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Thread: 19 Year Old Male. Scoliosis Progressing.

  1. #1
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    19 Year Old Male. Scoliosis Progressing.

    I'm new here. I am a 19 year old male and I have scoliosis. It started back in 08, or probably way before that, but I started noticing a big dip in my left side caused from Scoliosis. I was really skinny, so it was noticeable. I told my mom and a month later, I was at a doctors office. He said I have "mild" scoliosis and he made me take X-rays. Those X-rays showed a pretty big curve, but he said that it was only 15* and that I can do sports and go to the gym because it wasn't severe. I was happy that it was minor and I could just keep playing sports and working out, but that wasn't the case. Ever since, I felt my lower right back/oblique getting thicker and more painful. I was starting to be in pain daily and even hourly. However I sat, stood, walked, etc. it would throb and be very uncomfortable. I then told my dad this is getting worse and I need to see a spine specialist. He told me first, go back to the first doctor to see if you can get another x-ray. A year after the first one in 09, 2-3 weeks ago, I went back and got an x-ray at doctor 1. The curve was definitely worse. He measured it and said 40*. I was stunned and shocked in disbelief, there is no way I curved 25* in 1 year. So I went to a spine specialist last week. He made me take X-rays and as I was waiting worried in the patients room, he comes in and tells me, " I recommend Surgery" he told me the first doctor measured wrong and my first curve in 08 was 40* and now it has progressed to 50* and it will get worse if I don't get surgery.

    So now, I am worried about getting surgery. I'm 6'4 and after surgery, i'll probably be 6'5-6'6, and I don't want that for 1. Second, I won't be able to play any sports or gym, I will lose a LOT of weight sitting in bed not eating. I also can't understand a 19 year old being banned from playing sports/gym. It makes me feel horrible. Plus, my scoliosis is very low, so that means with my incredibly long legs, I won't even come close to my feet to put on socks or shoes. I was at the Stanford Spine Clinic and Ivan Cheng saw me. I have no idea how good he is, but from what I hear, he is one of the top spine surgeons in the bay area.

    Sorry for the long read, it's just I don't know If I should get the surgery or not. I'm really worried and doubt I'll recover quickly.

  2. #2
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    Hi,

    We're still pre-surgery so I can't give you too much good advice, but I have a son near your age with a curve in the 50s (although his is in his upper back). Right now, it's stable, but we may be looking at surgery if it progresses.

    Did you dr. tell you that you wouldn't be able to play sports afterwards? I know there is some restriction on sports immediately after, but I've seen some reports on kids who played basketball after they'd recovered from their surgery. Also, people under 30 tend to recover fairly quickly - you won't be in bed for too long.

  3. #3
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    Hi JDM555,
    You most definitely will be able to play sports after your surgery. Probably not right off the bat, but after you heal. I had surgery at age 67, and nine months later was given the go ahead to go back to roller skating, quads on a wooden floor, not roller derby. The much younger folks on this forum will be a big help to you as to what you can and cannot do after surgery. Yes, you will be able to put your shoes and socks on by lifting your leg onto your opposite knee. Right after surgery, an Occupational Therapist will show you how to put socks on with an assistive device and you can use elastic shoe laces for awhile. Ask any and all questions here and someone will help you. By the way, I love tall men. Where were you when I was in the market?

    It is a frightening thing to be told you need this kind of surgery. I know I was terrified, but the thoughts of not having the surgery and a future in a wheelchair is much more terrifying. We will help you on this journey. Try to get at least one more opinion, maybe two. Find an SRS surgeon on this website. http://www.srs.org/find/

    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDM555 View Post
    Second, I won't be able to play any sports or gym,
    Do you mean you won't be able to do sports for 6-12 months?

    I agree with the other comments.

    Based on all reports, it would be very unusual if you were not able to resume sports given a successful surgery/fusion.

    My daughter was released at 8 months to do everything except bungee jumping. Of course normal people shouldn't be doing bungee jumping so no loss there.

    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."

  5. #5
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    Yeah, I understand about 8-12 months after surgery I will be able to play. But I wouldn't want to risk any collision and causing damage to my spine. Also, I've worked very hard at the gym for the past year to get where I am at. I use to be 6'3 125lbs and now I'm 6'4 192lbs, I know for the first 1-2 months, I'll lose at least 25-30 lbs and for the following months not going to the gym, will get me back down to 150. That just pisses me off. I wish I just had a normal spine, I hate the pain and surgery that this scoliosis is causing me.

  6. #6
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    I hear ya JDM555, but I suppose some of us just have to make sacrifices in life. Keep yer chin up though mate, I am sure you will have a fine life after surgery and do most things you want to.

    Sounds like your fitness level is quite high, so you will probably recover nicely after surgery. Also if your scol is only located in the lumbar, it means you might only need a few levels of your spine fused.

    IF you have to have surgery, sure you will be out of action for a while, but after that you can start bulking up again and training.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    I hear ya JDM555, but I suppose some of us just have to make sacrifices in life. Keep yer chin up though mate, I am sure you will have a fine life after surgery and do most things you want to.

