but only temporarily, for maybe an hour or two. I also start going on yoga classes, and I always leave the room with light back without any pain and tension- of course until the next morning. So the doctor told me I will lose my pains with the help of exercises and I wont have them ever, except rarely, but now, after 2 months of exercising 2-3 times a day, and swimming during the summer, I have my back and neck pain all the time- when I sit and lay mostly, but not when I walk. So I came here and fond this forum to see if the pain is ever going to disappear, and if the curve progresses quickly or fast? I read that magnesium oil helps, so does anyone knows the daily dose? I'm also concerned about pregnancy. Although I'm not pregnant now, I fear that pregnancy will bring me much more pain, and worsen curvature... 
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