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Thread: Need help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    2

    Need help

    My son is 17 years old. Thorasic 41, lumbar 46. He is in quite a bit of pain. Just recently he started having muscle spasms down his right leg. His ortho Dr. wants him to go back to PT again for more specific spinal strengthening. He has already had PT and a back brace. His curvature worsened by 5 degrees on both. We live in Fort Wayne, In. The Dr. mentioned that if he has surgery he will only have 2 discs left of his own. If anyone can give me sound advise, Please?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    424
    Hi Andrews Mum, Does his Doctor specialise in Scoliosis? If he doesn't, maybe try to seek one out that does. I'm a little confused as to what he means that he will only have two of his own dics left. Does he mean unfused? Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that Orthopaedics have had their fair share of training and experience, but, i for one would not let anyone without experience in this field touch my spine. Feel free to ask more questions, as the members of this forum are absolutely fantastic.
    Vali
    44 years young! now 45
    Surgery - June 1st, 2009
    Dr David Hall - Adelaide Spine Clinic
    St. Andrews Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia
    Pre-op curve - 58 degree lumbar
    Post -op - 5 degrees
    T11 - S1 Posterior
    L4/5 - L5/S1 Anterior Fusion

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,801
    Hi....

    I moved your thread to the Parents forum. (You put it in the kid's forum.)

    I personally think it's reasonable to try another round of physical therapy. If the therapist is good, and your son is diligent about doing the exercises, he might just be able to avoid surgery. There's really no reason to rush to surgery with only a 5 degree increase, as that's within the normal margin of error. It's possible the curves haven't increased at all. Waiting for 6 months or a year is probably the best tactic in most cases, especially when the expert is recommending just that.

    I suspect that what the surgeon mentioned about 2 discs left, is that he feels he'd have to fuse down to L4, which would leave only the L4-L5 and L5-S1 discs free below the fusion. (Your son would probably also have some discs free above the fusion.) Most of the motion in the spine comes from the lumbar discs. Fusing low into the lumbar spine is definitely something to avoid if possible, as the risk of having to extend the fusion in the future, is relatively high. I was fused to L3 about 17 years ago. The 3 discs below the fusion are now all shot, and I'll almost certainly have to be fused to the sacrum at some point in the future. My story is relatively common.

    Regards,
    Linda

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    2
    Thank you for your answers. I was thinking I had read that normally if the curvature goes over 40 degrees surgery is recommended. I am really not sure what to do. He has a PT appt. on the 16 of this month, so I guess we will go from there. He also is homeschooled as he has had severe migraines since the age of 5

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    6,801
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew's Mom View Post
    Thank you for your answers. I was thinking I had read that normally if the curvature goes over 40 degrees surgery is recommended. I am really not sure what to do. He has a PT appt. on the 16 of this month, so I guess we will go from there. He also is homeschooled as he has had severe migraines since the age of 5
    50 is the new 40

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    100
    Andrew's Mom: Has your son had an MRI yet to rule out anything that might be causing the pain and spasms?

    Are you working with a doctor that specializes in scoliosis or an overall ortho doctor? You definitely want to seek out a doctor that specializes in scoliosis.

    I believe most boys do not stop growing until somewhere around 18. Girls are a different story. If his numbers are already that high I'd say your son will likely be a candidate for surgery.

    How often is he getting x-rays? How much has the curve progressed from the two most recent x-rays?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    8,903
    Some adults have gotten pain relief from the Spinecor brace but he might have to wear it the rest of his life. If it kept him out of surgery and took away all his pain it might be an okay tradeoff. Or he might get sick of wearing it and try surgery at that point. Anyway, it might be worth a try.

    Good luck.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

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