Scoliosis surgery: Harrington rod placement and spinal fusion

Posted by SueE @suee, Jun 4, 2014

I had surgery for scoliosis in 1973, which included Harrington rod placement and spinal fusion of most of my spine. I still have curvature and muscle imbalance, along with a “twisted” rib age.

Consequently, I have severe digestive issues and muscle hardness on the lumbar region where the spine is curved. I am looking for some sort of therapy to soften, so to speak the “hard” region, and to improve my posture. I have somewhat of the “flat back” syndrome going on.

Looking for others who had this surgery in the 70’s for support and conversation!

@julieannejp

I had fusion done at L4-L5 several years ago after having a failed minor surgery and lots of injections..Physical therapy. ..Pain pills. .etc.i wake up in pain everyday and it is always there regardless of the prescriptions I take.i have tried the soinal stimulator trial which was a nightmare for me.i had the stimulator inserted for 6 days and ended up in the fetal oosition for almost 6 weeks.my drs are suggesting a morphine pump that at 44 years old..I refuse to do.i am sick of always being in pain. I have been reading everyones postings trying to see if anyone has done something that may be helpful to me.i am at a point where the pain runs my life.i am so tired of not being able to do things with my kids and not being able to enjoy life.i do not think anyone understands back pain unless you are going thru it.i am jealous of those who do surgery and they are feeling great.everytime I do a surgery..I always end up in more pain. Just want to thank those who have posted their stories because I know I am not alone.

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If you would be open to a pain pump, you can look for a pain management specialist that works with Prialt. It is a NOT an opiod; it is made from snail venom.

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@julieannejp

I had fusion done at L4-L5 several years ago after having a failed minor surgery and lots of injections..Physical therapy. ..Pain pills. .etc.i wake up in pain everyday and it is always there regardless of the prescriptions I take.i have tried the soinal stimulator trial which was a nightmare for me.i had the stimulator inserted for 6 days and ended up in the fetal oosition for almost 6 weeks.my drs are suggesting a morphine pump that at 44 years old..I refuse to do.i am sick of always being in pain. I have been reading everyones postings trying to see if anyone has done something that may be helpful to me.i am at a point where the pain runs my life.i am so tired of not being able to do things with my kids and not being able to enjoy life.i do not think anyone understands back pain unless you are going thru it.i am jealous of those who do surgery and they are feeling great.everytime I do a surgery..I always end up in more pain. Just want to thank those who have posted their stories because I know I am not alone.

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@julieannejp Hi Julieanne, read your post and am so sorry your pain is not getting any better and that you have been suffering for years! Since I had the Harrington rods implanted and a 14 vertebrae continuous fusion done at age 16, I have had mild to severe pain everyday since. I could push thru it when I was young but not after menopause (around age 50) when I had gained 30+ pounds and high cholesterol and high blood pressure which was all terrifying. What turned it around was fixing my diet with the help from the National heart lung and blood institute (nhlbi, part of our national health institute) dietary guidelines for a low cholesterol weight loss diet. They recommend that to lose weight for a woman, keep total daily calorie intake between 1200-1600 calories. They include sample daily diets (regional and ethnic even) and heart healthy foods in the section called Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, TLC. I cleaned out my refrigerator and pantry of all the high calorie foods and restocked with the salads, soups, popcorn, nuts, olives, fruits and vegetables (low calorie Breyers ice cream) on the list that I really like! Also aim for 40-50 grams of protein each day to keep from feeling hungry and to have stamina to walk 30-60 minutes a day. Mayo has documented that daily walking is beneficial for back pain and health. Before Covid shut down all the soup and salad bars I would go every other day and prepare individual servings of soups and salads with a separate container of dressing so it would stay crisp for a couple of days in the refrigerator. The point was to have good food choices in the house ready to eat at all times if I was running late.

Losing the extra weight was like getting two new knees! I also take 200mg of Celebrex (anti inflammatory) in the morning and evening, and Tylenol for breakthrough pain as necessary. Celebrex is by prescription, and before my PCP wrote the script, I was taking 3 Aleve in the morning and 3 at night which was equivalent. Since menopause, to prevent osteoporosis, reduce skin wrinkles and maintain muscle tone, everyday I take a combination estrogen and progesterone hormone pill, 600mg of Calcium, vitamin D and melatonin before bed to help bone strength. I also found a great physical therapist (ask around and research your locale) to design a stretching and strengthening program for my specific issues which was very helpful. I am now 62 and have a much higher quality of life, much less pain, more flexibility, more strength, stamina, lost 30 pounds and haven’t felt this girly since my 30s. It is amazing how the body can recover and improve even at an older age and despite failed surgeries. Don’t give up! If I can change my diet and drop pounds believe me anyone can, you just have to know how. So much nutritional information circulating even from people who know better is gibberish. The simple truth is you need to eat high value nutritious foods from the three main groups: protein, fats and carbohydrates. There are delicious, vitamin, anti inflammatory loaded foods in each category! Good luck-Nancy

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Did you ever have your Harrington rod revision surgery?

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@cindy01perry

Did you ever have your Harrington rod revision surgery?

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Hello @cindy01perry and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. It looks like you are interested in connecting with a member on his/her update regarding Harrington Rod Revision Surgery.

To notify them of your interest, you can either use the "REPLY" button under that specific post and/or use the @ sign plus their handle. For example, yours is @cindy01perry.

Does that help?

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@cindy01perry

Did you ever have your Harrington rod revision surgery?

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No, I haven’t had Harrington rod, fusion revision surgery. There is little or no published data on the long term or short term results. Only a handful of surgeons in the US or the world have had any success, depending on how you define success.

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