View Full Version : my battle against scoliosis

10-21-2003, 05:31 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm new to the list. I have posted a messages previously, but I guessed something happened. Well, I'm posting it again.

I'd like to share with you my story and how I've been coping with scoliosis since the say I found I had it.

I was born in Peru 28 years ago. When I was 9, I noticed one of my hips was slightly higher than the other. I didn't care and continued living my normal life. When I was in my teens, it got worse. People made fun of me because I walked with one shoulder higher than the other. I was confused. I didn't know what was going on. People told me it was because I didn't know how to walk properly. I tried walking in different ways, but nothing seemed to work. So I grew up thinking I didn't know how to walk, how to stand up right. I thought I was clumsy.

Later on, when I was 23, a doctor told me I had something wrong with my hips. He told me to see a back doctor. The back doctor thought maybe one of my legs was longer than the other. So x rays were done to check my legs and back. It was then when the doctor found my curvature. It was just like an S. He didn't know what to do so he sent me to another doctor. This other doctor finally found out what I had: scoliosis. He performed a set of 4 x rays, and told me there was nothing to do. I was too old to wear braces. The only thing I could do was exercise, wait, and see. He told me to go back after 3 months for another set of x rays to check my progress. I started exercising, but I never went back.

That same year, 1998, I came to the US. Here I found more information about scoliosis. I also found out x rays can cause cancer and it should be performed with a lead shield. I had never used a lead shield during a x ray session in Peru, not even at the dentist. Now I'm glad I didn't go back for the other set of x rays.

I got a gym at home and started lifting weights to build my back muscles. Years later, people didn't notice I had scoliosis until I'd mentioned it. Later, I introduced low impact aerobics and yoga. Now, people don't notice it. Not even after I tell them. They think I'm joking.

I've never had my curve measured with a scoliometer. I would've liked to check my progress.

Exercising have helped me a lot. I feel better and I look better.
This is what I've been doing in the past years:
I lift weights to strengthen my back muscles so they can support my spine and "pull" it in place.
I lift weights up and down to develop my shoulders and upper back muscles.
I do sit-ups to develop abdominal and lower back muscles.
I do low impact aerobics, which strengthen and stretch my muscles while being kind with my joins.
I do yoga to stretch my muscles and improve my posture.
I combine all this exercises in a 85-minute routine.
I do yoga for 15 minutes. Then I do a 70-minute workout where I combine weight lifting with low impact aerobics.

If you want to start exercising, you can start 20 minutes one day, then add 10 minutes more the next day.
Remember to keep your back straight.
Always warm up for 5 minutes before exercising
Always warm down after exercising.
Don't lift more weights than you should. You are the one in control, not the other way around. If your body or arms shake while lifting weights, or if the weights pull you forward, then you should lower the amount of weights.
When lifting weights, keep your elbows slightly bent and your wrists parallel to your forearm.
If you always get a neck pain after doing sit-ups, get a sit-up equipment to isolate your abdominal muscles.
If after doing aerobics, you can't sing but you can talk, then you have done the right amount of exercises. If you can't talk, then you have overdone it.
If your spine hurts after performing a certain movement, then don't do it again.
Let your muscles rest every other day. This means you only exercise every other day.
Always ask your doctor before exercising.

I hope this help you with your battle against scoliosis

Take care


10-21-2003, 08:10 PM
hi im a new member also, i was just wondering what kind of exercises you did for your back, or if others have some they would like to share that would be cool to. thanks a lot

Diane Quinlan
11-02-2003, 04:45 PM
I am 52 years old and was treated with braces and casts while I waas in school. When I turned 16 years old, my doctor told my parents that I was done growing and there was nothing more to be done. I became a nurse and worked initially in a nursing home...I was in so much pain when I got home and was losing height...I saw an orthopedic surgeon when I was 29 years old and had a Harrington Rod placed and my spine fused. It was a long and difficult recovery, but I have been fine until a few months ago. I have had a lot of problems with osteoarthritis, but no problems with my spine. I started having backaches in the middle of my back. I forgot to tell you that my original curve was around 120 degrees. My pain was across from the concave area. Then, I had nerve pain that ran around the front of my ribs. I had burning pain and numbness. I had xrays done. I had a follow up appointment with my rheumatologist, who happened to measure my height. I've lost 1.5 inches! I also saw a neurologist on Friday who encouraged me to see an orthopedic doctor who specializes in spines. My xray also said I had severe deterioration in my spine.
So....is there anyone else out there who has a similar problem? I've been unable to work over the past 2 weeks because of the back pain. I am hoping there is an option other than surgery. If anyone can give me suggestions, I'm anxious to hear from you.

