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Thread: Is scoliosis considered a DISABILITY?

  1. #1
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    Dec 2005
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    Is scoliosis considered a DISABILITY?

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Mark and I am new here. I have a spinal curve in the MIDDLE of my spine, measuring about 70 degrees, but oddly enough, it is NOT that visiable at all.

    I am currently in grade 12 and i am doing university applications. I feel that my back - the scholiosis, the bracing, the constant appoitments, etc. is a "burden enough" for me to get some sort of a BREAK, possibly a LOWER admission average requirement since because of all these things going on.

    i have NOT had the surgery yet, but i feel "tight" all the time. should i apply thru a special disability admission for uni or not? i mean i feel bad, because ppl that apply through this are probably those with no hands or arms or something VERY severe

    thanks

  2. #2
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    Oct 2005
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    Kentucky
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    Talking

    i dont think so cuz i think that it should not be a disability bekuz i would have to be in a disabled middle skool but idk i wish i could help more
    Wats up? I'm 11 and just recieved an e-mail that said i've been registered but im 11 and have a 28 curve, i know but it used to be 35 so i dont really give. anyway i gots a brace and i dearly hop that y'all can help me get through the worst yr of my life thanx.

  3. #3
    Mary Lou Guest
    Mark,

    Since you are saying that you'd feel bad if you applied, don't do it. I personally don't think of Scoliosis as a disability. There are a few rare exceptions to that I know, but in general I don't think of it as a disability.

    I know wearing a brace is a burden; going to the doctor every three-six months is a burden; having Scoliosis in general is a burden sometimes. My daughter has never once complained or asked "why me" and she wore a Milwaukee brace, then a Boston brace and ended up having surgery a year ago. Now at her one year check-up when things should have gotten back to normal, she is possibly facing more fusion surgery. Does she ever ask for special things-no. She tries to live the life God gave her without asking for special treatment. Oh, by the way, on top of everything else, she is now on crutches for an injury to her ankle.

    I'm not trying to be mean, but please consider yourself blessed that you only have to wear a brace and deal with doctor appointments. My daughter has been through a lot, but there are TONS of others who have gone through way more than her. So having said all of that, please don't take assistance away from those who really need it.

    Thank you,
    Mary Lou

  4. #4
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    scoliosis a disability?

    Hi Mark,

    While it is, indeed, your decision about whether or not to apply for special consideration, I don't generally think of scoliosis as a disability either - unless it's one of those rare cases Mary Lou mentioned. When my son was very young (he wore a brace from the time he was 16 months old until he was 5 years old and had stapling surgery), a friend suggested I apply for one of those handicapped license plates because I'd often be carrying a small child and the additional weight of the back brace he was wearing (I'm only about 110 lbs. myself). But I decided against it because, other than wearing a brace, he was a fine, happy, healthy kid and it just did not feel right to me. (I might add that my friend's son has Down Syndrome and she got the handicapped plate - I think rightly so - and I considered myself lucky that my son just had a curve in his spine).

    Good luck to you in whatever you decide

    Maria
    Last edited by mariaf; 01-02-2006 at 11:10 AM.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2005
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    canada
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    Arrow i feel like it is

    with a brace it is cause u cant do normal things or be normal u always feel locked up because u r but since your getting surgery i wouldnt call it a disobility i hate scoliosis and everything that comes with it

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    east coast
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    As far as I know universities require solid documentation proving you meet the qualification for as a disabled student. Each school requires differenet things as proofs.

    I'm not sure what kind of break you are looking for... I doubt even if you do qualify to apply through the disabilities office they'd lower your admissions standards since you are having a physical problem.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    California
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    I think there are times when it is. I go to a University right now, and having a disability program at my school would really help. I had my first surgery Feb. 1, 2005 and had a rod removed because it was sitting on a nerve on Dec. 15, 2005. My fusion is from T4-L2 and didnt go any lower because my doctor wanted to keep the range of motion. My lower curve is still around the 20* mark and my back goes out 1-2 times per month to the point where it is hard to walk. In order to graduate each student must take a PE class at my school and doing a normal PE activity would be out of the question. In many universitys in order to take an adaptive PE class you must go through disabled student services. There were no adaptive classes at my school so I was forced to take a strength and stretching class (kinda like yoga and pilates combined) and the teacher had to make reasonable accomodations for me. Because of the surgery(ies) I am not allowed to lift more than 5 pounds, which excludes most college textbooks. I know that with some disability programs they are able to supply a second set of books so that you dont have to carry them everywhere, possibly go through the publisher to get books on CD-ROM or have sections copied so that you dont have to carry the whole book only the part that you need for the upcoming class. My school does not have a program like this (I go to a private christian university), but the teachers themselves are really good about making accomodations. I also have problems with parking. There is limited parking on campus and when my back goes out it is difficult (actually more like impossible) for me to walk 1/4 mile from my car to my dorm. Because of this I did get a handicap plackard (not a plate) to use when my back goes out. I do not use it all the time, only when I need it, but it is a HUGE help.
    I would look into what each university's requirements for disability programs are and consider using them if need be.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2005
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    Maryland
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    Hmm.. I don't think that having scoliosis can be termed as having a disability. I'm still active duty military and the government still keeps me around eventhough I've had scoliosis and the spinal fusion surgery. Even with Scoliosis I was out 'backpacking' in Iraq with a Kevlar Vest, helmet, and mobility bags and weapon for 5 months. (however when I came back the doctors couldn't keep my pain under control and so I made the decision to have the surgery ((that and the curve continued to progress)) ) Just take it one day at a time, relax with some heat packs and take some meds if you have to for the pain. If you are able to get a tens unit through your doctor I'd do it. My IF3wave is a lifesaver for the muscle spasms I get. (Plus it's portable and comes with all sorts of little gadgets and what not) Take care and hope everything works out for you.

