View Full Version : considering...

09-11-2008, 02:12 PM

I'm 23 years old and have just been told I need to have surgery- a spinal fusion from T4-T12. My curves are 53*T-spine/37*L-spine. I was not diagnosed when I was young. Perhaps I just happened to be absent each time they did those checks in school or maybe it was missed by my doctor. I will never know. I did not find out I had scoliosis until I was 17... I was told by a massage therapist!

My scoliosis has progressed 10 degrees in four years and here I am, faced with surgery.

Currently, I'm in the middle of a two year schooling program for x-ray technology. I have 10 months left and cannot really take the necessary time off to have surgery in the middle of it. My doctor tells me it's better not to wait.

Since I'm leaning towards waiting, I thought in the meantime I would do everything I can to prepare my body for the surgery that's down the road.
I'm considering:
-Myofascial Release
-Massage Therapy
-Heat Therapy
-Water Excersize
-Dietary Prep (including supplements)

?? Does anyone know anything about myofascial release or any supplements I should be taking?? I'm just trying to figure all of this out. My goal is to prepare my body for the best surgery outcome possible.

?? How long do you think it would take me to fully recover and be back to work without restrictions assuming that everything goes well?

My soon-to-be career is quite physically demanding so that concerns me too.

I'm sorry this is long. I just found this forum. This is my first post.

I hope someone reads this. No pressure to respond though.:eek:

-m i r a h

09-11-2008, 05:12 PM

First, don't do surgery until you are convinced that it is the correct answer. Also, strongly consider a second opinion. Less than six weeks post op, I have no regrets. It is, however, a tough road and you need to be mentally prepared for it. BTW, most of us have needed to wait several months to have surgery. I'd be leery of someone pushing for such speed that you can't finish your program. That is not to say that it is the wrong answer, as I am not a surgeon and do not know you. It just seems rushed.

Second, I found water aerobics and gym work very important for recovery. Strong thigh muscles are a huge benefit when everything in your torso feels under attack.

Third, I wish you the very best. BTW, recovery - although hard - is easier than the decision process.


09-11-2008, 05:39 PM
I agree with Cheryl, get a second opinion. Creving 10 degrees in 4 years does not sound like it is a huge rush to do it asap, but I would get a second opinion before making the choice. Tell the second doctor you are not too far away from finishing your course and would prefer to wait until that is over.

As for preperation, thighs and abs are important. It turns out that ab muscles are very important to spines, so make sure you do those ab workouts. There are ones for after surgery that do not require back bending too, using legs instead.

I'm 25 years post op and I do not regret my surgery, and I think you'll find that is true for the majority of us on the site.

And WELCOME by the way! :D There are a lot of people on this site who are abslutely great! Some big brains who know a lot too, (far more than I do) so if you have any questions keep asking them and someone will answer. :)


Nancy Joy
09-11-2008, 06:24 PM
I have just put my first post on but I discovered miafascial release in my late 20's and it provided the best relief and helped keep me going all these years. I became good friends with the physical therapist who knew how to do this. I sure would try it. Good luck!

09-11-2008, 06:58 PM
I agree, get a second opinion, Scoli is not a medical emergency. Since you are in your 20's I would try to find an orthopedic doc that deals with adult scoli patients and that has LOTS of experience doing surgery on adults.


09-11-2008, 07:30 PM
Hi Mirah! Welcome to the forum! I agree with the others about seeing someone else since your doctor is pushing for surgery really soon. It seems like, unless there are problems we don't know about, that it could wait a little longer while you finish your studies. As for recovery time, since you are pretty young, it won't take as long as some of us. You might check with some of the others in their twenties who had surgery this past year-- vndy, nzgirl, briarrose, rosie1108-- those are some that came to my mind. Since your job is pretty physical, it will take longer-- but you can read Pam's posts and see how quickly she's back to playing ball-- and she's a bit older than you. So maybe it won't be all that long. It depends on many factors, including the extent of the surgery, your condition/health, etc. Best wishes as you figure out what to do next. :) Susie

09-11-2008, 08:51 PM
Hi Mirah - welcome :)

Everyone else has addressed most of your post much better than I could, but you also asked about supplements. Personally, I favour a good, balanced diet over popping a lot of pills, because there are SO many nutrients in food that they just can't all be put into the one pill! I'd aim for a varied, healthy diet that includes veggies, fruit, whole grains, lean meat (or other protein sources like beans & legumes), & dairy. Look up your recommended daily intakes of different minerals, fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, etc.. Google or Wikipedia should be able to give you estimates. If you're concerned you're not getting enough nutrients, I'd try talking to your doctor or a dietician. Personally, I know I run very low in calcium, vitamin D, & many electrolytes so I take supplements of those. But, if you're already getting enough through your diet, mostly you'll just be peeing out your expensive pills ;)

If you aren't already, I'd also use exercise to get in the best physical condition possible - as well as strength exercises, I'd do regular cardio work, even if it's 30 minutes of fast walking or swimming a couple times a week. This will help your endurance, fitness, & lung capacity, all of which will help through surgery/recovery. Weight-bearing exercises like walking also help to build bone strength (good for helping your fusion to take well).

I can't remember the actual time frames, but your surgeon will give you a list of post-op time periods when you can start getting back into physical things. As with all surgery, heavy lifting is a no-no for a few months (I think 6, or maybe 12 for fusion?), & no lifting for the first couple of months. Also, you'll have to get used to a whole new way to balance & move - not too hard, but just something to remember. If you'll be planning study or work around the surgery, factor in the sheer exhaustion that often persists long after the post-op pain - slowly get back into doing things & don't push yourself too hard. Rest is important to healing!

I'm 22, heading for my 2nd rod revision (long story, mostly because I have osteoporosis), had my original surgery (T2-L3?) when I was 12 & an extension (L3-pelvis) when I was 14. I have other medical problems as well, so my recovery was maybe a bit longer than usual, not sure. I was in hospital about a week both times, continued on pain meds for another 3 wks or so I think, & was back at school at about the 2-month post-op mark.

It's definitely a process you need to be committed to & have some support going into it. Recovery is tough, but I DON'T REGRET IT ONE BIT. Once you're recovered, I doubt you'll notice much difference in how you can move, except that you won't be able to arch your back to stretch!

I'd second the idea to get another opinion, because 10 deg in 4 years is not earth-shattering, & your curve might progress less slowly than many because you're through with growing spurts, which speed things up. I think you have time to do your homework here, & to finish your course...but I'm not a doctor, so I'd definitely run it by an adult scoli specialist. All the best to you, whether you decide to go down this path or not.


Ginger W.
09-11-2008, 11:17 PM
Here's a big factor: PAIN.

If you are managing to get through your days without disabling pain, then there's a good chance you can finish up your program and look at surgery when you have that degree in hand. I understand it's really tough to get into x-ray technology school and it might not be so easy to pick it back up later.

09-12-2008, 01:42 PM
Thanks to all of you who responded to my post... and so quickly!!
I was amazed.

I feel pretty confident that surgery is the right decision. The whole "feeling rushed" thing is primarily coming from ME, not my doctor. He was just saying that right now I am the youngest I'll ever be... and blah blah blah.

I am by no means weary of him. He's an extremely reputable spine surgeon that specializes in adult scoliosis. Dr. David M. Montogomery.
....... Not to say I won't value a second opinion.