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Thread: 'new' to this and need some advice.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Posts
    3

    'new' to this and need some advice.

    Hi everyone.

    I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was approx. 14. The doctor at the time told my mother and I that it was 'Nothing to worry about', so we didn't think anything of it. Throughout highschool I had mild-to-moderate back pain that I always figured was normal. I had some back pain when I was pregnant with my daughter a couple years later, but still figured it was a normal thing and ignored it.

    About 3 weeks ago I went to a chiropractor for a neck injury I'd gotten in february learning to snowboard. The clinic offered a free inital exam with x-rays, I dont' have insurance, so this was perfect. Anyway, we looked at the x-rays, and I was blown away! My neck is curved, and I have an S shaped cuve in my back, with some twisting making my ribs farther apart than they should be in places. I've also got a vertebra that didn't grow together all the way, and two between my shoulders that have fused themselves. The Chiro reccomended going 3 times a week for 8 weeks for mild adjustments and some excercises with a 'Body Blade', plus some electro-stim and some time with a wedge under my neck and a weight pulling my head back. He hasnt' claimed that he can correct any of the curvature, but he said we need to strengthen the muscles in my back, and increase flexibility to avoid further disc damage.

    So I came home and researched as much as I could find. I've asked him to go over my x-rays with me again to determine the angle of my curves and where they are so I know the right terminology and stuff, and he said we 'didn't really need to do that' because we weren't working on fixing the curves, and that's really only used to mark progression and all. I've been going for about 10 visits now, and it helps a little bit with my pain while I'm there, but not much afterward. I've noticed that I've got more range-of-motion in my neck now, but I can't tell much difference otherwise. I don't know if I should keep going, based on what I've read here, but my husband encourages me to keep going, hoping it will help. I don't have insurance, and we already owe this guy about 500 dollars.

    I guess my question is, has anyone had success regaining flexibility and strength using these types of treatments? I'm specifically interested in the body blade, we're willing to buy one if it will help. Also, I know it's hard to answer without having numbers for my curves, but how much can I expect my pain level to increase over the years? I'm 22 now, and I have pain daily, but it usually is at a level that is manageable for me. I have a day or two every two weeks or so that it gets worse and I need to lay down for a couple hours, or the muscle tension gives me a migraine all day.

    Sorry, that was pretty long-winded. I appreciate any response, I'm really at a loss for what to do at this point.

    -Lisa

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NJ across from NYC
    Posts
    329

    My opinion...

    Lisa,
    This is a discussion that always comes up on this forum. The consensus is that they do not help people with scoliosis. I tried it many years ago before my surgery and it is a total waste of money. Since you do not have insurance, please don't waste your time and money anymore. You need to go to an orthopedist that specializes in scoliosis. He will measure your curve and tell you exactly what is going on. Good luck. LYNN
    1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
    2000 Partial Rod Removal
    2001 Right Scapular Resection
    12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
    06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    877
    Lisa,

    I totally agree with Lynn. You need an orthopedic, not a chiro. We love our chiros. They are great for certain temporary injuries, pulls and strains. But they are not going to change scoliosis curves.
    Melissa
    From Bucks County, Pa., USA

    Mom to Matthew,19, Jessica, 17, and Nicole, 14
    Nicole had surgery with Dr. Dormans on 9/12/07 at Children's Hospital of Phila. She is fused T-2 - L-3

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    360
    I agree too. I saw a chiropractor for 6 weeks, 3 times per week. It didn't help at all.
    Chemist, 30

    1998- 18 degrees
    2003- 33 degrees
    2005- 37 degrees
    2006- 44 degrees
    May 2007- 47 degrees
    December 2007 - 50 degrees X-ray

    Surgery May 27, 2008
    Fused T1 to L2
    Curve corrected to 15 degrees X-ray

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    385
    Lisa,

    I'm sorry you're in such pain. I have had great success with chiropractors for pain related to specific injuries I've incurred over the years. But I don't have scoliosis. My son has congenital scoliosis but rare pain. For almost 7 years, I tried many "alternative" manipulative treatments for him, including chiropractic, craniosacral massage, other types of massage, acupuncture... All of it was to help with muscle strengthening, balancing, flexibility, etc. None of it prevented his spinal curvature from increasing. We've spent lots of money, time & energy on all the appointments & he is still getting surgery. The only treatment that he ever felt a noticeable difference from was the Hellerwork massage. We still get those for him since his back gets achy after he stopped wearing his (also apparently useless) brace.