11-20-2003, 02:09 PM
Hi Diane - I cannot believe that I came upon your posting as I have experienced the exact same type of pain that you are describing. I also have osteoarthritis as well as chronic back pain but this year, a new twist was added. This year, I have had episodes of extreme pain across my rib cage in the abdominal area. This acute pain has happened 3X since February wherein I have had to go the ER for pain relief. They cannot seem to diagnose what is causing the pain. My pain goes from my left rib cage all the way across my middle area. I get terribly nauseous, start to hyperventilate and have trouble breathing when the pain is at its worst. I will wake up with this terrible pain when I was fine going to sleep. The hospital gets the pain under control with a Dilaudid pump and then send my home. They have run a battery of tests for my organs and they have all come back fine. They want me to go into a teaching hospital which supposedly can run more thorough tests as they are at a loss. What are your symptoms? Are they constant or do you sometimes get acute pain as well? I would love to know more about what you feel as I called my scoliosis doctor and he said that he has never seen this happen from his other patients. I wish you all the best. Thanks.:confused:

Diane Quinlan
11-20-2003, 08:38 PM
Debbie - my pain is also severe and was across my ribs and stopped at the middle of my abdomen. I also have the same problem with not being able to catch my breath....it is a burning pain and also caused numbness. This pain is caused by a pinched nerve. I think my curvature has gotten worse and is pressing on a nerve. I was placed on Neurontin and am on the maximum dose. The pain is almost gone while I'm on this medication. I finished one bottle and didn't renew it...about 3 days later, the pain was back so bad....I did renew the prescription. So, the pain is much better on Neurontin, but I don't want to stay on this forever.
I was always very limber as a child....I've since talked with a physician who told me that I was so limber because my joints were loose....that's why my osteoarthritis is so bad at my age. The joints took such a beating all those years and wore the cartlidge out. I could've gone for further testing to see if this is genetic, but since I don't have children, I didn't. I'm going to see the spine surgeon next week....I've had a lot of surgery and just don't know if I can take another. I've been terribly depressed. This isn't like me at all...I'm usually very optimistic and a happy person. For some reason, I'm really terrified of this surgery. But, I will know more when I see the surgeon next week. I am so sorry you are going thru this, but it is nice to have someone else to write to.

11-24-2003, 01:19 PM
Hi Diane - Thank you for responding to my email. I am so sorry that you are experiencing this pain as well. I am very interested in what the surgeon says when you see him/her this week. I have been hospitalized 3X this year for this pain and they cannot seem to diagnose it so reading what you are going through helps me just to know that someone else is experiencing a similar thing. I saw the surgeon and he seems to never have seen a patient with these symptoms so I am at a loss at what to do now. They want me to go into a different hospital - a teaching hospital where they can run different tests but that means waiting for that horrible, itense pain to come on again. I would not wish that on my worst enemy as when it does come on at its strongest, I am in such dire pain and it takes them a full day to get the pain under control. My husband is wonderfully supportive but it is so hard on him when that happens. We have been married only one year and I hate to have to put this burden on him. I have tried neurontin in the past but it has not helped me. The only thing that gets the pain under control is the dilaudid pump that they put me on. I can relate to feeling very down. I also used to be a very happy, positive person but that is not me any more. Each day is a challenge to get through - not knowing if the pain will increase. You take good care and I hope that the surgeon is able to help without another surgery. I have had 2 back operations and I know that I do not want to go through that again. All my best, Deb

Diane Quinlan
11-26-2003, 08:58 PM
I saw an orthopedic spine reconstruction surgeon yesterday...he measured my curvature at 80 degrees...that is my corrected measurement. (My fusion and Harrington Rod was done 25 years ago). He told me that surgery will be a major undertaking...so he wants me to have a myelogram. The earliest date I can get that done is Dec 18th. I'm not looking forward to having that done as I have heard that it is painful....I've also heard that they give you medications so that you are not really awake for it. The surgeon wants to know what nerves are affected. If I didn't have the rod, I could just have an MRI done. I wish I could do that instead of the myelogram. It's never easy tho. Anyway, that's my update.

11-26-2003, 10:10 PM
Hi Diane...

The CT-mylegram is usually not all that painful. It can be uncomfortable laying on the table, but injecting the dye isn't bad. One can get a horrendous headache afterward, but you'll be given instructions on how to avoid that.