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Thread: Younger Patient Fears Future Pain?

  1. #1
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    Younger Patient Fears Future Pain?

    Newbie here. Thanks in advance for any advice!

    I'm had scoliosis since I was 7 or 8 and am now 24. My mother pushed to have me in a brace and discussed surgery but the doctors never thought the curvature was bad enough. So far, nothing really hurts.

    But my mom continues to worry, and to warn me that unless I pursue aggressive treatment now I'll be in severe pain as I age. I, being young, invulnerable, and broke, and having gone through a whole lineup of doctors over the years none of whom really seemed to agree on a treatment plan or whether one was even needed, cannot help but wonder if she's overreacting. Can anyone advise?

    I am rail thin and one chiropractor told me this helps keep pressure down. Also, occasionally, when I sit for a long time, something in the front side of my ribs feels compressed. I'll lay flat lat on the ground for a few minutes or hang upside-down from a tree to relieve the pain, but this is rare and lately I've noticed that it usually coincide with wearing a tight bra band.
    Last edited by SkyFish; 06-30-2014 at 03:54 AM.

  2. #2
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    Hi and welcome.

    It's really hard to know what is gong on without radiographs. If you re having symptoms, you should get them to see if there is anything that can be identified as the cause.

    Do you think your curve has gotten bigger over the years? Where is the curve?

    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."

  3. #3
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    Hi and thanks!

    I don't have exact numbers on the curve. I should probably get that data - and the x-rays - from my chiropractor. I do know it's a side to side "S" curve and one of the bends was 13. Both were under 19 - which I believe is when they operate.

    The curves progressed while I was little but I think they've been fairly stable since mid high school.

    This probably is ridiculously stupid, but I'm leery of sharing my worries with the doctor/chiropractor. The one my mom likes now flipped out when she saw my x-rays, and had me in 3 times a week for 6 months, while the one I'd had in high school had taken more of a "nobody's straight" approach and told me not to worry. Maybe I should look for a third (6th? 8th?) opinion, but there have been so many opinions over the years and I'm either going to spend my older years in agony or I'm majorly overreacting. I guess I just wondered if it ever happened that people had scoliosis without pain or if I'm automatically doomed.
    Last edited by SkyFish; 06-30-2014 at 02:03 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkyFish View Post
    Hi and thanks!

    I don't have exact numbers on the curve. I should probably get that data - and the x-rays - from my chiropractor. I do know it's a side to side "S" curve and one of the bends was 13. Both were under 19 - which I believe is when they operate.
    Let me guess... did the chiro tell you the surgery cut-off was 19*? Chiros don't know anything about surgery and so should not be talking about any aspect of it with clients. When they are not mistaken they might be deliberately deceiving you to get your business. There are various cut-offs that take into account curve magnitude, patient age, and other factors. The actual surgical cut off for a growing adolescent is around 50*, not 19*. See? Not even close.

    The curves progressed while I was little but I think they've been fairly stable since mid high school.
    That fits with the general idea I am getting that you have a very small curve. Small curves don't tend to progress.

    This probably is ridiculously stupid,
    No it isn't. Any question that occurs to you is a good question. You are just trying to get some good information and frankly, you are starting from a bad place of misinformation if you only ever dealt with a chiro and not someone trained in spine like a surgeon. Surgeons don't only do surgery. In fact they try not to do surgery.

    but I'm leery of sharing my worries with the doctor/chiropractor. The one my mom likes now flipped out when she saw my x-rays, and had me in 3 times a week for 6 months, while the one I'd had in high school had taken more of a "nobody's straight" approach and told me not to worry. Maybe I should look for a third (6th? 8th?) opinion, but there have been so many opinions over the years and I'm either going to spend my older years in agony or I'm majorly overreacting. I guess I just wondered if it ever happened that people had scoliosis without pain or if I'm automatically doomed.
    You are correct not to talk any further with a chiro for any issue except possibly pain. Chiros have no relevant training to be treating scoliosis, especially in kids. If you have a small curve, the one who wigged out your mother and stole your money by having you come three times a week for a useless treatment is a horror of a human being for scaring you and your mother. These people have no shame. There is no evidence chiro stops progression or reduces curves.

    If you are having symptoms (pain) you should consult an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spine. They also advise people like you who are probably not surgical. They are the only people trained to treat scoliosis so they are the only legitimate game in town.

    You are not destined to have any extra pain due to scoliosis, especially if your curves are small. Some people with large curves have no pain though that is infrequent I think. The problem is the vast majority of people without scoliosis have pain bad enough at some point in their life to go to a doctor. So nobody escapes back pain... if you get it, you are in the same boat as everyone else.

    Please try to forget everything that chiro and every chiro told you and get an expert opinion for a change.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 07-01-2014 at 05:49 AM.
    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."

  5. #5
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    Hi Skyfish...

    I fell for the chiropractic BS in my 30's. I had always been told I had a little bit of scoliosis, but didn't have a clue what that really meant. I started having neck pain in my early 30's, and went to a chiropractor for help. He took radiographs, which is how I discovered I had an S curve, with both curves around 50 degrees. The chiropractor convinced me that I should see him 3 times a week. I'm ashamed to admit that I went to the chiropractor for almost a year. At the end of the year, I realized that I had started having back pain (I didn't have any back pain when I first went to him), and my neck pain was worse. I never went back. I ended up having surgery about 10 years later. My curves had each progressed about 10 degrees during that time.

