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Wakatie
07-26-2006, 03:46 AM
I was just wondering, does anyone know how much curves are likely to progress over the years? I have heard 1 degree per year is common in adults, but I have also heard that however the curve has progressed in the past (after adolescent growth is complete) is usually how fast it will continue to grow. I am curious because if my curve gets worse at 1 degree per year, then in 10 years I would have a 65 degree curve. But, it has gone from 29 degrees to 55 degrees in less than 5 years, all after my growth was finished. If it gets worse at 5 degrees per year, in ten years I'll have a 100+ degree curve. Is that really possible? I'll only be 30 years old in 10 years! Could I at some end up so curved that I could be unable to walk? I am just curious as to what would happen (based on statistical likelihood) if I just ignored it (which I am not planning to do!)

Kathryn

Singer
07-26-2006, 08:29 AM
Everyone's rate of progression is different - but -- ON AVERAGE, progression tends to speed up after 50 degrees because the back begins to lose its ability to compensate for the curve.

sweetness514
07-26-2006, 02:09 PM
My curves were first diagnosed at age 12-38 thoracic, 34 lumbar. Wore Boston brace for most of my teenage years, so at age 18 they were-60 thoracic, mid 20's lumbar. Got measured three times in three hospitals in the next 8 years and they stayed the same, actually the lumbar even decreased a bit more. So it's different for everybody, but it's good to get it checked regularly.

LindaRacine
07-26-2006, 11:25 PM
Hi Kathryn...

There's no way to know for sure, but it's unlikely that your curve will progress at more than 1-2 degrees a year. You should ask your scoliosis specialist to be sure, but the more rapid increase was probably due to having some growth left (despite the fact that you appeared to be skeletally mature).

Regards,
Linda

Silverfox
07-27-2006, 01:53 PM
Wakatie, once curves go past 50 degrees doctors usually start to consider surgery. As you know your degree of curvature I guess you are seeing a specialist. Maybe they advised you to have surgery. If you are not seeing a specialist at the moment I think you should arrange to see one. I don't think you have to worry much about getting a 100 degree curve. It usually only gets that bad in the early onset types of scoliosis from what I understand. the main thing is to find a doctor you trust and listen carefully to their advice.

LEELEE85
07-31-2006, 01:31 AM
Wakatie, once curves go past 50 degrees doctors usually start to consider surgery. As you know your degree of curvature I guess you are seeing a specialist. Maybe they advised you to have surgery. If you are not seeing a specialist at the moment I think you should arrange to see one. I don't think you have to worry much about getting a 100 degree curve. It usually only gets that bad in the early onset types of scoliosis from what I understand. the main thing is to find a doctor you trust and listen carefully to their advice.
I agree with Silverfox. Once your curves are around the 50 degree mark there most likely to progress over the years. Take me for example i was diagnosed at 14 yrs old with a 50 degree upper and around a 50 degree lower curves. I was told to come back when i was 18 yrs old to see how everything is, silly me just ignored it and now at 21 yrs old just went to the specialist today and found out my upper curve has progressed to around 60 degrees but my bottom hasn't moved at all. So that means it progressed 1 - 2 degree a year. Now im having surgery. Never rule out that your curve won't progress just because you've stopped growing, remember gravity can cause progression.

LEELEE85
07-31-2006, 01:32 AM
I agree with Silverfox. Once your curves are around the 50 degree mark there most likely to progress over the years. Take me for example i was diagnosed at 14 yrs old with a 50 degree upper and around a 50 degree lower curves. I was told to come back when i was 18 yrs old to see how everything is, silly me just ignored it and now at 21 yrs old just went to the specialist today and found out my upper curve has progressed to around 60 degrees but my bottom hasn't moved at all. So that means it progressed 1 - 2 degree a year. Now im having surgery. Never rule out that your curve won't progress just because you've stopped growing, remember gravity can cause progression.

briarrose
07-31-2006, 12:01 PM
I completely understand your concern. At age 16 my curve was 18 degrees and my doctor thought it would stay put. I started having a lot of pain when I was 20 so I had some xrays done and my curve was 33 degrees. Now I'm 24 and my curve is 44 degrees. I'm progressing around 3 degrees per year. My doctor thinks I'll need surgery but wants to wait to see if I keep on progressing. I'm just going to keep getting checked every year (and somehow try to deal with the pain in the meantime).

Good luck!

