Harrington Rod and lower back pain

Posted by sutherlin @sutherlin, Dec 2, 2016

I’m new to this site and hoping someone can help. I received a Harrington Rod for scoliosis at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in 1977. I have never had any issues with this at all. However, where my rod ends at L1, the L-2 thru L-5 have started to degenerate and I’m sure it is from the 39 years of that part of my back taking the jarring, twisting etc. Back in March I received a steroid injection in L2-L3 which helped. On December 1st I received two, 1 at L-4 and one at L-5. I know it’s only been 30 hours since the shots, but I went to walk this evening and two minutes in, the pain was back. It feels like it’s in my hip but my hip x-rays show my hip is fine(right hip only with pain). Has anyone else experienced this pain with a Harrington Rod in and have you had other medical treatments that helped with the pain. I just want to be able to walk and not be in pain. This all started 5 years ago when I had two bouts of pinched nerve, one affected my left side, the last one on my right and ever since I have never been right. Any suggestions would be helpful

@recoverychris

Hello, I had Harrington Rod placement and spinal fusion in June, 2016. I am 66 years old, having a difficult recovery. Is there anyone else out there with problems related to muscle spasms and chronic pain with this surgery?

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I. Have. Sharp pain. Mostly. On. Right. Leg. Down. To. My. Feet. Then. My. Back. Feels. Heavy. Stiff. And I get. Really. Tired. When. I. Cook. Clean. Can’t. Finish. What. I’m doing. I. Need. To. Sit. Or. Lie down. I. Tryed. Massaging. The. Muscle. On. My. Leg. It. Helps. For. A. Little. While.

@mote1

I think steroid shots are dangerous protocol treatments that doctors are required to give before actually attending to your real back problems.
I would find an expert neurosurgeon in scoliosis for another opinion. In 40 years, I would hope a talented surgeon could find a way to really help you.
Research online and be careful of the dates and sources you read. The newer & more scientific, the better .
Best Wishes!

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Yes. I. Get. An. A. Appt. W. A. Neurosurgeon. And. Yes.

@sutherlin

Thank you. I don’t have any issues with the rod itself, but its the lower lumbar spine that is the problem with degenerative disc disease. I don’t think I’m different than anyone else that has this problem. I’m waiting for a neurosurgeon to review my CT scan, my SPECT CT scan and my MRI to make a decision on what to do. I just have to continue to be patient and hope for the best. I’m just getting grouchy as I’m in pain 24/7 where before I could sit or lay down and relieve the pain and that doesn’t happen now.

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@sutherlin. What. Did. The. Neurosurgeon. Say

@crysannblak

Hi all,

I am also modified at my spine. 26 years old and 11 years post operative. My rods had never given me any issues, that is until I was pregnant with my only son. Shortly after I gave birth to him in January 16 I lost my exes baby weight and with it my lower back pain dissolved. Since then I have gone into business for myself (Again) this time as a landscaper. My body is in the best shape it’s ever been, except my crippling lower back pain that I remember from pregnancy is back. The last week I haven’t been able to move out of bed without excruciating pain. Throughout the day I don’t feel it but something about sleeping causes it to get stiff and I wake up feeling paralyzed (in my lower back). After reading this I feel that it is time to go to the doctor and maybe get x-rays to make sure that I’m not having major complications due to the rods. Any suggestions before I expose myself to further radiation and get X-rays.

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Crysannblak. After. I. Sleep. And. Wake. Up. My. Leg. Gets. Stiff. And. Sore. Can’t. Stand. Straight. How. Was. Your. Appt. With. Your. Xrays

@gailb

Hi, this is @gailb and I have been on the chronic pain Connect site as well as the Bone and Joint site before. I too have scoliosis that was diagnosed when I was about 5 years old. For several years as a child I had to wear leg braces to past my knees to straighten my feet and I suppose my back. Now that I’m approaching 69, my scoliosis has gottn worse and is noticeable. I had a laminectomy in December, 2016 due to my L5-S1 impinging on my spinal cord. The relief of my excruciating pain was immediate. I still had not quite excruciating pain on my right side, but that would require rods and pins so I have been doing everything I can to avoid that surgery on my L4 -L5. I stopped taking Gabapentin in March and amazingly my pain was somewhat less. I didn’t like that med due to memory loss and feeling goofy all the time. I’ll write more later, but I am very interested in this site for scoliosis. I called the Mayo Regenerative group to find out more about stem cell therapy since I’m considering it. They were supposed to call me back but still haven’t called several days later. I see the stem cell providef for an evaluation tomorrow. I’ll let you know what I find out.

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Gailb. Did. U. Do. You stem. Cell therapy

@gailb

Hi, this is @gailb and I have been on the chronic pain Connect site as well as the Bone and Joint site before. I too have scoliosis that was diagnosed when I was about 5 years old. For several years as a child I had to wear leg braces to past my knees to straighten my feet and I suppose my back. Now that I’m approaching 69, my scoliosis has gottn worse and is noticeable. I had a laminectomy in December, 2016 due to my L5-S1 impinging on my spinal cord. The relief of my excruciating pain was immediate. I still had not quite excruciating pain on my right side, but that would require rods and pins so I have been doing everything I can to avoid that surgery on my L4 -L5. I stopped taking Gabapentin in March and amazingly my pain was somewhat less. I didn’t like that med due to memory loss and feeling goofy all the time. I’ll write more later, but I am very interested in this site for scoliosis. I called the Mayo Regenerative group to find out more about stem cell therapy since I’m considering it. They were supposed to call me back but still haven’t called several days later. I see the stem cell providef for an evaluation tomorrow. I’ll let you know what I find out.