    Will you have pain when you get older? Probably. About 85% of adults have at least occasional back pain. Most of those people have structurally normal spines. My advice would be to 1) get into some type of core strengthening program and 2) do what you can to minimize the amount of time you sit.

    I hope you can avoid surgery. If you can't, it isn't the end of the world.

    Regards,
    Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  6. #6
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    Ahhhh......Young and broke with scoliosis, the good old days.

    Uncle Ed here used to have inversion boots back in the day,(1982)hang upside down in the closet just like Grandpa from the Munsters, and invite people over for cocktails.....Those were good times.....(smiley face) I had a lot of fun! In 1975, I was a surgical candidate with twin 50 degree curves, snow skied big mountain style with big airs, Lived at Lake Tahoe, shoveled 24 inches of snow every second day, split and carried around 10 cords of wood for the stove. That was my scoliosis program. It didn’t work, but I had tons of fun! There were only a handful of scoli surgeons back then, and I had no insurance. I had a ski pass.....

    I think the word that describes some in the Chiropractic profession best is the word “hoopla”

    hoop·la [hoop-lah] Show IPA
    noun Informal.
    1.bustling excitement or activity; commotion; hullabaloo; to-do.
    2.sensational publicity; ballyhoo.
    3.speech or writing intended to mislead or to obscure an issue.

    I used Chiropractic for pain control for 25 years. It was an easy method used without medications that served its purpose. As far as correction of curves is concerned, it doesn’t work. I’ve done those studies....

    If there is some way you can get copies of your x-rays, even from your Chiro, you can hang them up, snap a photo, and post them here. Just tell them you want your own copy. Select the longest one you can.

    Hang in there.....and relax!

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 55, the new 39...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    A/P T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  7. #7
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    Gosh, you guys have given me a lot to think about. Thank you. I've been doing some research too, and while I can testify to chiropractors ability to fix headaches there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of proof that they've done much for scoliosis.

    I'll see about getting x-rays, but in the meantime, I talked things over with my mom, asking her why she chose the route she did and such. She tells me - per the latest chiropractor - that there's 3 or 4 stages of scoliosis progression and that my last set of x-rays show that I'm entering what I think was a stage #2 where the curve on your back bend the vertebrates so one side is too close together and nerves get pinched, the jell-pad-things that are between the vertebrates are destroyed, and eventually the vertebrates grow together. Has anybody heard of that?

    (Apologies for my non-technically jargon is totally off.)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkyFish View Post
    She tells me - per the latest chiropractor - that there's 3 or 4 stages of scoliosis progression and that my last set of x-rays show that I'm entering what I think was a stage #2 where the curve on your back bend the vertebrates so one side is too close together and nerves get pinched, the jell-pad-things that are between the vertebrates are destroyed, and eventually the vertebrates grow together. Has anybody heard of that?

    Pure bullsh*t. Chiro schools have the lowest GPA of any of the allied health professions and it shows. Chiros should not be treating scoliosis. They have no training.

    This article has quotes from chiro school students...

    http://www.rebuildyourback.com/chiropractic/doctor.php

    Equivalent to Med School or a Joke?

    So, based on what these chiropractors are telling us, it would appear that Chiropractic College really is just a fraud factory.

    It appears that it is nothing more than a make-believe school put together by make-believe doctors designed to lure unsuspecting students into a career where they have to "fake it 'till they make it" as one school slogan seems to imply.

    The evidence seems pretty overwhelming.

    I do want to point out again that a complete bibliography with links to the original source material is included below so you can verify that I did not quote anyone out of context.

    Every source quoted from is worth reading in its own right and will provide you with even more insights into this very controversial topic.
    Here's a comparison of admission requirements of med school versus chiro school...

    http://www.rebuildyourback.com/chiro...c/students.php

    So we see that medical school obviously sets the higher standard for admission and is only looking to select the cream of the crop. They aren't trying to take a bunch of average students and somehow magically turn them into brilliant scholars.

    Chiropractic schools on the other hand aren't so picky. They don't care who you are or what your motivation is. If you can obtain the minimum requirements and pay the tuition, you're in.

    Here's what some chiropractors have to say about this situation:

    … low entrance GPA requirement guarantees that chiropractors are the dumbest of all health care providers. [6]

    Chiropractic schools are essentially trade schools, tuition dependent, and generally can not afford to be picky about choosing who's admitted. And because the schools require the tuition to remain open, they also can't afford to LOSE anyone, who, even at a chiropractic school, is below par. [7]

    Chiropractic students STILL argue about why they have to take all this "medical stuff…" [7]

    Of course, this low minimum standard does not mean that someone of superior intellect and abilities won't be part of the class. It just means there will be a lot of mediocre (or worse) doctors of chiropractic being turned loose to "practice" on the public.
    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."