    Sounds like your fitness level is quite high, so you will probably recover nicely after surgery. Also if your scol is only located in the lumbar, it means you might only need a few levels of your spine fused.

    IF you have to have surgery, sure you will be out of action for a while, but after that you can start bulking up again and training.
    Yes, I am very serious about the gym/fitness. I have worked very hard and it would just crush me to lose it all again and then have to start over from scratch. I'm pretty sure it is just Lumbar scoliosis, but it is very low, so I'm worried I won't be flexible at all. I already can't reach my toes, so I don't need to be another extra foot or two off my feet.

  8. #8
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    Hi JDM555,

    I'm a 24 year old female and I will be five months post-op tomorrow. I had a 46 degree curve prior to the surgery and was fused from T12-L3. I don't think I got much taller but then again I'm about 5'4" so that could be why. It would have to be less than an inch difference for me. Since your male, I'm guessing most of your height is in your legs so it probably won't make a huge difference. But then your vertebrae is wider so it's hard to say. Your surgeon should be able to give you a rough estimate though.

    Everyone is different with the weight loss. I only lost 3-4kgs and put it back on before two months. I was worried about this as I have a small build (52kgs at the moment) but I had protein drinks which really helped. Since your pretty muscular, your doctor may allow you to resume exercise a bit earlier. You'll have to ask them about this. Also, regarding sports, you'll be fine to do anything you want after a year. Your spines fuses fully by this time and so short of anything catastrophic, you should be fine.

    Having the surgery now will be hugely beneficial for you. You're still young so there's less risks and you'll have a much quicker recovery. I can do pretty much anything I want right now and I feel great. I even clipped my own toenails about two weeks ago. I was off pain meds in six weeks. I would really recommend that you find a surgeon you trust and go with it because it will almost certainly continue progressing and really impact your quality of life when you get older. Good luck
    Diagnosed at the age of 18 (2004)
    46 curve
    Surgery scheduled for April 27, 2009 - Anterior fusion from T12 - L3

  9. #9
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    Hi JDM 555
    i dont blame you for feeling annoyed, furious, etc...i suspect there might be even some stages of grief going on...denial, anger, etc....no one could blame you for having all those feelings...but...after a while, when you've "processed" the feelings, i think you might look at it differently...unfortunately, scoli doesnt go away...most of us dearly wish it did! so...the options are ...letting the curve get worse, which it likely would, or having the surgery....it seems you have worked really hard in the gym, for months, maybe years, to change your body & make it into what you wanted it to be...you are to be congratulated for your dedication & persistence....
    however...the younger you have the surgery, the quicker & better you will recover...& this time, i dont think you will have to start from scratch...i think all that work you did will pay off...your recovery will likely be quite rapid...which means you wont lose as much weight as those who take longer to recover...& you will probably be allowed back to the gym alot faster than those older & less gym experienced than you....


    best of luck to you whatever you decide
    jess

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cimbom View Post
    Hi JDM555,

    I'm a 24 year old female and I will be five months post-op tomorrow. I had a 46 degree curve prior to the surgery and was fused from T12-L3. I don't think I got much taller but then again I'm about 5'4" so that could be why. It would have to be less than an inch difference for me. Since your male, I'm guessing most of your height is in your legs so it probably won't make a huge difference. But then your vertebrae is wider so it's hard to say. Your surgeon should be able to give you a rough estimate though.

    Everyone is different with the weight loss. I only lost 3-4kgs and put it back on before two months. I was worried about this as I have a small build (52kgs at the moment) but I had protein drinks which really helped. Since your pretty muscular, your doctor may allow you to resume exercise a bit earlier. You'll have to ask them about this. Also, regarding sports, you'll be fine to do anything you want after a year. Your spines fuses fully by this time and so short of anything catastrophic, you should be fine.

    Having the surgery now will be hugely beneficial for you. You're still young so there's less risks and you'll have a much quicker recovery. I can do pretty much anything I want right now and I feel great. I even clipped my own toenails about two weeks ago. I was off pain meds in six weeks. I would really recommend that you find a surgeon you trust and go with it because it will almost certainly continue progressing and really impact your quality of life when you get older. Good luck
    Thanks a lot for the kind words. I guess I just have to get the surgery and hope for the best. Good thing there is muscle memory, so even if I lose some weight/muscle, I can get it back a lot quicker than when I first started. At least I won't have an uneven back and thicker oblique on my right side which makes me look like a freak. How is the scar situation? I heard something about CD Horizon where they have the cuts on your side and there like 1" long, and there are 4-5 (varies by how many need to be fused). Instead of one big scar down the middle.
    Quote Originally Posted by jrnyc View Post
    Hi JDM 555
    i dont blame you for feeling annoyed, furious, etc...i suspect there might be even some stages of grief going on...denial, anger, etc....no one could blame you for having all those feelings...but...after a while, when you've "processed" the feelings, i think you might look at it differently...unfortunately, scoli doesnt go away...most of us dearly wish it did! so...the options are ...letting the curve get worse, which it likely would, or having the surgery....it seems you have worked really hard in the gym, for months, maybe years, to change your body & make it into what you wanted it to be...you are to be congratulated for your dedication & persistence....
    however...the younger you have the surgery, the quicker & better you will recover...& this time, i dont think you will have to start from scratch...i think all that work you did will pay off...your recovery will likely be quite rapid...which means you wont lose as much weight as those who take longer to recover...& you will probably be allowed back to the gym alot faster than those older & less gym experienced than you....


