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Spine and Back Health

Back Pain Following Fusion

10/13/2009

Question:

On July 3rd of this year I sufferd a crushed T-10 spinal cord injury and bone shards were lodged into my spinal cord. The shards were removed and I had a spinal fusion done. I have screws in my T-8, T-9, T-11, and T-12 with rods connecting them. My doctor said that the surgery went well and he was pleased with the outcome. However, after my back started to heal and most of the pain started to go away, I continued to have an intense pain in my right flank. It feels like it is right around where the bottom of my ribs and the big muscle running along my spine meet. It gets very sore and throbs when I put pressure on it while leaning back or laying down. When leaning forward from leaning back in my wheelchair the pain shoots in and is very intense and I have to come forward at a very, very slow speed. Also, if I try to look down, I get to a certain point and the pain shoots in again. No pain medication or muscle relaxers I have tried take the pain away. Every doctor, including my back surgeon, just tell me its irratated muscles and nerves and that it will go away in time. It has been 3 months since the accident and surgery. Is this a normal thing to happen, and if so, what is causing it, and how long might it last? If it is not normal, then what might I be able to do to relieve the pain and find out what is causing it? The pain wakes me up all night long and most times, trying to change position does not help, if you could help me figure this out and get rid of this pain, that would be great.

Answer:

Thank you for visiting NetWellness. On this site, we try to answer general questions about health but cannot diagnose or recommend treatment. You appear to have some very, very specific questions about your condition, which can only be answered properly by a physician who is familiar with your history, physical exam, and test results. Your questions about the testing results you've been given or the risks, benefits, and alternatives for proposed treatments of this condition need to be directed to your treating physician(s). You should insist that they answer these questions in a way that you are able to understand before consenting to any treatment. If your physician is unable to help you understand these issues, you should get a second opinion. Take care.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University