  9. #9
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    http://www.rebuildyourback.com/chiro...curriculum.php

    Same Name Different Course

    If you look in a chiropractic college catalog it would appear that the course listings are the same as in a medical school. But this apparently is not accurate. By all accounts, the courses actually taught bear little resemblance to the real thing as these former chiropractors reveal:

    The medical portion of a chiropractor's education is a simulation… [8]

    … the medical and science courses that ARE listed for chiropractors represent little more than a theatrical prop, like the white jacket and stethoscope needed to "Play a doctor in real (insurance-reimbursable) life." [7]

    "A CCE report from their lawsuit against Life University reveals… that Life was not teaching [differential diagnosis] at all. Instead of the real subject and despite representations in admissions materials that it was being taught… students merely learned to qualify every patient using non-validated chiropractic diagnostic procedures…" [18]

    Life University has been teaching that chiropractors should not perform differential diagnosis (listing possible medical conditions and doing what is necessary to determine whether they are present) -- a policy that places patients at considerable risk. [4]

    The only physical examinations we performed were on our fellow students. Except for a radiology course in which we actually viewed x-ray films, our other disease-related classes provided little practical information. [5]

    Basic sciences: My biochemistry and physics teacher maintained that you weighed less when you picked one foot off the ground and that there was no gravity on the moon. [7]

    Microbiology: When asked about the size of a virus, the professor maintained it was "very small," but wasn't quite sure if it was bigger than an atom, or not. A fungus was defined as the 'green stuff' that appears on cheese left too long in the refrigerator. [7]

    The General Diagnosis course, taught by a chiropractor who had a nursing degree, covered diseases whose symptoms and course we were expected to memorize by rote. [5]

    I have sent evidence to CCE that the deficiencies it found at Life were there when I was a student. I estimate that 8,000 Life graduates were inadequately trained in diagnosis, posing a serious threat to their patients. These graduates have also been taught to take unnecessary x-rays of pain-free areas (to find "subluxations") and to advise patients to discontinue prescription medications. [4]

    Finally, I am not aware of any required clinical internship or residency (as with MDs) for chiropractors above and beyond their relatively minor clinic exposure... [7]
    A former chiropractor now turned med student writes:

    Medical education is a very humbling experience for me. It is much more intense and much more clinical exposure that I can't even compare it to chiro school. [6]
    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."

  10. #10
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    The chiro you and your mother were dealing with is a horror of a human being for scaring you with nonsense.
    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."

  11. #11
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    The chiro section over on Quackwatch got so large that they gave chiro its own section... Chirobase...

    http://www.chirobase.org/

    The only people trained to treat scoliosis conservatively or surgically are board certified orthopedic surgeons focusing on spine.
    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."

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkyFish View Post
    But my mom continues to worry, and to warn me that unless I pursue aggressive treatment now I'll be in severe pain as I age.
    I am assuming your mother has no training in this field. So everything she is telling you is from the chiro. Less than worthless.
    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."

  13. #13
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    I do understand your concern and I've looked over the articles. I apologize for not agreeing right away but I'm been taught since childhood that Natural medicine is misunderstood and hated by most "unlightened" members of the medical community - so bare with me as I try to give everyone a fair hearing. I am listening. My mother has also agreed that my next check-up should come from a back specialist - preferably one who goes to a chiropractor himself and understands the pros and cons of that discipline.

    That being said, this is the model they've showed me: http://www.patientmedia.com/reports/sdmodel.htm It's kinda scary when you're 24 and fit.
    The product is being sold on a chiropractic website, but if I Google "lumbr degeneration" I find a bunch of orthopedic websites - which leads me to thing that the condition is real - and I probably should get a back specialist's opinion on my x-rays to tell if the chiropractor is completely lying or is on the ball.

    Edit: And I've got a call out and they're making .jpgs of the x-rays.
    Last edited by SkyFish; 07-02-2014 at 01:52 PM.

  14. #14
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    please please please...
    do yourself a favor and go to a real doctor who specializes
    in scoliosis...and can take an Xray and measure your curves
    accurately...
    doctors used to tell us 50 degrees was surgery level...
    but we now know there are people in alot of pain with smaller
    curves and some with larger curves who are lucky not to have
    pain...
    of course, pain is not the deciding factor on surgery...
    as a matter of fact,.it is the progression of the curves that worries
    surgeons...more so than the pain...the progression, and how much
    the curves debilitate that person...or do not debilitate them...

    the only doctor who can really help you is a Lyme
    specialist...and that is NOT a chiro...

    sorry...but the facts are the facts...

    best of luck,,,
    jess...and Sparky

  15. #15
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    I'm listening. *smile* And trying to understand. I've been x-rayed and measured so many times by chiropractors, orthopedic experts, scoliosis specialists, and sports medicine doctors. From my point of view, the chiropractors were the only ones who cared enough to help - though this discussion leads me to believe that I should hit a specialist or two again in order to get a more comprehensive view of what this'll all mean as an adult.

    the only doctor who can really help you is a Lyme
    specialist...and that is NOT a chiro...
    But... Lyme? Isn't that a whole nother problem?
    Last edited by SkyFish; 07-02-2014 at 06:03 PM.

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