Happy New Year – 2014!

A bit late now I guess but Happy New Year! 

I wanted to write a bit of an update on me and how my back is doing now I’m 3 1/2 years post op. 

Flexibility wise my back is the best it’s been since surgery and bending to pick things up off the floor, rolling over in bed and things like that no longer seem to be an issue for me, which if you’d told me that at around 3 months post op I’d never have believed you! It seems that I can now bend quite normally and I notice my metalwork less and less now despite being fused to L3, which is encouraging. 

The only annoyance for me now is my shoulder, which I still get quite a bit of pain and discomfort in, partly because I have a winged scapula and the shoulder blade is not in the correct place. I’m not sure if this is down to my residual thoracic curve or as a side effect of the surgery or a bit of both. I went to the doctor mid last year about pain in my shoulder and lower back (which is not as bad, only if I’m on my feet alot) and she prescribed me Naproxen and referred me to the physio again. 

I started taking the Naproxen for a while but found it didn’t really do anything so, for now, I don’t take any painkillers as 1. I don’t like taking them and 2. I haven’t really found a painkiller that does the job and doesn’t have any horrible side effects. 

The physio I saw late last year was quite useful, she basically said the reason I get pain in my back and after I’ve been to the gym for example, is that as I have the metalwork in there, my muscles have essentially become “lazy” and some of them aren’t working as they should as they rely on the metalwork to do the work for them. So if I go to the gym for example, I end up using more muscles than I should do to over compensate for the ones that are being a bit lazy, which gives me more pain and achyness the next day.  I suppose it makes sense and I never thought of it like that. She showed me some simple exercises to do to “activate” some of my muscles again which I found very useful, although I must admit I didn’t have the time to do them as religiously as I should have done.

As it was an NHS phsyio, they can only see me for 6 weeks at a time and then discharge me even although I’ll never be “cured.” I think this time it was worthwhile going though, although no doubt I’ll be back again at some point! I think there should be a different system for people with long term conditions, as we need really need long term physio and support rather than continuously having to go back, see a new physio each time and be discharged again.

She did recommend a pilates DVD for people with long term back pain, so my plan now is to try that and see how I get on. It’s so hard to know what the best exercises are when you have spinal fusion as you want to keep your muscles strong but you don’t want to do damage or make any pain you have any worse.  I wanted to start going to the pilates classes at my gym but I just know I won’t be able to do half of the moves and will just end up feeling embarrased.

Anyway, I’ll update how I get on with the DVD, hopefully it will be of benefit to me!

4 thoughts on “Happy New Year – 2014!

  1. Hi Louise, I just came across your post tonight. I started researching scoliosis surgery and post op what to expect as I was just told today that i need surgery and placed on a wait list for it. I’m in my late 20’s & to be honest upset with myself for not getting it checked for a second opinion (my GP kept saying its fine) years ago and scared.
    Is there anything you can share with me: what to expect after surgery, any side effects or things to look out for and any tips?
    My email is peggysue115@hotmail.com and greatly appreciate any advise or anything you can offer.

  2. I love hearing stories like this! When I was 11, I was diagnosed with Scoliosis. I went in to my doctor every 6 months, and it slowly, and I mean slowly, got worse. Then one time I went in, and it had gotten much worse. At that point, they started talking about surgery. Six months later, I went it, and once again, it had gotten much worse. That’s when I was informed that I would be needing surgery. I am so scared, but after reading this, I have hope! Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  3. What an inspiring story!!! My son suffers from back problems as well and we have been trying every way to help him. We have recently been looking at the best back surgeons in the area so he can have the best life possible. Thanks for giving us hope!
    -Jesse White

  4. Hi Louise, I just discovered your blog… have you ever tried water therapy? I hear that can help because it reduces the pressure but you can still work out then. I just started blogging again as well, I’m a few years more post-op than you but I think people like us have to stick together! I have only come across a few other people in my journeys who had surgery for scoliosis.

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