LindaRacine
07-31-2006, 03:43 PM
I completely understand your concern. At age 16 my curve was 18 degrees and my doctor thought it would stay put. I started having a lot of pain when I was 20 so I had some xrays done and my curve was 33 degrees. Now I'm 24 and my curve is 44 degrees. I'm progressing around 3 degrees per year. My doctor thinks I'll need surgery but wants to wait to see if I keep on progressing. I'm just going to keep getting checked every year (and somehow try to deal with the pain in the meantime).

Good luck!
Sometimes pain can actually cause the spine to curve. I wonder if that's what's happening in your case.

--Linda

briarrose
08-01-2006, 03:11 AM
Sometimes pain can actually cause the spine to curve. I wonder if that's what's happening in your case.

--Linda

I've never heard that before. How does this happen?

Thanks for your reply :)

lostfan
08-01-2006, 02:18 PM
Wakatie,

I just wanted to throw in a thought here also. Just strictly from my own experiene. My main curve progressed about 12* over the course of 20 years so I thought I was in the clear...figured I could avoid surgery no problem at that rate. This year when I went to get checked I found out that although the main curve in my thoracic spine was progressing very slowly...I have a compensatory curve in my Lumbar spine that got 10* worse over the years. This curve is causing my lower back pain and has also made my body VERY noticibly decompensated to the right side. MY doctor told me that the curve can indeed progress to 100* even later in life, it wouldn't happen over night but it can happen...and by then I would be way too old for surgery. There is no magic age where it just stops getting worse because you've reached a certain degree or age. You also need to factor in other changes like the degree of your rotation and how flexible your spine is...I thought just because my numbers on the xrays weren't changing drastically that I was in the clear. Even if the curve doesn't get worse, the rotation can and your spine can become more rigid. I was told by 2 doctors that if I get my surgery now he could do it posterior only and if I wait much longer, he said he would have to do the anterior release also.

When I joined this forum I was dead against surgery and was looking for others who didn't/wouldn't have surgery but after reading everything here and reading up on some books and other info I've come across, I've decided to have the surgery now. I will be 38 in the fall and had a 50* curve at the age of 18 and was told back then to have surgery but I refused. My appointment is Aug. 30th with my surgeon. I want scheduled for surgery as soon as he can fit me in.

sweetness514
08-01-2006, 04:57 PM
Wakatie,

I just wanted to throw in a thought here also. Just strictly from my own experiene. My main curve progressed about 12* over the course of 20 years so I thought I was in the clear...figured I could avoid surgery no problem at that rate. This year when I went to get checked I found out that although the main curve in my thoracic spine was progressing very slowly...I have a compensatory curve in my Lumbar spine that got 10* worse over the years. This curve is causing my lower back pain and has also made my body VERY noticibly decompensated to the right side. MY doctor told me that the curve can indeed progress to 100* even later in life, it wouldn't happen over night but it can happen...and by then I would be way too old for surgery. There is no magic age where it just stops getting worse because you've reached a certain degree or age. You also need to factor in other changes like the degree of your rotation and how flexible your spine is...I thought just because my numbers on the xrays weren't changing drastically that I was in the clear. Even if the curve doesn't get worse, the rotation can and your spine can become more rigid. I was told by 2 doctors that if I get my surgery now he could do it posterior only and if I wait much longer, he said he would have to do the anterior release also.

When I joined this forum I was dead against surgery and was looking for others who didn't/wouldn't have surgery but after reading everything here and reading up on some books and other info I've come across, I've decided to have the surgery now. I will be 38 in the fall and had a 50* curve at the age of 18 and was told back then to have surgery but I refused. My appointment is Aug. 30th with my surgeon. I want scheduled for surgery as soon as he can fit me in.

I think you have taken a right and very smart way about it, by gathering info and also waiting to have surgery until you were ready, since you're still young and especially if your doctor told you you don't have to have anterior as well and are still flexible, it's a plus. I also waited some years and didn't have surgery at 18, like they wanted me to. I never have second guesses about that(on the contrary, I was pain free and highly flexible then), b/c I know how a fusion puts added presure on disks and if you would have had it then, maybe you would have problems in those unfused vertebreas now. Also, surgical techniques evolve every year and they also change the hardware they use(like the Harrington rods who are replaced now).

Good luck to you, wish you the best.

LindaRacine
08-01-2006, 04:58 PM
I've never heard that before. How does this happen?

Thanks for your reply :)
Sometimes, one will change their posture as a reaction to pain, and doing so causes the spine to curve. In that case, the curve(s) would be non-structural.

--Linda