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my daughter's scoliosis problem

Cathy Tucker

Message 11 of 14 Previous Next

Your daughter's story sounds like my own story when I was her age. My scoliosis was diagnosed when I was 11 yrs. old and my orthopedic doctor kept track of my growing spells and at 13 I had a fusion to correct the curve to a point where it would not be over 50 degrees off. I had surgery for scoliosis in Atlanta in 1964. At that time, the surgery was done somewhat differently from how it is done now. First of all, I did not have any metal (no Harrington rod) and not even my own bone graft for the fusion. They used bone from a bone bank and it healed very nicely. Also, the post surgery time frame was much different then. I wore a body cast for eight months (that was the horrible part). My mom had to sew all of my clothes to get them to fit over the cast and back then the schools were not air conditioned and the first few months of school were horrible. This surgery was a difficult decision for my parents but the doctor told them that if I didn't have it, there was a high risk that some vertebrae could puncture my lungs or heart after I was in my 30's. That was enough said and they definitely decided to go with the surgery. After the surgery in 1964, I never had a moments problem with my back until I was almost 45. The only restriction that had been given to me was not to dive off a "high" diving board. (No problem there) I had a very active life after my cast was removed eight months after surgery. I skated, danced, swam, bowled, got married and had two children and all the work that goes with parenthood. Never even had a slight backache until I was almost 45. To make this story somewhat short, I had a lumbar microdisc surgery for two herniated discs and six months later had to have a lumbar fusion with six screws, plates, and rods. That time, bone was taken from my hip for the fusion. I did find out during all of the last surgeries that having scoliosis makes me more at risk for degenerative disc disease. Also, with the aging process, the scoliosis causes more breakdown to the spinal column. I will say this and you can take it with a grain of salt. I do not regret my parents making the decision in 1964 to help correct my curve. I have never been perfectly straight, but I wear loose tops, blouses, etc. and many people that I worked with for over 20 years had no idea that I had scoliosis. I was able to do everything in life that I wanted to do. I did have to retire at age 46, but I had enough years with my company to get a disability retirement and I am also on Social Security Disability. My back hurts everyday, sometimes it is worse than others. I am on pain management medications and if I try not to do much housework, etc., the pain is bearable. I just know that if I had not had the surgery years ago, I would have not been able to have as much of a normal life that I did. I personally would not trust a chiropractor to touch my back (since I have scoliosis). They just do not have enough education to make a decision on bones that have to last you a lifetime. There is no way that they can eliminate the scoliosis. I wish you both the best of luck in whatever decision you might make. Please feel free to email me if you have any more questions. I have two grown daughters now and I know it is horrible to see them going through something like this, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. (Thank God, neither of my daughters had scoliosis, but we had our share of other medical problems now and again).


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