View Full Version : i ruined my life.

02-19-2007, 07:00 PM
when i was 13 i found out that i had scoliosis. i got a brace in the spring of 2005 when i was in 7th grade. i used to wear my brace when i first got it ALOT .... well i never, not once, wore it to school. but anyways last year i went to the dr. and my spine was better by 10 degrees. so i was like as i grow it will get better. now a day i never wear my brace. last week i went to the doctors. i now have a 45 degree curve. i went to a 32 degree. to a 22 degree and now to a 45 degree curve. the dr. said i have to wiat to see for surgey. im super scared if i get surgey dose that mean no more gymnastcs? i love gymnastics i been in it for 11 years. its turly how i release my anger. im so scared right now i just wanna cry

is gymanstics makeing my curve worse?

02-23-2007, 06:37 PM
I don't think gymnastics is making your curve worse. I've actually read it's good for bone density.

My DD was diagnosed with a curve of 40 - 42 degrees when we found out.

She is now in a brace & she does gymnastics via our park district & competes.

She has been doing gymnastics since she was 4 1/2 and she is almost 13 now.

She was told she can continue to do her sports (she is also a cheerleader), she just takes her brace off for those.

As far as surgery, I'm not sure but depending on what type of rods & things they do, then unfortunately I think gymnastics is one of the few sports that you can't go back to. HOWEVER, I thought I read somewhere about someone with scoliosis, had a surgery & was back to being a gymnast, so I'm not 100% sure.

Are you done growing? That will make make a difference regarding if the surgery is eventually needed. From my reading, 50 degrees seems to be the cut-off for surgery but it all depends on your risser number, etc... So, it's possible if you are done growing & your curve holds, you may not need the surgery.

Hang in there!!! I know how upsetting the thought of stopping is. I know how my daughter feels about gymnastics & it's very much the same way.

The Slice
02-24-2007, 06:47 AM
Kali, hang tough. Gymnastics certainly did not worsen your scoiliosis. What it may have done is help to slow the progression of the curve, but there's no real way of knowing. Talk to your doctor about whether getting back into a brace will help reduce the chances of having surgery. Understand that the brace is not meant to correct a curve, but to slow or stop it's progression, until your bones have matured, and hopefully have you avoid surgery. The chances are good that your not wearing the brace as you should have is actually the reason why the curves have progressed. In some kids even bracing doesn't work and they end up having surgery anyway (this tends to be when the scoliosis is caught late - toward the end of bone growth maturity). If you have surgery, you will definitely not be able to do gymnastics for at least some tme (while your spine is fusing), but eventually you may be able to go back to it. It's more likely that a decrease in flexibility in your back (not really noticeable for the ordinary activities) may affect your ability to perform some gymnastics moves. The best thing is to hang in there and take it one step at a time. Here's a couple of things that may help you figure out where you are in all of this. Have you gone through your growth spurt? Girls who are small in the years of middle school, tend to be girls who hit maturity a bit later. This is one of the reasons why they are so good at gymnastics (the small frame). Look at many of the female olympic gymnasts, many of them are around 4' 8" - 5' when they compete in their mid teens and then grow to somewhere between 5' and 5.5'. Whether you have begun menstruating is often times a good indicator as well. Most girls only grow about another 2" once menstruation starts. This last stage of growth is actually the growth of the spine. In the growth spurt it's usually the arms, legs, fingers, and toes that start things off. That's why kids often look and feel awkward during puberty - why they often look so tall and "spindley". I would definitely talk to your doctor about this and get a sense of where things are going, but remember that there is only so much that they can definitively tell you. Most of it is up to what your body does. Ask you doctor about continuing the gymnastics now while you are waiting. I'm fairly sure that you'll be told that it is actually very good for you to continue with it. The reason being that it will keep your spine flexible and will tend to help increase the amount of correction that can be achieved if surgery is warranted. (You can also ask them what the likelyhood of your being allowed to continue gymnastic after surgery.) I know that the prospect of not being able to continue with gymnastics is very upsetting, but the consequences of not having surgery (IF YOU NEED IT) can be far worse. Believe it or not there will come a time when the gymnastics will not feel as important a part of your life as it does right now. Here's another thought for you, I know it's not the same as doing the routines yourself, but perhaps you could put what you have learned to good use teaching/coaching others. Maybe even kids your own age who did not start out as early as you did. This would still allow you to be a part of the gymnastics environment. Don't give up yet!

