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Harrington Rods and leg pain
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Harrington Rods and leg pain

I am 27 years old and had Scoliosis Surgery when I was 13. I have had the Harrington Rods put in and have had no problems with back pain. However over the past 3 years, I have been experiencing severe leg pain in my right leg. It has caused my lower leg from the knee down to become numb. I have burning in the toes and the bottom of the foot. It has become increasingly worse and is constant. I have had numerous tests and nothing was shown because of the fusions. Recently I had a mylegram which is showing a disc spur in the L4-L5 area. I have went to many doctors over the past few years and cannot get an answer. I was wondering if anyone has ever had this type of leg pain with Harrington Rods in place. My pain options are very limited due to this. I have had epidurals and physical therapy but nothing has worked. Please respond if you have any answers or can direct me in the right way. I am searching for anyone who has possibly had the same type of problems...
Thank you--- Tara
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Avatar_m_tn
you can get these kind of pains without the rods. it sounds like nerve pain. it could be caused by the rods, the spur, scoliosis,almost anything concerning the spine.
have you taken any medications for this pain?
like gabapentin or tegretol,sodium valproate etc
these may help.
go back to your doctors(maybe an osteopath). maybe some spinal manipulations could reduce your pain.
don't give up tara.

Nick.
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547368_tn?1332173665
Hi Tara,

Welcome to MedHelp's Pain Management Forum. I am very sorry to hear about your pain. We all know here how disruptive chronic pain can be in our lives. And how difficult it can be to find a diagnosis.  

The surgical treatment of thoracic curves in patients with idiopathic scoliosis has evolved over the years. There are multiple options available now and the Harrington Rod has become obsolete. In it's day it was a very good option.

I do not have nor do I know anyone with Harrington Rods.There is a lot of information on the www regarding them. The following is some of the information I was able to find.

A few patients develop low back and leg pain decades after their original scoliosis fusion surgery; these problems can also develop in patients who have been fused without the Harrington rod.
What is the cause of the pain? Depending upon the type of scoliosis, some patients require fusion of the lower lumbar spine to L4 or L5. In this situation, only the L4-5 and L5-S1 discs remain as mobile segments below the rigidly fused spine. Over many years, these remaining discs may degenerate and cause low back pain, or they may herniate and cause leg pain. Alternatively low back arthritis may occur, which can also cause back and leg pain.

My research states the the success rate with the implantation of the Harrington Rods has been fairly good. The problem appears to come from ageing (aging), wear and tear of the spine. I understand that you are young, 27, however considering the age at which they were implanted it has been 14 years, if my math is correct. Any time you "mess" with the structure of the spine the rate for future spinal issues and pain increase.

It sounds like you have done a lot of the right things, seeking out several physicians and their opinions and having some good diagnostic tests.

"Reference Manual for Magnetic Resonance Safety, Implants, and Devices. 2008 Edition. By Dr. Frank Shellock Ph.D." apparently states that MRI's may not be preformed safely if you have a Harrington Rod implanted. However they there is an MRI machine that uses .3 Tesla magnets and these are apparently approved for the use when the patients has Harrington Rods implanted. So you may have to search for a facility that utilizes this machine to have an MRI.

I encourage you to keep looking for a orthopedic Surgeon that will have some answers. I know that this can be frustrating. Your case is more complicated as you have Rods in your spine. I do think that someone will be able to provide you with some answers. So please don't give up. In the meantime there are medications that can make you more comfortable. I hope you will discuss these possibilities with your physician. We will look forward to your updates. We are here to support you in any way we may. Good luck and take care, Tuck
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Tara.

I am 29 years old and had harrington rods placed when I was 16 years old. Over the past few years, I have had issues with chronic back and neck pain, however, I have not experienced the type of leg pain you are describing.  It sounds like something might be pressing on a nerve or your spinal cord. There ARE MRI machines now a days that are able to take pictures around the metal in your spine. I had an MRI of my neck for pain a few years ago, although it didn't reveal a cause of my chronic pain. I just had x-rays done of my lumbar spine as well for pain that has been consistant for the last few months now, and again, they showed nothing to give doctors a difinitive diagnosis. I have been researching long term effects of harrington rod placement and came across this site. I think in your case, definitely find a provider who has the newest MRI technology and get that done. Hopefully it will reveal something your other physicians have missed. Good luck to you. I know it's frustrating.

Julia
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Avatar_f_tn
My name is also Tara I have Harrington rods since 13 i'm 28 now. I have constant back pain and just started getting occasional burning in my feet like they are on fire. my Mom has Ms and claims she also gets it. Nerve damage possibly. My problem is I have tons of pain. Lots I can live with but would like some relief. I understand i'm young and they don't want me taking pain mess the rest of my life. But my pain is never going to go away. So wth. suffer because all the stupid people abusing pills.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had a fusion and Harrington rod placed when I was 12 and I am 40yrs old now. I suffer from leg pain, hips and feet. I always have burning sensations and a ton of other symptoms. For the last 5 years I have been seeing specialist to find out what the problem is. One said I have Arachnoiditis, and others disagree. I am on several medications and now am considering taking the rods out to see if it is the cause?? I know how you feel. I cannot work or do any of the things I used to. Hang in there and be persistant with the doctors to find an answer.
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Avatar_m_tn
My name is Jill, I am 47 and I had my surgery in 1983, when I was 18.  I too suffer from hip and leg pain (right side).  My feet hurt terribly, especially at night when I lay down, that's when they get really bad. My right foot is the worst.  I also have really bad neck pain, between shoulder blades. I never even thought for a second that it could be my herrington rod. But I started looking around and found this site and so many silimar where others have same symptoms.  Now I'm scared.  I live on Advil.  I don't like medication.  I hope that we can all find help and relief!
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Avatar_f_tn
I had harrington rod when I was 17 now I'm 52 and in so much pain. My neck legs feet hurt and just found out I have an old compression fracture in lower back. Doctors look at me like I'm seeking drugs but there are times I can't take it. Thank God I found a doctor who believes me but I have been on morphine for over 10 years now mixed with oxycodone and I still hurt so I guess we are to just suffer and learn to live with the pain.  I have also been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease fibromyalgia arthritis so its not fun at all. When I found out about fracture the guy doing test said to me how do you even walk because your feet are full of arthritis. Go to my doctor on Monday and hope he got copy of results to see what can be done
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