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Thread: 80 year old diagnosed with scoliosis

  1. #1
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    80 year old diagnosed with scoliosis

    I have recently been diagnosed with scoliosis. I am 80 years old, but not your typical 80 as I've been a dancer all my life and danced (strenuous Russian dancing) until age 75 with a farewell performance. I'm not bent over or anything and know no reason why this should develop. It seems to have started a year ago following a surgery on my cervical spine (a cyst between
    5th and 6th vertebreas) that was removed. I would never have known about scoliosis until an xray showed two lateral curves. It's a mystery as I've danced my way through life since age 14 (professional ballet as well as Russian folk) so it can't be congenital. This orthopedica surgeon must have started a chain reaction of some kind as other physical problems have started up. I know, you're thinking it's just advancing age. This is of course is true, but I don't think it's entirely that considering my usually excellent spinal health.
    I'm still posture perfect, but it's the muscles surrounding the spine that give me pain. Are they affected by the scoliosis?
    I guess there's is no cure for it. As you know, orthopedic surgeons won't even take patients after age 35. So, is the only path open to me to be possibly shots of cortisone?
    Last edited by Richka; 07-05-2009 at 08:05 PM. Reason: adding phrase

  2. #2
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    Hi Richka,

    We don't see very many Russian dancers here, your most likely the first! Welcome.

    There are ways to deal with pain, I've tried quite a few methods through the years, and of course water immersion is the easiest. A warm water therapy pool would be of benefit.

    I've added a link about older surgeries, up to 100 now, you know... things have changed.
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showthread.php?t=8151

    Is your scoliosis in your neck, or the whole spine? What does your Doctor say?

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF 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

  3. #3
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    From Richka

    Thanx for the welcome Ed.
    I'm new here and this was my first posting and my first reply so hope I'm doing it right. Please let me know.
    Well, to answer your question regarding my neck, ever since the cervical spine surgery just over a year ago, the neck is not quite right. It is not painful but there remains a sort of large indentation where the surgeon took out the cyst. It's very visible. And when I move the head or twist as in exercises, I can feel the vertebrea cracking against each other. No pain but sort of scary. The rest of the spine hurts in certain bed positions so I have to sleep straight on my back. All of this stems from that surgery and I believe even the scoliosis as there was never a hint of it before.
    I told my primary doctor about it and he traced with his finger the curves in my spine as I bent forward. They are visible. BUT he didn't say anything except giving a referral to another orthopedic. Apparently I have to have a release from the first orthopedic who did the surgery, as I am still "under his care" so they say, though I never sensed I was!
    Thanx for your advice about water therapy. I can join a pool aerobics class at my health club and I've been thinking of starting that. I have already started some yoga again, which I have done on and off really all my life. My Russian dancing ended five years ago, when I was STILL doing squat kicks, you know,
    squatting down and throwing the legs out alternately. .. that sort of thing.
    That was in a farewell performance with the all Russian orchestra I belong to
    and formed a dance group to go along with it.
    At 80 years of age I felt it was time to stop. I'm a bit sorry I did but all things I suppose must come to an end.
    Reading some posting from others here, I'm getting a bit worried as some say the curvatures progress worse and worse, and I'm way past due!
    So I'm conscious all the time to keep the good posture as best I can, to avoid a bent stance developing, that I see in so many others my age. Thanx again for your reply.
    Richka

  4. #4
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    Richka

    Your posts are just fine.

    Scoliosis can progress quickly. It happens in seniors often. Linda posted on this very subject a few months ago, and I mentioned that there should be a new category called "senior scoliosis"

    Where do you live? I ask this because I've had great success with ocean therapy. Swimming in the ocean can work wonders. There is something about de-weighting and exercising in the salts and minerals that can work wonders. I wouldn't suggest jumping into the North sea, that's way too cold.

    Doctors will hand off patients that they feel are not perfect matches. Some are experts in certain areas and some aren't. Its just part of the process. Sometimes patients can be frustrated with this.

    It seems that with all that dancing through the years with all those squat kicks, your knees should be the problem, not your back! LOL.

    Stay mobile and keep moving.
    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF 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

  5. #5
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    Hello Richka and welcome to this wonderful forum.

