View Full Version : Scoliosis doctor during the 70s and 80s

02-27-2004, 10:39 PM
Hello, I'm 31 and I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 5. It never got quite bad enough to warrant a brace, thank goodness, but I did see an orthopedic doctor every six months from the ages of 7 - 15 (1979 - 1987.)

I was wondering if anyone here had bad experiences with a scoliosis doctor during the 1970s or 1980s? For me, it was nothing short of a nightmare. The doctor insisted that I vigorously exercise two hours every day, and it had to be either swimming, cross country skiing or these horrible floor exercises. I did it. But if my back got worse between visits, the doctor would verbally berate me, saying "you must not be doing your exercises, or else your back wouldn't be worse." He also took numerous x-rays of my back almost every visit (every six months), so now I am at increased risk for cancer, especially internal organ cancer. I could go on and on, but I won't. I really feel that part of my childhood was robbed because of this.

Has anyone else here had similar experiences?

02-27-2004, 11:09 PM

I didn't have a similar experience (thankfully). I'm curious about why you haven't named the doctor.


02-27-2004, 11:13 PM
I was just wondering if anyone had had similar experiences, not necessarily with this particular doctor. But the doctor was Dr. Bill Mills in Anchorage, Alaska.

02-27-2004, 11:32 PM

Thanks. I was just curious.

Those of us who had scoliosis diagnosed in childhood went through the ordeal of frequent x-rays. It's not like they had a lot of options during the time of your treatment.

Fortunately, the medical community now has a lot more data which helps them determine whose curves are most likely to increase, have better methods for protecting the breasts, gonads, and ovaries during x-ray, and have ways to determine if curves are increasing without taking as many x-rays.

The good news for you is that your increased risk of cancer isn't horrendous. Here are links to some abstracts on the topic:


Hope that helps ease your mind a bit. I suspect that stress is far worse for one's long term health than over-exposure to radiation. :-)


Mary Lou
02-28-2004, 07:14 AM
I know what you mean about frequent x-rays. I don't think anyone (except maybe me) really questions their doctors. My daughter had been x-rayed at the end of December and was seen for a follow-up visit three weeks later. The nurse said we needed more x-rays and a told her we just had them done three weeks ago, do we really need to do them again so soon? She looked at me funny as though no parent has ever asked her that! She didn't get the x-rays.
I think when you were treated, things were so different. I'm sorry for your bad experience. I have to defend your parents, though, for not stopping the frequent x-rays. Being a parent in this situation is VERY SCARY. We want the best for our children, and the doctors are supposed to know best. :)