View Full Version : 12 yr old daughter/dancer with serious S curve

04-28-2005, 04:02 PM
I found out today that my daughter has a 45 degree lumbar curve and a 36 degree compensating curve toward the middle of her back. I also found out today that in a physical that she had before the start of the school year the doctor noted that she had some curvature of the spine but nothing serious (his notes re-read to me today). She has grown three inches since that appointment last August (perhaps more if her spine was straight). The school sent her home with a note to have this checked out and we went back to the doctor for an X-ray and it was very apparent she has scoliosis. I am new to this and I have found this site very helpful but I have some questions.

1. The doctor we met with today was not the resident expert and he initially was going to fit my daughter with a brace and told her that more than likely it would not involve surgery. After consulting the resident expert he came back to the room and said that he was going to schedule an appointment for us with this expert and do nothing for two weeks when we can get in. This sounded to me like the diagnosis was bad enough that surgery may be the recommendation. Can someone with a similar diagnosis tell me about their treatment?
2. Do you think the family doctor should have set a follow-up after finding this curvature?
3. She is on a competition dance squad and won state last year. What am I looking at for her mobility with or without the surgery?
4. If surgery is required when would she be able to dance again?

I know I am a bit premature with these questions but I want to be more informed. I have a lot more reading to do and I see the books that are out there. Your feedback is most appreciated.

04-28-2005, 04:29 PM
Welcome to the board.

First, take a deep breath and take this all one step at a time. Scoliosis is rarely an emergency situation. Each patient is unique. You mentioned she has a lumbar curve, with an upper compensatory curve. This is similar to my daughter. She is turning 19 in a few days and has not had surgery. We chose to wait and see... For her, it was a good option, so far. The statistics are good - her risks of progressing as an adult are minimal. We can only hope she fits into the right stats.

IMHO, your daughter needs to see a pediatric ortho who specializes in adolescent scoliosis. Getting more than one opinion is a good idea. That way you may hear of different options she will have.

You mentioned she is a competitive dancer. This is great. The more physically fit she is, the better she'll be. Having fit abs and back muscles helps support the spine. Most people who are physically fit have less back pain because their soft tissues are not weakened as much. The scoliosis doesn't cause as much tension and stress on the muscle tissue. Surgery or not, she should be able to continue dancing. Maybe not right away, but I haven't heard of anyone who had to stop dancing forever.

Does she have back pain? That would be a factor in deciding surgery sooner than later. And, with having a lumbar curve, the ortho may feel like surgery is a better option. Based on my daughter's experience, her 40 degree lumbar curve improved to now 32 degrees. She did wear a TLSO brace for about 6 months, but personally, I don't think it made a difference. She only wore it at night. My daughter's biggest issue is back pain and the rotation of the spine. Her rotation makes her appear to have a physical problem - i.e. her hips are not aligned, her waist is assymmetric, etc. She is thin so you can see these issues more clearly. Surgery won't guarantee the pain will go away. With her curves actually improving, we put surgery on the backburner for a long time (I hope).

RE: the family doc following up... that's a non-issue now. You can't go back and fix that. Concentrate on what you can do now.

Good luck!

04-28-2005, 05:39 PM

I may be able to help. I was your daughters age when I had my surgery(that was 11 years ago). I saw approximately four doctor's before they found how bad my spine was. I would absolutely recommend taking her to a ortho surgeon, possibly a Children's Hospital. Also, I was a competitive gymnast at the time. After surgery I did go back but had difficulty in gymnastics but was able to continue on a competitive dance team(which I am still doing today for college). Some moves maybe difficult but she will adapt fine. I wouldn't jump to conclusions about surgery quite yet but if it is recommended she will be just fine. If you have any questions I would be happy to answer! Good Luck

04-28-2005, 06:03 PM
"Based on my daughter's experience, her 40 degree lumbar curve improved to now 32 degrees."

Hi Carmell, I thought you could never ever lower your curve, all you could ever hope to do was "hold" your curve. How?! and What?! did your daughter do? Thanks!

04-28-2005, 08:00 PM
My daughter just had surgery in november and was a cheerleader before her surgery. To be honest, i think her cheerleading days are over. She used to be a flyer and there is no way with these rods in her back i would ever let her do that even if the dr. said she could, which i honestly don't think he would let her. I was just given a list of rescrictions and on it, it says no gymnastics ever. I was very surprised about that. NS you said you had surgery and were able to do gymnastics after. I guess every dr. is different though. I know to be on high school cheerleading they have to be able to do gymnastics, which even if in the future my daughter would be able to do she would not be able to do them for at least a year after surgery. I don't think the dance team do any of those things though. My daughter is 6 months post op and is now allowed to go back to dance class if she was in one before, but not hard jumping around.

04-29-2005, 11:21 AM

I honestly don't know how my daughter's curves improved over time. She has the typical, common adolescent idiopathic scoliosis issues. At age 14, the curves measured lumbar 39/thoracic 30. By age 18, her lumbar curve was 32 degrees and thoracic was less than 20. This seems to be more than the usual "margin of error +/-5 degrees" thing... And, visibly on xray, it looks much better. The only problem is that her rotation is still significant. Which means with low curve degrees, you can still SEE a physical deformity (i.e., her hips are uneven, her waist is uneven, etc.).

Kara was a casual dancer from age 10-14. After that, she had some back pain that was bothering her all the time. She picked up on some Pilates exercises that she still does today. I think keeping as physically fit as possible, not overeating, staying within a good weight range, etc. all helped, but not one thing was the key. She is 5'7" tall and weighs 115.

nicoles mom
04-30-2005, 10:05 AM
My Nicole Has Taken Dance Classes Sinice The 1st Grade. She Starter Wearing A Brace When She Was 10 Shes Going To Be 13 Next Month. She Was Still Able To Dance Being Braced. She Was Happy To Go Because Of Course She Was Albe To Take The Brace Off For Her Classes. She Had Surgery On March 30 The Doctor Told Her She Can Dance Again In Sept She Can Wait To Get Back To Dancing Loves To Dance Takes 4 Classes A Week. So Tell Your Daughter She Will Be Able To Dance Again After Surgery.

05-01-2005, 07:40 AM
Hi Carmell!

Thanks so much for responding. Kinda interesting, I'm happy for you and your daughter. I just bought the Elise Miller Yoga tape, and we'll give it a whirl! Pat

Jacque's Mom
05-02-2005, 04:06 PM
Pat, my daughter's spine actually straightened also. At one point she was at 28 degrees upper/22 lower and now she is 18 upper/12 lower, since last year. She has to go this month for another checkup and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. She is 18-1/2 and has been a dancer for years. She is just finishing her freshman year at college and also on the dance team. I was quite suprised with her degree also but since she was diagnosed at 11, her spine went up and down all the time with the curve. Her Dr. (Dr. Avella) said it does happen at times. He encouraged her to stay fit and keep dancing as it keeps her spine flexible. She has never experienced any pain other than muscle pain from dancing. I must admit though, every time I take her for her check-up (which is now yearly), I do hold my breath! Jacqueline got her period very young (ten) and her doctor said that was good as she was in her next growth spurt, her hips were even, etc. Has anyone else heard that from their scoliosis doctor? Just curious. LYNN