02-24-2007, 09:19 AM
that was so well said.

I am a little confused. Dr. D'Andrea said the last part of the growth is the legs. Which is it, legs or spine?

02-24-2007, 11:19 AM
Gymnastics is not going to hurt your scoliosis. I was in it when I was really young. I benefited from it grately when I was little, even though my scoliosis did not physically show up until I was in my preteens. My scoliosis is so bad now that I have been in positions where it has become life threatening. I do yoga to help my back and I would not mind getting back into gymnastics. As a matter of fact, gymnastics can keep you flexible and help your spine to not get worse and keep the muscles from getting stiff and holding your spine in the messed up position it's already in. The yoga I do can retrain the muscles to straighten the spine completely and hold the spine in the correct position. I read in your private message that your mother would not let you go back into gymnastics. I don't think she should do that, even after your surgery. You should get back in to it. It can really help you.

02-24-2007, 11:29 AM
I was also told that the last bit of growth would be in the arms and legs. It seems to me though (now), that until the skeleton is fully mature all the bones may grow a bit (but not all at the same rate). Since my son's surgery, he has grown more, and I can tell the fused area is not as "long" as it could be. Not noticable to anyone but me. What really brought it to my attention was at the 1 yr. post-op I asked dr. about the rib hump, which I thought may have been progressing, but dr. said it was just that the bones were still growing/thickening.


The Slice
03-06-2007, 06:57 AM
I tried to find something on it via a Google search but cannot find the info that I'm looking for, but I'm sure that I've seen programs on TV related to the physical development of adolescents that says that for the most part, the long bones of the skeleton start a rapid linear growth during puberty. This would explain why kids often appear to be so long and skinny during puberty. The thing here is that whether or not that's true, there is more to the development than length. The mass and thickness of the bones grow as well, and as long as this developement is happening, there is still the opportunity for changes in the spine. You will notice that most kids with scoliosis, who have not had surgery, are monitored until they are between 16 and even 19 or 20 (depending on gender). This is why the x-rays that determine the condition of the growth plates at the end of the bones are so important. In most cases, because the images are subject to interpretation, this will only give a ballpark of their development, but a very close one. Because of this, most orthopods will recommend monitoring of the skeleton until the child is in their late teens, or even early twenties to be safe. Remember that the rate of change in scoliosis curves pretty well coincides with the rate of skeletal growth in puberty (that is in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The other thing to consider, particularly in girls/women, is that greater curves at the end of puberty, could lead to bigger problems later on in life should they develop problems with osteoporosis. This is why it's a good idea to consider surgery in their teens/early twenties, for curves that are borderline surgical candidates. That and the fact that they will tolerate surgery much better, and recover faster now, than if they wait until they are in their fifties, sixties, or later when osteoporosis starts presenting problems