    I'm sorry you're having this problem at this stage of your life. In my search for information about surgery for scoliosis in older people I came across cases of people of great age having this surgery. Of course, it would depend on many criteria, not least of all your current health and state of your bones. Have you had a bone density scan?

    Being so fit, you are probably not a candidate for osteoporosis, but there are no guarantees. It might be a good start, having a scan which could also rule out a fracture.

    The hard part is finding a scoli specialist who you feel comfortable with, and finding out your status as far as surgery or other treatment goes.

    Good luck!
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richka View Post
    I have recently been diagnosed with scoliosis. I am 80 years old, but not your typical 80 as I've been a dancer all my life and danced (strenuous Russian dancing) until age 75 with a farewell performance. I'm not bent over or anything and know no reason why this should develop. It seems to have started a year ago following a surgery on my cervical spine (a cyst between
    5th and 6th vertebreas) that was removed. I would never have known about scoliosis until an xray showed two lateral curves. It's a mystery as I've danced my way through life since age 14 (professional ballet as well as Russian folk) so it can't be congenital. This orthopedica surgeon must have started a chain reaction of some kind as other physical problems have started up. I know, you're thinking it's just advancing age. This is of course is true, but I don't think it's entirely that considering my usually excellent spinal health.
    I'm still posture perfect, but it's the muscles surrounding the spine that give me pain. Are they affected by the scoliosis?
    I guess there's is no cure for it. As you know, orthopedic surgeons won't even take patients after age 35. So, is the only path open to me to be possibly shots of cortisone?
    Hi Richka...

    Since the problem started after your cervical surgery, and you feel that something is not quite right, I wonder if you've got a functional scoliosis. Functional scoliosis can develop when someone holds their trunk in an unusual way, to avoid the pain that would be present if they held their trunk in the normal way. It's something to look at.

    If the curves are structural, they would either have been around for a long time, or they're caused by other issues (like fractures from poor bone quality).

    I'm not sure where you heard the "35" cutoff, but that's pretty far from true. The surgeons at UCSF are routinely doing spine surgery on patients over 70 and 80. This patient population has a greatly increased risk of surgical complications, but the ones that I've seen are still getting very good outcomes.

    Regards,
    Linda

  7. #7
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    Richka diagnosed with scoliosis

    Hi Linda,
    Thanx for your welcome to this forum. I'm new at it and not quite sure yet how to navigate it but it seems that it will be very helpful in the long run.
    You know already a bit of my history from my original posting and some to Ed.
    Linda, I'm not sure what 'functional' scoliosis is, but, being a dancer all my life I believe I have always had perfect posture or as close as it could be. Even now I continue close to military posture. However, since I've started with computers about 10 years ago I may have developed a bit of a slouch, at least while I'm sitting here. I recently bought another computer chair but even that's not exactly a straight back. it's an area I must look into more carefully.
    To answer your other question. The Osteo surgeons not accepting over age 35 comes from the The Orthopedic Institute here. I live in Tucson, Arizona and that's their policy. Do you mean it's different elsewhere?
    Thanks for your response.
    Richka

  8. #8
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    80 year old with scoliosis

    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferG View Post
    Hello Richka and welcome to this wonderful forum.

    I'm sorry you're having this problem at this stage of your life. In my search for information about surgery for scoliosis in older people I came across cases of people of great age having this surgery. Of course, it would depend on many criteria, not least of all your current health and state of your bones. Have you had a bone density scan?

    Being so fit, you are probably not a candidate for osteoporosis, but there are no guarantees. It might be a good start, having a scan which could also rule out a fracture.

    The hard part is finding a scoli specialist who you feel comfortable with, and finding out your status as far as surgery or other treatment goes.

