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Thread: scoliosis and herrington rods

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    middle of nowhere
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    scoliosis and herrington rods

    I keep getting more problems the older I get which I know is normal, but I've lost my ability to transfer and my doc tells me I need a shoulder replacement. I've been blaming my transfer problems on the rotator cuff which I had surgery for. I'm starting to think that a lot of the shoulder pain is from scoliosis which I also hae prety bad from loss of the upper 6" of my leg bone and part of my hip to osteomyelitis. I st way lopsided. My should down my right side of my back hurts too bad to transfer, the big muscle feels like it's ripping from my bones> I can lift myself straight up but can't with my arm stretched over to the bed or car seat because of the pain. My shoulders are uneven making pushing tough though slumping down in back helps. I've got an 1800.00 brace that straightens me up but movement is limited severely with it on. I've heard the rods straighten the back which would feel great but also that they limit movement by making you rigid, not to mention complications and lengthy recovery. I'm seeing a spine doc and neurosurgeon who installed my baclofen pump. What can you tell me about the rods-given my age ,57, probably not a good option though I'd sure like back pain relief and holdin myself straight all the time to keep balance. Thanks WR

  2. #2
    whiterabbit,

    Would you like me to move your posting to the Care forum where more people will probably read it and comment on the scoliosis problem that you are describing.

    Your situation sounds complicated and it is hard to judge what would be the best approach to solve your problem. Let me therefore comment more generally on some principles of scoliosis correction and shoulder surgery.

    First, rods and all the different internal fixation devices are really not a substitute for a well-balanced spine. Rods act by pushing or pulling at two points. They are useful for preventing further curvature but are not effective and perhaps should not be used to straighten out curvatures. The reason is of course you carry a lot of weight on your spine but the spine distributes that weight over many segments. A rod eliminates some of the flexibility of your spine and transfers some of the load from multiple segments to two points. So, in my opinion, rods will not correct your curvature and at the same time puts additional stress to the spinal column where the rods are hooked.

    Second, your spine doc must identify the cause of your curvature and try to fix the spinal column first, either by fusing or repairing some vertebrae, and then place some internal fixation device in to hold the spine in place while the healing takes place. The goal of such surgery is to try to straighten out your spine a bit while the goal of the rod would be to keep your spinal column stable until the bones heal and fuse.

    Third, shoulder problems are very common in people with spinal cord injury. Torn rotator cuffs and other joint problems occur in probably over 50% of spinal cord injured people as they grow older. As you describe, your shoulder takes a great deal of stress when you transfer. You must develop an alternative way of transferring and learn how to spare your shoulder as much as possible. It is likely that even after you get surgery, the problem will recur unless you minimize the stress that you place on the shoulder.

    Wise.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    middle of nowhere
    Posts
    565

    scoliosis

    Dr. Wise,
    Thank you for volunteering to move me to the other site. Please do. WR

  4. #4
    Whiterabbit, your post has been moved over to the Care forum.

    _____________
    Tough times don't last - tough people do.

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