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Problems after spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis

Started by jan47 on 03/05/2010 12:14pm

I'm am 47 and have had scoliosis from age 13 (1976). I was a 43 and the Milw.Brace for 6 years and it went down to 33. In 1988, it was at 50. In 1993, I got breast cancer and had all the treatments.
After that, everything went downhill.I have Osteoporosis now. Last summer, it was at 82. No one in my town would do the surgery and had to go about 100 miles for a doctor. I had breathing problems and not alot of energy after surgery in Oct 2009. Just started P/T and doing better but still not breathing great. Im taking pain meds and use a inhaler. I don't sleep great. The family doctor was trying antidepression pills and sleep aids, but they make me harder to breath. Am I crazy?

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4 Responses


Interesting that you mention breathing problems. Our son is 29, was diagnosed with scolio at 16. He is very paranoid about the (60%curve) affecting his organs and says he can't catch his breath. He also suffers from panic attacks. Maybe the back problem is causing the shortness of breath. What other symptoms did you have prior to surgery? He has a lot of trouble sleeping at nights and seems as though his pain is worsening. What made you decide to have the surgery or did you have a choice? Please tell me more. Judy


No, you are not crazy! You're obviously a very strong person dealing with everything that you have.

I'm 19 and was diagnosed with scoliosis at 11. Almost 4 years ago I had a spinal fusion with two titanium rods, 11 hooks, and 4 screws. Unfortunately, I never had PT and now I struggle with pain and mobility... but while in the hospital, I would blow into a little device and balance this plastic circle inside a circle with my breath at least three times a day and was required to do it when I went home too. This was to prevent pneumonia, fluid in the lungs, and blood clots in the lungs. It's likely that if the proper precautions weren't taken after the surgery that any of these could have caused more problems.

I had breathing problems before my surgery, and had improved after, but is still a struggle, and so is the energy. Inhalers have helped and occasional breathing treatment when I am having a hard time with breathing and sinus drips into the lungs. I don't really remember the last time I had great sleep, could be from depression, pain, lack of oxygen, or a number of other factors. I haven't been on antidepressants or sleeping pills in about two years and feel a bit better, but I still don't sleep well. Doing yoga, dance, meditation(deep calming breathing), and eating some whole wheat toast and water before bed helps for a little bit of rest.

The surgery was your best choice for such a significant curve, and probably saved you a lot of lung, heart, and pain issues. I suggest trying walking, yoga, some sort of physical stimulation that just gets you breathing, not panting! Breathe deep, and often. Take the time for yourself to do this and I'm sure it will take away some of the stress and probably get you some better sleep. Good luck!


Judy -
I had the same issue with breathing, pain and sleeping as your son, and has improved some since the surgery. With scoliosis, it does twist and turn your whole body, including your organs. Pressure on these can cause more problems than just pain. The further the spine bends and twists, the more painful it will be to function everyday and more likely it will be to have further issues with the heart, lungs, kidneys, and pain too. Has your son seen a specialist lately? It would be best to get their opinion, but at your son's age it would probably be best to get the surgery since he is still at a younger age. Before thinking about that, try a brace (I wish I had), yoga, walking, and more, to help with alignment, pain and breathing, and also panic attacks. I know I didn't have much of a choice, but I thought of the improvement of my future life avoiding issues with my organs, changing my breathing, and helping/changing the pain. Everything will not be changed over night and the surgery cannot be expected to be the thing to change it all, you have to take the action to make yourself feel better. Good luck!


I am 5 1/2 years out from having the surgery for 80. I still have breathing problems, which became part of my disability. I already had Asthma and the surgery made it worse. I have 2 inhalers and take Singulair daily. I can still do pretty much anything I want, just not as fast or as often as I used to. And when I overdo, I pay for it for a couple of days afterwards. I still feel like the surgery was considered a success. I figure at 80, I'm lucky to come out of the surgery with little issues to this point. I think you will feel the same way too. Just depressing right now. That will get better, trust me! You are not crazy.