    Maybe you could go to a public hospital or community health clinic & try to see an orthopedic specialist for proper care. You are still so young & it is very important to find out the Cobb angles of your curves & to track whether or not your they are increasing.

    Laurie
    Laurie

    Mother of Alexander & Zachary:
    Alex is 16 years old and in the 11th grade. He has congenital scoliosis due to a hemivertebrae at T10. Wore a TLSO brace for 3 1/2 years. Pre-op curves were T45 & L65; curves post-op are approx. T31 & L34. Had a posterior spinal fusion from T8 to L3 on 7/12/07 at age 12. Doing great now in so many ways, but still working on improving posture.
    Zach is 13 years old and very energetic.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Posts
    3
    Thank you all for the imput. After discussing it with my husband we've decided that the chiro visits just aren't worth it. I'm going to be looking for a specialist, so hopefully I'll have some better answers soon.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    152
    Lisa,

    I have a case of scoliosis that's not as serious as yours, but can offer opinions on chiropractors. I've been to a few of them. They may help temporarily relieve some pains, but they'll never effectively treat scoliosis. Most have no idea how to treat it, because their discipline's theories do not understand it. They apply methods that were developed for other disorders. Scoliosis is a problem of unbalanced muscle strength.

    For me at least, and I suspect for most scoliotics, the chiropractic adjustments were a complete waste of time and money. Same with electrostimulation. The theory of electrostim is that it will strengthen the muscles the chiro targets with it. But the effect will be minimal -- far less than bodybuilding-type training -- and will only treat the outer muscles, whereas the inner layers are likely to be more critical. The chiropractor whom I last visited, a very smart and open-minded guy, admitted when I asked him, that certain medical weight-training machines such as a couple by MedX would be much superior to electrostim but he couldn't afford them (they cost about $40,000).

    A physical therapist is much more likely to understand the dynamics of scoliosis, which are always quite complicated, since they are trained to work with muscles. The people who probably understand scoliosis best are Schroth-trained therapists. Search this forum for Schroth and you'll see lots of posts about it. The front page of the NSF website gives contact info for all of them in the US who are known to the Natl Scoliosis Foundation to have been trained in the method.

    http://www.scoliosis.org/

    Good luck.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Posts
    3
    Well, I called this morning and broke up with my chiropractor. I've also called around and there's a spinal care place in town with a doctor that has some experience with adult scholi. They want to charge us 200 dollars for the initial exam, plus 150 for the x-rays if they can't use the ones that were already taken by the chiro. I know it's worth it to get the answers I need about my spine right now, but I'm worried about getting involved with another expensive treatment plan. Can anyone tell me what to expect? I went into the initial chiropractor apointment with no idea what I was getting into, and I don't want to make the same mistake here. What kinds of questions should I be asking when researching a doctor? Also, what kinds of questions should I ask in the first appointment, or when looking at the x-rays?

    I also want to take a minute and thank the people that post here. This is a very stressful disease, mainly because there are no definitive answers out there. In the month since I've started educating myself, I've come accross more frustrations and questions than answers, and it's wonderful to be able to come to a site like this one and reach out to people who are living with this and willing to offer imput. Just knowing that I'm not alone is a comfort. Thank you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NJ across from NYC
    Posts
    329

    Lisa...

    I wish I'd known about this site before I went back and forth to so many doctors. I had the surgery many years ago (1981) but when the pain came back in 1997(which is not unusual but I had no idea) I didn't know what the heck to do. If I had known about this site, it would have saved me countless unnecessary procedures, doctor visits and I'd have more money in my checking account! This site is a blessing. You must go to an orthopedic surgeon that knows about scoliosis and does the procedures all the time, not one that is a little familiar with it. You'll save yourself alot of grief. Good luck. LYNN
    1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
    2000 Partial Rod Removal
    2001 Right Scapular Resection
    12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
    06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)

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