    best of luck to you whatever you decide
    jess
    Yes, Thanks again for your kind words as well. I hope I can lift weights at the 8 month mark or something but just take it easy. I think I might heal/recover quicker, but I'm worried there might be a problem involved. I know there always has to be a complication involved with any surgery or surgery my family had. So having anything go wrong, would be something I'd never to get over.

  11. #11
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    Sep 2009
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    also lift weights

    hey, JDM555

    I also lifted weights until about two months ago, when i found out that i had scoliosis. I am 38 and just figured that my back pain was normal. I lifted weights at least once a day, sometimes even twice a day. I ate great and watched everything. I was just told by my doctor last week that he recommends surgery. I am also crushed, but i am glad that it can be fixed. I predict that I will lose some of my muscle, but I am planning to resume lifting as soon as I can. I even went out and bought some weights for my home and elastic bands. I hate not working out! I actually stopped squatting a while ago, because it hurt. I didn't know why, it just did. Now I know the reason. Consider yourself lucky you are doing it early in life and can resume working out as soon as possible..

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rich1752 View Post
    hey, JDM555

    I also lifted weights until about two months ago, when i found out that i had scoliosis. I am 38 and just figured that my back pain was normal. I lifted weights at least once a day, sometimes even twice a day. I ate great and watched everything. I was just told by my doctor last week that he recommends surgery. I am also crushed, but i am glad that it can be fixed. I predict that I will lose some of my muscle, but I am planning to resume lifting as soon as I can. I even went out and bought some weights for my home and elastic bands. I hate not working out! I actually stopped squatting a while ago, because it hurt. I didn't know why, it just did. Now I know the reason. Consider yourself lucky you are doing it early in life and can resume working out as soon as possible..
    Hey glad to see other people who work out daily as well. I was very serious about my diet/workouts. I stopped doing squats/deadlifts/military press because it all puts stress on the spine. I hope I can recover quick. I want to do it during winter break, it's from Dec. 14 till Jan. 22. But my brother/mom's birthday is on Dec 17/19 and I wouldn't want to ruin their bdays by worrying them in surgery. Do you think Dec. 20 till Jan. 22 is enough to recover and go to school?

  13. #13
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    Being physically fit will allow you the best possible recovery. Maybe you should ask your surgeon what exercises he recommends that you avoid. Don't think that you will never be able to exercise again because you will.

    As far as reaching your feet, you might be surprised. Depending on how low you are fused you might not have a problem. I am fused T3 to L3 and as of a few weeks post op, I was putting on my socks and shoes by myself. Like I said to someone else recently, everyone's recovery is different, so you have to wait to see how things are for you.

    Good luck,
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  14. #14
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    Wink

    I'm 5'3", and didn't gain any height. Only weight... Probably due to sedentary lifestyle! But I'm back to exercising, walking, free weights. I even did a 5K yesterday! So life goes on. And, hey, I love my scar! And it goes a long way. From the base of my neck down to my, uh, well, all the way down! I've had three surgeries in the last year, hence, my sedentary ways. I kept waiting for it to heal. But this past month, I bowled, went to two Silver Stars Women's basketball games, and toured all over San Anotnio (even in the rain). Life is good. The surgery isn't easy, but it's worth every single pain, ache, and muscle spasm. I can put my shoes and socks on now, but it did take several months before I was able to accomplish that. Still taking it one day at a time!
    Les, Biker Babe, age 56 (at time of first surgery)
    Fused T2 to S2, posterior only, 8 Apr 08
    T3 fracture repair and revision, Mar 09
    Broke left lower rod and pelvic screws removal, Dec 09
    Scheduled to remove all hardware, replaced everything instead due to non-fusion, Nov 10
    Remove top 2" of rods and screws, Feb 14
    Pre surgery degrees: L40, T45
    Post surgery degrees: L8, T10

    Happy, joyous and pain-free!
    Surgeon: C Timothy Floyd, MD, Boise Orthopedic Clinic

  15. #15
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    Hi JDM...

    I think you need to ask Dr. Cheng to give you the names and contact info for a few patients similar to yourself, who have already gone through surgery. You've made some incorrect assumptions, and these people will be able to give you a proper idea of what they went through.

    Unfortunately, people with lumbar curves are usually not candidates for the minimally invasive surgery you mentioned. But, if you're interested in pursuing that, you might want to see Dr. George Picetti at Sutter in Sacramento. He's known for that type of surgery.

    Regards,
    Linda

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