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Thread: confusing advise from a physiotherapist

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    confusing advise from a physiotherapist

    today, a friend phoned me to say that she had been discussing my kyphosis and possible spinal fusion op with an aquaintance of hers who is a physiotherapist;

    the friend thinks I am crazy for considering a spinal fusion at my age (37 years). She said it will seriously impede my mobility ( I will be fused T2 to L2) and I should consider very carefully what I want to gain from the operation. And weigh that against the probable outcome.

    I do understand that the outcome of a spinal fusion cannot be accurately predicted or guaranteed.

    I feel REALLY IRRITATED by this 'advice' as the physiotherapist in question does not know me or my back BUT I assume she is a professional professional with experience and has passed this message to me with good reason.

    Can anyone offer any insight as to what she might be getting at? From comments on here, I dont think my mobility will be 'seriously impeded'. Do you just think that she is just trying to convey that my pain might not be completely relieved? I am scared that I am failing to see some horrible consequence of having surgery??


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    If the surgery goes as planned, your mobility shouldn't be impeded at all.....unless by "mobility" this lady actually means "ability to bend your back"

    I was fused down to L3 as a teenager and never had any noticeable lack of movement at all, I used to go clubbing three times a week during my 20s. I'm now fused T1-L4 and I did a five hour hike yesterday - up and down hills, clambering over gates and through hedges. And take a look at Ti Ed, he goes skiing and he's fused all the way down into his pelvis!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Northern Virginia
    Hi Fandango -
    Okay, setting the obvious surgical risks aside, I don't see how fusing your spine from T2-L2 would impede your movement, seriously or otherwise.

    There is very little movement that happens in the thoracic area anyway and you would still have quite a lot of flexibility if your fusion stopped at L2.

    I guess I don't understand what she was getting at. Do you have an orthopedic Dr. you see to monitor your spine? If you don't, that might be a good place to start and not heed advice given by 'professionals' who have not treated you, however well intentioned the advice may have been.
    Julie - 51 yrs old

    Dx'd 1973 - 43* thoracic curve / rotation
    Wore Milwaukee brace 1973 - 1979
    Pre-surgery: 63* thoracic / 52* lumbar curves

    Surgeries: P - March 16, 2009 - Fused T3-S2 with pelvic fixation
    A -April 14, 2009 - Fused L5-S1
    Achieved +70% Correction
    Dr. Khaled Kebaish, (and team) Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore

    Standing x-ray
    New Spine 03/19/2009
    New Spine Lateral 03/19/2009

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by fandango View Post
    Do you just think that she is just trying to convey that my pain might not be completely relieved?
    I think she is trying to convey through her comments that she doesn't have a lick of relevant training and that you should be asking surgeons these questions.
    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
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Try not to be too irritated by this. As surgical candidates, we will hear all sorts of expert advise from people who donít know about scoliosis or kyphosis. Your doing what???? Are you insane?

    Thatís why its best to do your research and post....Its your decision and only yours.

    In my case, I came out pretty darn good. I had some complications, but in the end, it was worth it. I recently posted some pics addressing my mobility.

    This is not an emergency. I waited 34 years from my first diagnosis to have surgery. It is a serious surgery, that can have complications and surgery back in the 70s was a different program. Things are much better today.

    T2-L2 is a long fusion. You will need a specialist that has done kyphosis surgeries.

    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves 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

    My x-rays

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern California
    I totally agree with Ed. You're very likely to hear a bunch of negative things from people who know nothing about the surgery. I can't tell you how many people asked me if I was crazy even considering surgery. Even my primary care physician said that. I held off seeing a surgeon for several years because of those comments.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Some medical professionals are clueless about scoliosis.

    One doctor told me, 3 years after my revision at 60, that scoliosis surgery is not done on persons older than 19!!! I told him to throw out his outdated books.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    i wouldnt ever take the word of a "physotherapist"...a scoliosis doctor, surgeon, pain management doctor maybe...but not a "physiotherapist"!

    i think the only thing that might possibly be lost would be arching one's back...aside from ballet, not sure where/who else needs that...? yoga maybe? modern dance?

    best of luck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    You know I was just remembering a friend from many years ago who was having an "elective" thyroid operation. In front of a group of people, someone asked her if it was really necessary. She held up her hand like a traffic cop giving a "stop" sign and said, "It is very necessary." Someone else pressed on and again she said, "It is very necessary."

    Sometimes we get too explanatory about our decisions when the best answer is short and direct leaving no room for discussion.

    Just rehearsing for the future,
    58 yrs old, diagnosed at 31, never braced
    Measured T-64, L-65 in 2009
    Measured T-57, L-56 in 2010, different doc
    2 lumbar levels spondylolisthesis
    Exercising to correct

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Central NJ
    Ignore these comments from 'friends'. They are scared for you and they are uneducated. I am fused T3 to L3 and I have no complaints on mobility. Yes, I can't twist like I used to, but I'm not missing anything. Life is good.
    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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Thank you all! Lol at Pooka.

    I don't think the PT has been a very good advert for herself. I've been thinking about it, I would never make a professional judgement on something without the full information (in this case an exam), particularly without being askd!!

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