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Hello @gailb,

I might suggest that you call the Regenerative Medicine Consult Service again at 1-844-276-2003. If you call during business hours, you should be put through to someone more quickly. After business hours, you may have reached a different service.

I know I’m responding to years later however I just saw this. I am currently in the process of seeing many doctors for surgery. I have had Hook Harrington rods in my spine for 26 years now. A drunk driver hit me Head on at 55 mph I was a passenger in the front seat when I was 18 years old and broke one my spinal bones bruising my spine badly. I was lucky to have an amazing doctor, Dr. Nathan Lebwohl Miami Florida did a fusion and installed Hook Harrington rods to set the fusion. Little did I know 26 years later I wouldn’t be able to stand up straight I would have severe lumbar scoliosis as well as a very severe case of spinal stenosis which is causing me to not be able to walk causing my left foot to be numb and not move very well at all . I am just grateful that I have a couple doctors who are amazing one of them would be the mayo clinic. I certainly look forward to surgery so I can have my life back. I started not being able to walk standing straight about three years ago so about 23 years after my surgery is when it started happening are year ago I started using a cane and six months ago I started using a walker with wheels and I cannot get around without one. Harrington rods do give A lot of people this kind of problem after a long period of time being in one’s body not everybody however experiences this difficulty. I hope this helps you I myself am extremely nervous and afraid right now of surgery but I know I needed I’m just so scared LOL it’s silly to be scared but I am.

My honest advice is don’t hesitate don’t wait if you’re starting to feel like this now seek a doctor out and have surgery there is help

@JustinMcClanahan

Hello @gailb,

I might suggest that you call the Regenerative Medicine Consult Service again at 1-844-276-2003. If you call during business hours, you should be put through to someone more quickly. After business hours, you may have reached a different service.

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@gailb. Just saw this post how are you doing?

I've had Harrington rods in my spine for 27 years. I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 10. I wore a brace for a few years but it didn't help. Eventually my spine curved into the shape of an S and that's when I had surgery at 16 years old in a military hospital. My entire spine from the top to the very bottom was fused. For a while everything was fine but when I got into my mid 20's the pain started to progress. Now I have so much pain..especially my lower back. I have flatback syndrome and the discs near the base of my spine have deteriorated. My doctor said it's like my spine is sitting in quick sand with no support (they said my original surgeon should not have fused so far down my spine because that gave me know range of motion). Two doctors suggested surgery and one said it would be a very complicated surgery – that they would have to cut me open from both the front and back (removing part of the rod and inserting screws in my discs…along with some other things…it's been a couple of years since I last seen this particular surgeon). Right now I am just trying to find alternatives to surgeries. I have done everything in the past…injections, shots, PT, etc. Sometimes it helped, most often it didn't. I used to take traditional pain medication but I stopped that years ago. I just purchased one of those inflatable braces and I will soon start CBD oil. I also have high blood pressure and I know it's because of my pain/inflammation. I am not overweight and I eat really healthy. With all that being said I'm looking into more alternative treatments. My primary care physician suggested a chiropractor that he knows that who offers non-evasive treatment options (to patients like me – so he says). I will see him on Saturday. I also read about stem cell treatment. I'm just glad I'm not alone in this and I hope to find more non-surgical alternatives that will help.

Oh boy – I hate to be the bearer of bad news.

Trust me, I WISH I had ways to get better to share…

I'm 58, 5'5 119 LBS (so losing weight doesn't help).
I was in a car wreck in 1976, my back was broken.
They did the same surgery on me they do for scoliosis
(the Harrington Rods – they took bone from my hip to fuse) etc etc …

About 17-18 years ago, we discovered (due to extreme back pain)
that my rods were broken…it looks like pick up sticks in the xray.
Screws seemed to have inched up spinal area by 2-3 inches,
rods are crooked and one leans way to the side. Oddles of
scar tissue surrounds it

Today…this week…I've been in so much pain I'm ready to scream.
Considering going to the ER. I am one who truly has to be hanging
by a thread before ER 🙁 Soa
I have had epidurals, tens unit, nerve blocks, chiropractor, physical therapy
out the wa who…accupuncture which did work for a few days…the list goes
on the only thing I've not tried is stem cell.

I was on the Fentanyl pain patch for years and that did offer a lot of
relief. Took me from a 8-9 pain level (not constant) to a 2-3 most days.

If I did too much which at least I was able to do – I would pay for it but
you know – to cook dinner for the family…wipe down those darn dirty
kitchen walls … its worth paying the next day. Isn't it a shame we have
to live this way?

The pain management clinic I went to closed down and we don't have
another pain management type of doctor anywhere nearby. My poor
primary care doctor won't even prescribe pain meds. Can't say I blame
him.

Can you tell – this gets me upset?
It does…It just stinks to know there is something out there
to help me and I can't have it 🙁

I hope others find help…I really want to do the stem cell.
If I get to do it – I'll share my experience. I'm sure I don't sound
like a ray of sunshine but its a big pain day … I wish I could be outside
getting our pool ready for the summer …. but oh well..

Good luck guys …

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