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Thread: Scoliosis and Polio?

  1. #1
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    Scoliosis and Polio?

    I just was talking with a family member who brought up a very interesting subject. When I was about 6 months old, my older sister, cousin and aunt were all diagnosed with polio. My sister is completely disabled from this terrible disease, living in a wheelchair. Anyway, we were talking about my scoliosis and polio. Has anyone ever heard of a connection between the two? She suggested that perhaps I had a mild case that went undiscovered that left me with this defect. Thanks, Robin

  2. #2
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    Robin...

    Yes, polio caused scoliosis in about 30% of the people who had it:

    In post-polio survivors, the incidence of scoliosis has been estimated at 30%, a rather large number. Factors contributing to scoliosis are the severity of the weakness at the time of the acute illness and the region of the spine affected (the curve location may be dependent on those muscles that are weak). However, there are individuals who have significant spinal deformities with very little demonstrable trunk weakness only lower extremity problems. The factor important, in this instance, is the age at which the paralysis occurred. The younger the age, the longer the growing period of the individuals and, consequently, the greater the likelihood of the progression of curvature.

    In post-polio survivors, the iliotibial band, that thick band of tissue that goes from the side of the pelvis down to the knee, frequently becomes tightened and contracted and can cause the pelvis to tilt. Once a spine is out of balance in a growing individual, scoliosis can progress and develop.

    There are different curve types. The classic, paralytic curve not only typical of polio, but also of cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and some of the other spinal cord lesions, is the long C curve. Other curve patterns may also be present in these cases.

    --Linda

  3. #3
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    Hi,
    My grandfather had polio 2 years before my mom was born. He is now suffering from advanced post-polio symptoms. He was diagnosed with alzhimers a few years back as was one of his brothers (with in weeks). He has scoliosis as do I. I have read that there may be some connection but I have not been given any info on this from doctors.

    Bren

  4. #4
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    Scoliosis and Polio

    Hi,

    I am a 56-year-old woman with a 75 degree lumbar curve. The surgeon from Chicago who reviewed my x-rays in December suggested polio as a cause of my scoliosis. He mentioned that my curve pattern does not fit the pattern of most idiopathic scoliosis curves that he has seen. Who knows? I was born in '49, five years before the Salk vaccine was available.

    Chris

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine

    There are different curve types. The classic, paralytic curve not only typical of polio, but also of cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and some of the other spinal cord lesions, is the long C curve. Other curve patterns may also be present in these cases.[/INDENT]

    --Linda
    linda, what way does the curve go in these paralytic curves. ? Concave to the weaker or to the stronger side?

  6. #6
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    I have a friend who had polio and was told that her scoliosis developed as a result of the way she learned to walk (very off centre). I have been told this was how mine started too (even though I don't have polio, my limp comes from spina bifida), although in my case there are also neuromuscular considerations.

    A link seems to be very common, as Linda said.
    Double 63(T)/75(L) deg curve with big sideways shift - Surgery in UK on 8th February 2006.
    Post op 30(T)/33(L)
    http://warpedwoman.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
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    Scoliosis and Polio

    I am 64 years old and my scoliosis is advancing dramatically after a fall about 9 years ago.

    I knew when I began grade school something was wrong with my back as sitting in desks was uncomfortable when my right should blade would hang over the back or if I scooted down in the seat then it was uncomfortable to lean back against the seat. It was diagnosed as scoliosis when I was 12 after my mother became frustrated at being unable to fit a dress on me. The doctor told us that I could wear a brace or have surgery but my parents opted for neither. The doctor was not sure but suggested the scoliosis could be a result of polio (this was in Beaumont, TX in the 1950's.). I went through physical therapy and was given a set of exercises that I practiced. I also studied and performed dance from the age of 6 well up into adulthood. I believe the result of dance exercises strengthened my back sufficiently to maintain an errect stature. I have a double S curve with the torso and pelvic area out of balance; have had a problem stumbling all my life as the left foot seems to drag a little; I learned to live with the pain and became adept at self-hypnosis in overcoming pain when it was more severe.

    Until a few years ago I believed my scoliosis was mild but, the orthopedic surgeon that is now one of my doctors tells me it is advanced and in addition I have arthritis, severe osteoprosis with fracturing, spinal stenosis, and bone spurs inside the spinal column. In order to maintain a somewhat normal lifestyle and continue to work, I sold my upstairs condo and bought a mobile home with two steps. With pain meds and a good nutritionally supplemented diet and mild exercises, including gentle water exercises I am making it. I use either electric scooters or buggies when I go to the grocery or what little shopping these enable me to do. The surgeon wanted to operate to try to releive the stenosis (I refused) when I first saw him but, after another fall in August of '05 he tells me now that he can no longer operate. He indicated that there is a better than 50% chance my spine will collapse if he tries to operate on the lower spine where the stenosis is located. Both doctors have indicated there is nothing more than can be done.

    I would very much appreciate hearing if this sounds reasonable or if I should try seeking opinions from other specialists.

  8. #8
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    You don't mention who your doc is. If they are not ADULT scoliosis ortho's, which is whom you should be seeing, I would see one before giving up the idea that no one can help you.
    SandyC

  9. #9
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    There are different curve types. The classic, paralytic curve not only typical of polio, but also of cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and some of the other spinal cord lesions, is the long C curve. Other curve patterns may also be present in these cases.
    Linda, have you been able to work out my previous question about this;

    lwhat way does the curve go in these paralytic curves. ? Concave to the weaker or to the stronger side ??

    gerbo

  10. #10
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    Gerbo...

    Sorry, I don't always read all the posts, so I missed your original question. I don't know the answer, but have sent off a question to a few doctors who should know. I'll let you know when I get a response.

    --Linda

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerbo
    Linda, have you been able to work out my previous question about this;

    lwhat way does the curve go in these paralytic curves. ? Concave to the weaker or to the stronger side ??

    gerbo
    According to Dr. David Bradford, it can be seen either way.

    --Linda

  12. #12
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    Thanks Linda for trying

    there is a clear association between idiopatic scoliosis and paravertebral muscle changes, with a clear difference between concave and convex side

    What I am trying to find are articles describing onesided muscular/ neurological conditions and how these affect the spine in relation to scoliosis

    The only one i have found is in connection with spinal osteoblastoma's (bonetumours) which describes muscle atrophy on one side of the spine (which i assume is secondary to the tumour, though the article doesn't state that) with a consistent convex curve to the other side. One wonders what caused the scoliosis there; the osteoblastoma directly, or the resulting muscle assymetry?

    I have found nothing as yet describing the effect of hemiparesis/ polio and other conditions, still looking though and any suggestions are welcome

  13. #13
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    Gerbo...

    I got another response. This time from a doctor whom I believe sees a lot of these cases. His response was "to the weaker side."

    Regards,
    Linda

  14. #14
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    fl, formerly ny
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    ? re polio

    43 years ago, when my scoliosis was first diagnosed, i was 12. i remember the dr telling my parents that i probably had a "touch of polio" felt it may have been related to the vaccines which were fairly new. says may have been a short term flu like illness, (which i do remember having). but i have not been able to find anything in writing about this link. lots of problems now, fusions, no rods, are deteriorating. docs look at me like im some sort of crackpot! any idea where i can find this info?
    thanks,
    sharon

  15. #15
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    I got another response. This time from a doctor whom I believe sees a lot of these cases. His response was "to the weaker side."
    i.e. concave to the weaker side?? Very interesting. You couldn't ask him whether he can quote some literature which states/ shows this??

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