03-08-2007, 12:56 AM
Hi Kali. I just wanted to let you know that you MAY have another choice if you do need surgery. There is a surgery where they use wires instead of rods. It depends on the type of curvature you have though. If you know much about using the internet, then you can find out about it. I think it is limited to single curves, not double (like what I have). Let me tell you, if you do have to have rods, it's definately not the end of your life and your life isn't ruined. I wore a brace for 2 1/2 years from 13 to 15 years old and it stopped the progression of my curves which were 50 and 45 in the shape of an "s" before my surgery just a little over 2 years ago. The reason I decided to have the surgery is because of the pain that I would have on a daily basis. The surgery, if you have to have the rods, is very tough to recover from, to say the least, but it's so very worth it. I feel better now than I did when I was 20 and I'm 35. That's saying a lot because I always thought I was doing so well and now I really know what it means to be doing well. I have almost no pain. The pain I have now is from pushing myself too hard, not from the surgery. Oh, and by the way, in case you're wondering, my curves are 27 and 25 now and I look just as straight as those without scoliosis. I don't know if your curvature is noticable through your clothing or not but mine always was, but now it's not and it's wonderful!!!
As far as your gymnastics, I know that it's definately NOT causing your back to get worse. Your spine has a defect in it that either progresses or doesn't according to your growth and also according to hormones. It has absolutely nothing to do with the activities you do. If anything, it helps by keeping your back more limber and exercise is ALWAYS a good thing for the spine.
If you have the surgery with the rods, then you won't be able to do the parts of gymnastics that require you do things like backbends, but other things like cartwheels and the like that don't require rounding of the spine, then you can do those things. Your movements would be more limited, but I think you could still do some of it.

03-08-2007, 06:03 PM

You shouldn't be so hard on yourself... everything will work out for the best. Keep your chin up. :) There are many things in life that I'm certain you'll find a love for as you have with gymnastics. For instance, Yoga is an excellent alternative to gymnastics without the excessive impact compression and spinal loading. It will offer the same benefits Slice was mentioning regarding flexibility in the spine etc..

I do feel it's important to accurately acknowledge contributing factors however, so I thought it would be appropriate to post the following.

2.15 Scoliosis And Rhythmic Gymnastics
P. Tanchev, A.Djerov, A.Parushev, D.Dikov
University Hospital of Orthopaedics "Gorna Bania", 56, N.Petkov St., 1614 Sofia, Bulgaria. Phone: 00359 2 55 01 42; Fax: 00359 2 55 30 63

In a survey of 100 girls, aged 11-15, having been trained actively in rhythmic gymnastics at least for a period of 5 years, we found a fivefold higher incidence of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). These data were compared to the results from a screening of 4800 students of the same age, carried out in Sofia by the same examining team in 1996.

A detailed familial and past diseases anamnesis was registered in all the probands. General physical and meticulous back examinations were carried out, and X-rays were taken in all the AIS suspected cases. Special attention was paid to the presence of generalised joint hyperlaxity, which had been usually the main criterion for the primary selection of 5-year-old-girls to start training in rhythmic gymnastics. Eating regimen, weight-height relations, growth and maturing development (delayed menarche or secondary amenorrhea) were assessed too. Intensity, duration and specific moments of the training process were carefully analysed, and a significant asymmetric loading and an extreme physical overloading of the body were found.

This study supports the multifactorial origin of AIS, and strongly suggests the important role of the following aetiologic triad in disturbing the growth of vertebrae and intervertebral discs: generalised joint hyperlaxity as a hereditary characteristic; delayed maturing caused by physical, dietary and psychic stresses; and persistent asymmetrical overloading of the growing spine. These findings in girls, practising rhythmic gymnastics, generate a hypothesis which needs to be juxtaposed on the characteristics of non-gymnast patients with AIS.

Best Regards,

03-08-2007, 06:24 PM

You're right, it will increase bone density. However increasing bone density will not prevent scoliosis... It is the asymmetric loading forces on the bones (thus endplates) that will cause uneven growth/deformation.

