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cherrylips
12-30-2010, 12:04 PM
Im new here. Im a 19 year old female living in Malaysia and i found out i had scoliosis when i was 11years old. At that point of time my curve was mild about 18 degress. My mom noticed that my shoulders were uneven and my right shoulder blade was more prominent than the other. So she took me to the doctors and thats when i found out i had this condition. So, the first option was observation and i did nothing just swimming and a lot of exercise like i was active in taekwondo and i played volleyball and running.

One year past and my mom noticed again that my curve had gone way worse and this time she noticed that my hips were also uneven. I visited the doctor again and i was told that my T18 curve was at T30 and i had developed at lumbar curve which was about 19 degress. So i was fitted with a boston brace at the age of 14. I had to wear it for 23 hours in a day. I used to cry and tell my mom it iches me and i was alergic to the plastic. So i only wore it at night when i go to bed.

And then when i was 16 i tried chiropractic because i had terrible back aches. It was ok and at that point of time my curve had progressed to 40 degress. So i had to continue wearing my brace and i did special exercises that were supposed to help me deal with the pain and also to strenghten my muscles. I stopped visiting the doctor because my parents could not afford it. And he told us that at by looking at my age, it will not get worse as i was "done growing". But unfortunately we were all wrong :(

Now im 19 and i just found out that my curve had progressed to 48 degrees and Im not sure whether i should have the surgery. The doctor told me that there is a possibility that my curve will get worse in the future. Its all up to me whether or not i wanna have it now. I've just started college and i have really terrible back aches worse than i had before because of the long hours of sitting. And i also have chest pains sometimes when i sit too long. Is it normal?? Is 48 degress bad or do you think i should wait?

Sorry for the long post, just I don't know If I should get the surgery or not. My heart says i should but im scared :(

Here's a picture of my x-ray

http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee125/joveen_91/111.jpg

hdugger
12-30-2010, 12:57 PM
I'm in no way qualified to give medical advice :)

In general, the surgical cutoff is 50 degrees. So, if you're over 50 degrees surgeons assume that you have a good chance of progressing and they often recommend surgery. If you're under 50 degrees, surgeons assume that you might not progress, and they often recommend non-surgical treatment meant to deal with the pain.

But, that's not really a hard and fast rule, it's just the way that doctors and insurance work in the United States.

My unqualified recommendation is to try different methods of dealing with the pain. If that works, then you can continue to monitor your curve (at least yearly until you're certain that it has stabilized). If the pain abates and your curve doesn't progress, then you're likely OK without surgery.

But, if you can't bring the pain under control and/or you continue to progress quickly, then surgery is the best option of solving your problem.

JenniferG
12-30-2010, 06:22 PM
Hi Cherrylips. Sorry you find yourself in this situation. I don't know what you've tried with regard to dealing with your pain, but at 48 degrees and with severe pain, I'm tending to think the surgery is worth thinking about. We are all very nervous about the surgery, but thankfully, the vast majority of us have good outcomes. Does your surgeon do a lot of scoliosis surgeries? Can you ask to speak to former patients? There are excellent books available on this surgery. My suggestion is to find out about it as much as you can, and the knowledge will help you deal with the fear.

Ask as many questions as you can think of. Many of us here have been in the same boat and are more than happy to tell of their own experiences.

Wishing you all the very best.

diane2628
01-01-2011, 09:03 PM
I don't think there's a magic number, it depends on how you're feeling and whether it's progressing. I wore a Milwaukee brace as a teenager, and was fine through my 20's. Then, at 30, it had gotten worse and I started having pain - not severe, but getting worse. Even though my curve was not much more than 50 degrees, I had surgery. That was almost 11 years ago. But I know some people who have had much worse curves and no pain - and people with smaller curves and more pain.

I would talk to a doctor about your options. If the pain is really bad and the curve is getting worse, surgery might be right for you. But there might also be exercises you can do to strengthen your back and improve your flexibility, which could help you to delay it.