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In 1996 I had my second major back surgery to try to relieve my chronic back pain. I had another fusion this time with the insertion of a Harrington Rod. It did not alleviate my pain, make me any straighter or taller. I am now 13 years post op and have been on and off pain meds for five years. I have been through physical therapy numerous times, received facet blocks, rhizotomies, and cortisone injections. I am still in pain. I have one muscle in my back on the lower left side that remains contracted and hard as a rock. I take Soma three times a day for some relief. Does anyone else share my problems and have any suggestions for pain relief? ?


You might want to consider getting checked out by a chiropractor.  Even if they don't do work on you, you can get the xrays and hear their analysis (first make sure your insurance covers it).  I did PT for years before I decided to try chiropractic and I'm very pleased with the results so far.  (I have Harrington rods too)  The text below is a post I made on another topic on this site:

A good chiropractor might be worthwhile.  I posted earlier about how physical therapy worked decently for me.  Chiropractic is a completely different story.  I had A LOT of stuff out of alignment, as you might imagine.  These 'out of alignment' vertebra can pinch nerves and cause pain.  I have a pain spot in my upper left back between the shoulder blade and spine.  After some analysis, the chiropractic office found that I was pinching a nerve that led directly to that area.  It's too early to say whether chiropractic will work in the long run but I believe it will.  I've gone in with bad pain in that spot and left with it feeling great.

That being said, we are not the average client and getting adjusted scares the c**p out of me.  Talk to your doctor to see if he thinks it would be appropriate, some people might have too much rod such that there is no area available to work on.  If you do decide to move forward, stay away from offices that have a strong sales pitch.  I went through 2 offices before I found one I felt comfortable in and I'm so glad I did.  They have been around for 30+ years and seem much more learned on the science side of things.

Another quick note: they should NOT be adjusting vertebra under the rod by hand, there are tools that apply specific amounts of pressure if you really do need to get in there.  My chiropractor adjusts my neck and lower back, and uses specialized techniques in the middle.  An example of one specialized technique is when he puts me in a specific position and has me take deep breaths... in that position, the breaths are all that is needed to make small adjustments.

So that's my experience with chiropractic so far, I'll post again later to update everyone on its long term effects for me.

Take care and remember to do your exercises/stretches!