Back pain questionnaires were completed by a study group of 103 idiopathic scoliosis patients fused with Harrington rods from L3 or lower and a control group of 29 patients fused to L2 or above. Minimum time to follow-up examination was 2 years. The study group had a higher rate of secondary surgeries for complications or late disc disease below the fusion, a higher back pain score, more difficulties with normal daily activities, needed more regular pain medications, and had more episodes of back pain. Patients older than 30 years at surgery had more of these problems if fused to L3 or more caudally. The amount of remaining lumbar lordosis correlated significantly with the difficulty of normal daily activities.