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Thread: Spotting other people with scoliosis

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Having had scoliosis, and subsequent pain and surgeries, for longer than I've been without (since I was 12 - I'm 31), I notice scoliosis in others a lot - I just seem to be more aware of uneven shoulders and rib humps. I was in the store the other day and noticed an elderly woman, walking with a cane, who was bent over completely, with a rib hump, so that she had to raise her head to look straight ahead of her. My heart went out to her - there must be some pain with that.
    I didn't have a choice when I was 12 to have surgery or not - they said with my progression and rotation, there really was no option - they predicted I would be having difficulty walking by time I was 20, and have chronic heart and lung problems by time I was 30. My curves were in the high 70s by time I had my surgery when I was 13. I hurt a lot prior to the surgery too. Scoliosis is what I've known, and my experience with it has helped shape who I am as a person. I have had really bad pain, (better since this last surgery ), that resulted in me having to lay down when I got home (I tried not to let it affect my work). Other days, I adapted to it. My pain thresh hold has increased with the surgeries and complications I've had.
    IMO, pain is a personal experience and depends on the individual. I think it's natural to be aware of scoliosis in others, when it's what has been a significant factor in our lives.
    Nov. 2006 - revision surgery
    Aug. 1992 - revision surgery for hook removal and pseudoarthrosis
    July 1989 - Cortrell Doubosett procedure - two rods and fusion T4-L4 (age 13)

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by
    I do find my pain tolerance has gone way up, and realize sometimes when I'm just doing normal small chores, that I hurt and feel exhausted, and I keep going. And then I almost callapse on my couch and want to cry!
    Wow! Bertha...I just could not have expressed it better than you did. I'm always trying to find words to express to my husband and doctor how I feel, but I often stay quiet with a great loss of words. After 30 years of ups and downs with my spine, well, suffice it to say that my tolerance of pain is very high. So many times my family and close friends "see" me in pain and ask me to slow down when I just keep going. Yes, I think that I'm normal and keep going until my body makes the decision for me to rest and that is when I end up on my couch close to tears.

    Thank you so much for sharing. So much.


    1975 Clear hard plastic body cast worn
    1976 Operated for high grade Spondylolisthesis; lumbar fused from L2-Sacrum and Harrington rods inserted
    1976 Wore regular type body cast and in bed rest for 1 year
    1977 Rods removed
    2006 Diagnosed with Flat back syndrome with sagittal imbalance
    2008 Scheduled for wide pedicle subtraction osteotomy, sooner if pain increases

    My email is

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    I'm an "oldie" with scoliosis

    Quote Originally Posted by Singer
    It seems as though ever since I made the decision to have the surgery I keep seeing older people zipping around with severe curves, seemingly doing very well. This messes with my mind a little. Today I saw an old lady in the supermarket who obviously had the same kind of curve I do -- one hip was way higher than the other -- and she was very, very short. She was walking okay, but she was leaning pretty heavily on the shopping cart. I wanted to talk to her in the worst say but I didn't have the guts. I wondered if she was in pain... if only we had a crystal ball and could see where we would be in 20 years if we didn't have the surgery!!

    Okay, enough rambling. Nothing's changed....I'm still having the surgery. Just wanted to get all that off my chest....
    I have not noted anything from someone on the forum that is around my age (77) who has had scoliosis for years to learn how they cope with the disease as it gets progressively worse. It's at the stage now where my back seems incapable of hardly holding my body up. My curvature was never measured or anything. When I asked what was the worst thing that could happen to me the dr. replied "a wheel chair." I am glad that you are having surgery, an option that was not brought up years ago. Perhaps 5 years or so ago I was told that surgery was not a good option and that 2 other options were not any good either. I frown on using a full brace as was told that once you do use one then a person can't get along without it at all.
    I wish you luck with yout surgery and am glad for you that you don't put it off any longer. I'm living proof that it only gets worse as a person ages.
    Nice keeping in touch. Elaine eb

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    near Philadelphia
    Thanks, Elaine. I'm sorry you are having such difficulties with your curve, but it does help me with my resolve to take care of mine while I'm relatively young.
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    new jersey
    Ironically, I was heading in for my most recent check-up for 3 mos..(in Dec) & As I approached The Hospital of Special Surgery(HSS) in NYCity, I noticed a workman right in front of me with a horrible limp & it looked like very bad scoliosis where he was completely crooked & to one side. I can't say a 100% it was scoliosis but it sure looked like it.... I sighed...
    I'm grateful that I was able to get help. I can't express in words how much better I feel inside & out!
    PS. For those of you who have'nt seen my surgeon's website, check it out. There are several pictures of kids who had horrible curves & were helped greatly.....

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Central VA
    Quote Originally Posted by CHRIS WBS View Post
    For so many years as I've walked behind people, I would find myself studying their backs and wondering if they knew how lucky they were to have beautiful straight spines.
    Thank you, Chris (if you are still on this forum)-- how true this is.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Thanks for bringing up this thread. Prior to my surgery, my friend and I were at a coffee shop watching the passing parade. We noticed a very tiny, elderly woman with a familiar look, bent forward, holding her head up to see ahead. She had a severe rib hump and it appeared one hip was almost up under her rib. I pointed her out to my friend, saying that was what scoliosis looked like unchecked into old age. She was visibly shocked.

    Only yesterday I was in a queue behind another tiny woman with severe scoliosis. I dearly wanted to talk to her but shyness and not wanting to embarrass her, stopped me. She didn't appear to be in pain, and as I watched, she smiled brightly and chatted to the cashier. Still, my heart went out to her.

    Gratitude isn't a "big" enough word to describe how I feel after being saved from a crippled and most likely, painful, future.
    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

  8. #23
    Join Date
    May 2009
    I do the same thing
    I'll be at the store or at church or recently at a yard sale and I'll see someone that looks like they have Scoliosis or Khyposis.

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