Idiopathic scoliosis: the tethered spine II: post-surgical pain

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2014 Oct;18(4):501-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2014.05.001. Epub 2014 May 14.


The treatment of severe chronic pain in young people following surgery for the correction of curvatures of idiopathic scoliosis (IS) is presented through two case histories. Effective treatment involved release of myofascial trigger points (TrPs) known to refer pain into the spine, and treatment of related fascia and joint dysfunction. The TrPs found to be contributing to spinal area pain were located in muscles at some distance from the spine rather than in the paraspinal muscles. Referred pain from these TrPs apparently accounted for pain throughout the base of the neck and thoracolumbar spine. Exploratory surgery was considered for one patient to address pain following rod placement but the second surgery became unnecessary when the pain was controlled with treatment of the myofascial pain and joint dysfunction. The other individual had both scoliosis and hyperkyphosis, had undergone primary scoliosis surgery, and subsequently underwent a second surgery to remove hardware in an attempt to address her persistent pain following the initial surgery (and because of dislodged screws). The second surgery did not, however, reduce her pain. In both cases these individuals, with severe chronic pain following scoliosis corrective surgery, experienced a marked decrease of pain after myofascial treatment. As will be discussed below, despite the fact that a significant minority of individuals who have scoliosis corrective surgery are thought to require a second surgery, and despite the fact that pain is the most common reason leading to such revision surgery, myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) had apparently not previously been considered as a possible factor in their pain.

Keywords: Benign joint hypermobility syndrome; Chronic pain; Fascial pain; Idiopathic scoliosis; Late operative site pain; Myofascial pain syndrome; Scoliosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Fixators
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Neck / physiopathology
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy*
  • Pain, Referred / therapy*
  • Scoliosis / surgery*
  • Spine / physiopathology*
  • Therapy, Soft Tissue / methods*
  • Trigger Points
  • Young Adult