    Good luck!
    Jennifer .. Thanks for your welcome. I have no idea about my bone density but since I've had a lifetime of strenuous male dancing I believe my bones to be not exactly fragile. But who knows? As soon as I reached 80 various things started to go wrong and the cervical spine surgery last year seems to have started a chain reaction. I truly believe that's what started the scoliosis.
    Yes, I was wondering about osteoporosis, but I've heard that it doesn't happen so much with men. I'm not bent over or anything like that.
    I live in Tucson, Arizona, which is supposed to be the pinacle of medical research and so on, with the University of Arizona here and its breakthroughs in heart research as well as outer space, etc, but it seems most of the doctors I'm saddled with just want to give all sorts of useless, and expensive, tests. The Orthopedic Institute where I had my spinal surgery is next to impossible to get an appointment. However, several years ago when I tore a meniscus in my knee while demonstrating a dance step, the first surgeon wanted to operate so I went to a sports surgeon for a 2nd opinion and he said surgery would do no good. Gave me a cortisone shot and that was the end of it. My knee has been like new ever since!
    Sorry, I'm getting off the track. Thanx so much for your help and this site promises to be just the thing I need at this point.
    Richka
    Last edited by Richka; 07-06-2009 at 01:58 PM. Reason: corrections

  9. #9
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    Richka...

    You might want to try him:

    Gerard K. Jeong, MD
    Tucson Orthopaedic Institute
    2424 N. Wyatt Drive, Suite 100
    Tucson, AZ 85712
    Phone: (520) 784-6303
    Fax: (520) 784-6338
    Specialties: Adolescent, Adult Scoliosis, Aging Spine, Degenerative Conditions, Juvenile/Infantile

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richka View Post
    The Osteo surgeons not accepting over age 35 comes from the The Orthopedic Institute here. I live in Tucson, Arizona and that's their policy. Do you mean it's different elsewhere?
    Thanks for your response.
    Richka
    Linda, can you put this to bed? There is clearly some misunderstanding here.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    Richka...

    You might want to try him:

    Gerard K. Jeong, MD
    Tucson Orthopaedic Institute
    2424 N. Wyatt Drive, Suite 100
    Tucson, AZ 85712
    Phone: (520) 784-6303
    Fax: (520) 784-6338
    Specialties: Adolescent, Adult Scoliosis, Aging Spine, Degenerative Conditions, Juvenile/Infantile
    Hello Linda,
    Thanx. Is there a reason you can give me as to your recommendation of
    Dr. Jeong? I think he is listed at TOI and I've been there before but is there a particular reason you think I should see him?
    Richka

  12. #12
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    Hi Richka...

    First, yes, things are definitely different elsewhere. I'm sure each surgeon has a max patient age with which they're comfortable operating.

    And, I posted Dr. Jeong's info because he lists "aging spine" as one of his interests.

    Regards,
    Linda

  13. #13
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    Доброе утро Richka ~ Рад тебя видеть

    Prisyadka - the ultimate work out! http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...ness+is%3Afree

    I have some deep Agashkin roots in St. Petersburg :-)

    In your search for relief - you may also wish to investigate the Schroth Method. Spinecor is also being used successfully on adults at this time. Some links below for you and feel free to PM me if you have any questions.


    http://www.schroth-scoliosis-treatment.com/
    http://www.schrothmethod.com/studies.html
    http://www.scoliosisxpert.com/uk/pageuk.php
    http://www.scoliosis3dc.com/http%3A_...liosis3DC.html
    http://sdwpt.com/

  14. #14
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    Prisyadka

    Доброе утро to you as well.
    How on earth did you know I performed prisyadki since age 14 and still at age 75?
    Da, I am Russian speaking, and spacibo bolshoe for this link to the Stroth method of treating scoliosis. I can't wait to start on it. More later.
    Richka

  15. #15
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    Richka

    Агашкин roots in St. Petersburg! Great.
    I meant to say thanks for the video of Zhel. I am very familiar with this group and have written and have published article about them. I have downloaded the video of the scoliosis treatment and will watch it soon. I think it may be directed more to youngsters though.
    Thanks. Richka



    Quote Originally Posted by mamamax View Post
    Доброе утро Richka ~ Рад тебя видеть

    Prisyadka - the ultimate work out! http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...ness+is%3Afree

    I have some deep Agashkin roots in St. Petersburg :-)

    In your search for relief - you may also wish to investigate the Schroth Method. Spinecor is also being used successfully on adults at this time. Some links below for you and feel free to PM me if you have any questions.


    http://www.schroth-scoliosis-treatment.com/
    http://www.schrothmethod.com/studies.html
    http://www.scoliosisxpert.com/uk/pageuk.php
    http://www.scoliosis3dc.com/http%3A_...liosis3DC.html
    http://sdwpt.com/

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