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Litttle ole' pretzel

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:21 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi Ya'all,
I am a 58 yr old grandma, currently living in Kentucky.

I was diagnosed with Ideopathic Scoliosis at age 14. I was x-rayed by an orthropedic (sp) surgeon every 3-6 months until my "S" curve stableized at age 17. I can't remember what the degree was then. I was thinking it was something like 39 Thoracic (sp) and 20something lumbar.

For 25+ years my curve(s) remained stable. I would get severe pain in the right thorac (sp) area when I did certain kinds of work or under certain kinds of stress. However, I looked "normal" in my clothes and it was not severe enough to feel self concious in a swimming suit.

Now that I am "post-menopausal" my curve has been progressing again. I definately do not look "normal" in normal clothes. People definately notice my deformity when I wear a swimsuit! I have seen several orthopedic spine specialists. All of them say my curve is not severe, I am not a candidate for surgery and that "scoliosis does not hurt"! One guy says my Thor. curve is now 49 degrees and another one says 61. The lumbar (compensitory) curve is about 10-15 degrees less.

I have had a series of bone density tests which show "osteopenia". And I have lost 1 and 3/4 inches in hight.

I have injured myself a couple of times in the last few years lifting or bending. In my younger days I was strong as a stevedore and never hurt my back doing those type activities. I assume that I pulled muscles or soft tissue since x-rays showed nothing but my curve.

The medical doctors prescribed celebrex since I am getting some arthritis. Can't take it because it agrivates my mild asthma. I have done physical therapy which helped for a while. I even obtained a "tens" unit for electrical stimulation. That helps a bunch but I have trouble putting the electrodes on myself.

About a year and a half ago I started seeing a chiropractor for the first time in my life. I finally found someone who would listen to my symptoms and explained my x-rays. Since I have gotten older, my discs have started wearing out, the bottom part of my worst curve is now twisting, and my cervical area is not curved front to back like it should be.

After a year and a half of chiro treatment, I have been able to maintain some flexibility. Before that I was stiff and "stove up". I couldn't raise my right arm to reach anything over my head. I couldn't turn my neck to look behind me when backing the car and I couldn't reach or twist to the side. I can do those things now.

Recently, I started neuromuscular massage. After the second treatment I could start taking a deep breath for the first time in years. The treatment is painfull and I am terribly sore for a few days but they tell me it will get easier as time goes by.

I have experienced pain level up around 8 or 9 before and I do not want to go there again. I have found that if I take action before my pain level gets to 5 it is much easier to bring down than letting it go past 5 or 6. I can live with level 3 or 4 so I hope to prevent it from ever going up high again.

I have had problems finding any information online about "adolescent scoliosis" that resumes progression after menopause. Am I the only one?

Thanks for listening,


  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what we can. you have alot of serious questions and are doing the right thing concerning your pain levels. i am going through menopause as well and am dealing with the issues that hands out. please make yourself at home. we have a section just for "Scoliosis." good luck to you! Jenny :)
  • Hi d and welcome to spine-health.com You will find a caring community here willing to help and support you. Hopefully some of our fellow scoliosis patients can answer your question and relate their experiences.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact (PM) any one of the Moderators here Priestess , Bruce , Paulgla, DiLauro

    The Spine-Health Web site offers so much more than these Member Forums. Check the various tabs at the top of the Spine-Health page and you will find so much that is offered here.

    All the best... Bruce
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

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  • Hi D,
    I wish I had some info for you, but I just wanted to thank you for posting your story. My mom had adolescent onset scoliosis and she is now 53, so your post makes me wonder if she will have any of the experiences you've had...
    I was very happy to hear that you have achieved some relief through the chiro, you must have found a good one.
    Good luck and thanks again!
  • I am a little pretzel sometimes, curled up from the spasms. My hamstrings are always tight, and I suggest doing stretches (mainly straight leg raises, even though this hurts a lot!) to all people with back/lower extremity issues. I must say that this is only a compilation of what I have read over the years and what I have seen in the hospitals (I work in medical records). You mentioned osteopenia. My brother has this condition, and it's very critical to find it early before suffering the debilitating injuries that frequently plague those whose bone density is decreasing. As the body ages, the bones naturally start to lose their density, but some people lose it at an unsafe rate. However, it is possible to increase bone density with new medications and therapies. I'm sure the efficacy of these treatments would depend on the person's own medical history. In your post, you said that you have trouble finding information on adolescent scoliosis. I think you might mean adult degenerative scoliosis. Though you had it as a child, I think that perhaps you have more of a degenerative disease at this point because the lack of estrogen at menopause, coincidentally, boosts the loss of bone density. [You also mentioned disc degeneration.] Estrogen is a natural protector against the infiltration of T-cells in the bone marrow, which would cause an increase in the bad type of bone cells: osteoclasts. In short, it leads to the demineralization of your bones. Thus, I think supplements such as Viactiv are great because they don't taste like crap and do give your body a chance to repair these bones. I imagine you might be able to do something like aqua therapy to help with your thoracic region. That would take pressure off your discs as well as the levels with the greatest curvature. I think that it would be more common than not for an ortho to tell you no surgery because of the bone density issue. I know it must be so frustrating and maddening, but harrington rod placement is so invasive, and it can really take a toll on the bones involved. When you add osteopenia or osteoporosis to the equation, you get screws and pins that back out because they have nothing to anchor to. Your bones are also more brittle, and hardware used in the procedure could cause further complications in that regard. This is, of course, technically from a layman's perspective and experience. I have just read/seen a lot. I had a TENS unit, and this did bring me comfort when combined with cryotherapy. Do you have anyone who could help you with the electrodes? I usually have my boyfriend stick them on if he's around. Otherwise, it is tough to place them symmetrically as well as on the correct sides, lol. I do not know first-hand what scoliosis is like, because my problems are in the formation of the vertrebra, but I imagine that there are a lot of compensatory issues that arise from the condition. I will try to find you some sites about some of what I mentioned, if you're interested. PM me if you want to talk. Welcome to the site, and I hope tomorrow is a better day for you.
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