    ~Shelley
    25 yr old female =^_^=
    Thoracic curve 48 degrees (with kyphosis)
    Lumbar curve 23 degrees
    surgery from t5-l1 25 July 2005
    Two rods and 16 screws later . . . 0 degrees YAY!

  9. #9
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    Is scoliosis considered a disability?

    Shelley -

    It's great to hear all you've accomplished, at the same time dealing with scoliosis and fusion surgery. (If you read my earlier post I don't view scoliosis as a disability either generally speaking). Seems you didn't let your curve and/or rods keep you from doing ANYTHING. As a parent of a child with scoliosis that was very encouraging and inspiring to hear. I'm sure it took quite a bit of strenth and courage - but since you're serving in our military that doesn't surprise me

    Regards,

    Maria

  10. #10
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    Shelley, when you went into the military what were your curves? I know that if your thoracic is greater than 30* or lumbar greater than 20* they wont accept you. Also if you have any form of fusion (wether congenital or surgical) they also wont take you because of disability. I have used pain meds, heating pads, TENS units and all to try to alleviate my pain, but there are times (when my back goes out) that eventhough I try everything I know and I still am bedridden and in tears from pain. There are times when you just have to admit that you have a disability.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    I live in Phoenix AZ
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    hey everyone

    Hi my name is jayde and Im 17 and I dont think that Scoliosis is a disability. I have been dealing with Scoliosis since I was 5 years old. When I was 10 on Sept. 10th I had the fusion surgery. Before the surgery my spine was at 75* and now it is at 25*!!!! Before the surgery my spine was pushing on my lungs which caused me to develope asthma. I have asked my mom why me why not someone else. Scoliosis has ruined a part of my childhood, But I havent let anyone or anything stop me from doing something that I have wanted to do. Like I said in my profile I played soccer last year for my school and I have taken dance and have been quade riding. All the things my doctors told me I wouldnt be able to do I can do. I think that Scoliosis is a disability if you make it one. Scoliosis has taught me to make the best of what god gives me. Just think Scoliosis make you unique. Not everyone has a curve in their spine.

  12. #12
    Mary Lou Guest
    jayde,

    You have a great attitude!! I wish more teens had your attitude but I think kids with Scoliosis seemed to have a more mature/better attitude than most teens.

    When you ride a quad, does it make your back or shoulders sore at all? My daughter is just one year post-op and just given permission to start riding our 4-wheeler but hasn't done so yet, so I'm just curious.

    Mary Lou

  13. #13
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    Maryland
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    Quote Originally Posted by CurvySAT05
    Shelley, when you went into the military what were your curves? I know that if your thoracic is greater than 30* or lumbar greater than 20* they wont accept you. Also if you have any form of fusion (wether congenital or surgical) they also wont take you because of disability. I have used pain meds, heating pads, TENS units and all to try to alleviate my pain, but there are times (when my back goes out) that eventhough I try everything I know and I still am bedridden and in tears from pain. There are times when you just have to admit that you have a disability.
    Suprisingly when I joined the military they didn't see a curve. So therefore I was let in with no problem. It wasn't until after I had a pretty nasty car accident that the back pain started and they 'discovered' I had scoliosis which the thoracic curve alone was 28* (can't remember the lumbar). I have surgical spinal fusion that's still healing and I'm still in the military eventhough they are still cutting troops. I'm also slotted to deploy to the desert this coming may again. There are still days when I cry from the physical pain and the emotional drain. I have a 2 year old little girl I haven't been able to pick up for 5 months now. I figure that up to a point you can trick yourself psychologically with the pain and tell yourself that it isn't that bad or just to concentrate on something positive. If you keep telling yourself that you have a disability you won't feel as good as you could, and your mind will be in the mindset that you won't ever feel alright/normal and that you will live in constant pain. Hope I'm making sense. It's easier when I explain it in person.

    ~Shelley
    25 yr old female =^_^=
    Thoracic curve 48 degrees (with kyphosis)
    Lumbar curve 23 degrees
    surgery from t5-l1 25 July 2005
    Two rods and 16 screws later . . . 0 degrees YAY!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    147
    I, too, have had scoliosis since birth. Yes, there are some things I could not do, but I always tried to do them until my body told me to stop. I sometimes had pain so bad that I could not do anything except lie in bed and cry, but I would then take pain pills, get myself up, and got busy. You can, as was said before, make scoliosis a disability, but you lose so much of your life if you do.

    I had surgery on Nov 8, 10, & 14, and have had less pain with that than anytime before the surgery. I thank God for that! I don't know just how much I will be able to do in the future, but I will do everything I possibly can. Just don't give up. And I agree....scoliosis makes you different, but it can be a good different...not a bad........whichever way you look at it will make the difference between being happy or sad. (Rambling, but hope that made sense!) Linda

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Sarasota, Florida
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    260
    I think it really depends on how much of your life is lost to it.
    I know that for me, the last 5 years of my life have not been quality at all.
    I have been housebound, on pain meds 24/7, unable to work, unable to stand for more than 5 minutes at a time, trouble sleeping, walking, doing pretty much anything.

    If you are capable of doing things, then no, it's not a disability but if your life gets limited, then yes.
    36 year old single mom of teens ages 14 & 15.
    Anterior/posterior spinal fusion on February 9th & 16th 2006 with Dr. Anthony Moreno who now has his own practice.
    Fused from T-3 to S-1 (sacrum)
    Curve pre-op = 70 degrees
    Curve post op = 20 degrees
    No pain anymore!!
    Google is your friend

    I am not a doctor and will never give medical advice. I will support and answer questions from personal experience only.

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