I certainly don't direct the following at you alone Becky, but after reading many of the posts on this thread I can't help but notice something. It seems more than just ironic that many of these posts refer to someones child, themselves or someone they know who has both scoliosis and does gymnastics. Wouldn't this raise a red flag? Why would we be seeing the presence and progression of scoliosis in people doing gymnastics and dismiss the idea that there may be a contributing factor involved? The physics/biophysics behind it certainly supports the idea.... :confused:

Kind Regards,

Karen Ocker
03-09-2007, 05:59 PM
This study supports the multifactorial origin of AIS, and strongly suggests the important role of the following aetiologic triad in disturbing the growth of vertebrae and intervertebral discs: generalised joint hyperlaxity as a hereditary characteristic; delayed maturing caused by physical, dietary and psychic stresses; and persistent asymmetrical overloading of the growing spine. These findings in girls, practising rhythmic gymnastics, generate a hypothesis which needs to be juxtaposed on the characteristics of non-gymnast patients with AIS

Some points about the study:
It is small-100 girls, it suggests a genetic component, it was done in a Communist country with apparent "delayed maturing caused by physical, dietary and psychic stresses" and finally they suggest further
research comparing those with scoliosis who do gymnastics with those who do not.

This study does not prove that gymnastics is harmful.

03-09-2007, 07:30 PM

What does Communism have to do with it???? Was there a conspiracy at play by the government to discourage kids from doing gymnastics??? ;) :rolleyes: And my point was not to "prove" anything, ...but just the same as your 'genetic theory", it clearly warrants further inquiry and research.

100 girls doing gymnastics were compared to 4800 girls in the same country not doing gymnastics. The odds were in favor of the point you're trying to make, yet it still showed a five-fold increase in occurance. ?? And couldn't we expect "genetic" factors to be present in the same proportions amongst the 4800 children in the non-gymnastics group??? Are you saying that children who do gymnastics are also more likely to be genetically predisposed to scoliosis? (mind you, the "genetic" predisposition is still a theory at this point... nothing "proven" as you like to say)

How could one quickly claim that axial compression couldn't possibly contribute to AIS? Seems logical... or is it only in the genes? :rolleyes: ;)

It's clear that there is evidence warranting a further look and certainly raises concern. Why would you want to argue that there is no concern here? Aren't we all looking out for the best interest of one another? There are more studies showing the same... do I need to post them for you?

Karen, this isn't about me and you, and who is right and wrong.... this is much bigger than that. I don't care about being right or wrong here, I'm just considering the likely possibility in situations where others are quick to dismiss. While you're placing your bets on gene therapy as the be all, end all answer, gravity is beating down on us all in it's elusively stealth fashion.



03-11-2007, 07:43 PM

how old are you? That is a big factor. I had a 45 or 47 (not sure) degree curve when I was diagnosed at 14 years old and 9 months (almost 15). My curve is now 52 degrees and I turned 18 in november. It is possible your curve grew in a short time but it doesn't mean it will continue to progress at that rate. I think mine progressed in a very short time because my school checked for scoliosis in 6th and 7th grade but mine was not caught until my physical before entering 9th grade. I would say keep doing gymnastics. It is keeping your back strong and flexible which can't be a bad thing. I love to dance and was a majorette (baton twirler) for 3 years in high school and my orthopedic surgeon told me it would not hurt me at all to keep going. Surgery is not set in stone for you and for now, try to think positive. I sometimes meditate on my spine and picture it strait. The mind is very powerful.

03-11-2007, 08:40 PM

03-15-2007, 12:54 PM
Going back to gymnastics will depend on what level of involvement you want. A friend of ours had surgery done 2 years ago - she was 13. Now she can do a backbend (I can't figure it out though) from standing up and she learned to do a front handspring. Lots of gymnastics should still be possible - some specific moves may be limited.
Our doctor does have a patient who has gone back to cheerleading - I'm not sure about competitive gymnastics.

Also, according to the surgeon - the back completes growth before puberty and then just the long bones and pelvis grow. The pelvis may still double in size whixh explains where some of the torso growth comes from if the spine is already done.

03-15-2007, 01:55 PM

Backbending occurs predominately in the lumber spine (lower portion of the spine). The thoracic spine does not extend very far... most extension happens below it in the the lumbars. So if someone has a fusion/rod implantation in the thoracic spine they, in theory, may still possess the ability to fully extend the lumbars.

I agree that some gymnastics would be feasible after surgery. The more compressive aspects of the sport will however influence and possibly cause problems with the discs at the transitions and into the remaining mobile segments. Because of the immobility of the fused portion of the spine the forces from vertical impact are transfered into the fewer mobile areas with greater intensity. This could lead to premature disc degeneration, collapse, herniation, etc or facet deterioration. Just something worth considering before it happens.

I don't mean to be discouraging, but there is a certain reality in the matter that, if acknowledged, could prevent further problems for folks.

04-25-2007, 10:46 PM
I have heard of girls with the surgery going back to volleyball, swimming, gymnastics, ballet and competitive cheerleading, but I think it depends on your surgical location. My daughters is scheduled for L1 to T6 and the doctor says she could do almost anything EVENTUALLY, because like many have said, her neck and lower back are not involved. And i wonder about the difference between rythmic gymnastics and gymnastics. It seems that the rythmic kids tend to be taller, and they appear to be more twisty. Perhaps they excel in that side of the sport because they are built for it, and what makes them excel is also the genetic area that results in scoliosis.

We have several folks in the family with scoliosis, and I have only 2 kids, one with scoliosis (my girl), and one who has brittle bones and delayed bone maturity (my boy). Isn't it weird how the kids in our family have crazy bones, tend to be tall eventually, the girls sometimes get scoliosis, and the boys break bones like crazy until puberty and then they grow a lot and testosterone hardens their bones to normal (from being in the first percentile for bone density). I keep wanting them to make a genetic database and check this stuff out. It cannot be coincidence.

- Martha K

05-02-2007, 09:59 PM
Please don't beat yourself up over that. From all my information and research and experience with my daughter (Alexandra-14, Risor 2, 48 degree C curve) there is no evidence that a brace can stop the progression of scoliosis. Alexandra is a dancer and was just told she is probably going to have to have surgery multiple times because she is still growing and will have to give up dance. We both just do not feel that is an option. I know you are scared, we are too, but the more people share information the better decisions we can all make. I have hope. I hope you do too.

05-07-2007, 03:06 AM
:) Kali, I am sorry to hear that you are having problems adjusting to your brace. I am a 42 yr old mom of 2 girls who thank god didnt inherit my scoliossis (hope I spelled it right) I was diagnosed and put in a Milwaukee brace till I was in my second year in High School, I was also in dance and gymnastics when this happend. I didnt let my brace interfere with a whole lot of things but I did have to limit my time on the things I did that required me to take off my brace. I wore mine to school and everything. I too was told to have surgury but I was also told I was borderline to have it or not. I know exactly what you are going through and I hope I can help. Please feel free to email me any questions you might have that can help. Just do what the doctors are telling you to do and listen to Mom. Believe it or not us Moms are really here to help. God bless and hope I can be of help to you or your mom. I live in Northwest Indiana and I see you live next door in Illinois.

05-30-2007, 08:37 AM
thanks for all the help everyone

05-30-2007, 03:32 PM
Hi Kali i do gymnastics too ;) My doctor said that gymnastics is very good for your back because it stretches the muscles in your back :o So I was exited because i didnt know if i was going to be able to do it either. But if you have to get surgery than im pretty sure you are not going to be able to do gymnastics :mad: Best of luck to you :)


06-10-2007, 12:34 AM
I never heard of gymnastics being good for your scoliosis back.. i think its the opposite and its bad because there are some things in gymnastics that make you bend down ( like when touching your toes) and curve your back.. (which is the oppsite of helping :rolleyes: )

09-18-2007, 12:43 PM
I had the surgery...I can do some gymnastics....

I can do kartwheels and handstands..I can do backbridges....i can bend over and touch the ground without bending my knees

I just can't do a front roll

But in my opinio...your whole self...and your body....and the health of your body...is more important than a hobby.

I know the words I used sounds kinda rude....but I really don't mean it it a rude way ;)