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The problem with spinal fusion
dmjacks1 posted:
The Problem with Spinal Fusion
Scoliosis is a very common diagnostic in America. Many people have some form of scoliosis, weather it is severe or very mild. Scoliosis is not a huge health risk and it progresses very slowly. However, it is still something that needs to be taken care of and treated as soon as possible. It is defined as a curve in the spine, it can be s or c shaped and can curve to different degrees in different directions. Also, since there are different severities of scoliosis there are different treatments that can be taken to help correct the problem.
A very mild case of scoliosis is usually less than twenty degrees, and before a child is done growing. When this happens a child is usually just watched over the years to see if the curve increases at all. If a curve gets worse and gets to about thirty degrees doctors usually prescribe a brace for the child to wear. The brace is to help the spine grow straight, rather than growing in the path of the curve. If curves become forty-five degrees or more and are still growing, and children who are done growing and have curves of sixty degrees or more than doctors usually insists on the child having a spinal fusion surgery to try and correct the curve (Rowe, Bernstein, Riddick, Adler, & et al., 1997).
Wearing a brace to help correct scoliosis, or at least stop it from getting worse, only really works when you catch it at a young age. When you are prescribed to wear a brace you have to wear it for a long time. Most kids have to wear it anywhere from 8 to 23 hours a day. In a study I found most kids who wear a brace less than 23 hours a day show little improvement in their spine (Weinstein, Dolan, Cheng, Danielsson, & Morcuende, 2008). Even though many kids will hate to wear an uncomfortable brace for that long, it can still help them in the long run. Now that I am informed more about scoliosis treatments I personally feel like it is a much better option than having a spinal fusion surgery. The surgery is very intrusive and although it helps correct the problem faster it doesn't always have the best outcome.
In many cases of scoliosis you will have what seems to be very severe back pain. I found out I had scoliosis by going to the doctors because of my back pain. Although I have had a spinal fusion surgery and have not had any real complications, I would not recommend it to anyone. I was told I needed to get a spinal fusion surgery and that I really didn't have any other options. I had two curves over 50 degrees and going in opposite directions and one curve that went in towards my rib cage, which was about 20 degrees. I unfortunately caught my scoliosis too late to try a brace to fix it. The only real severe thing about my case was the fact that my spine curved in towards my rib caged and could penitently hurt my ribs and lungs. Otherwise my curves were severe but they don't cause as many health risks. My surgery ended with two of my vertebrae being fused together and my curves being brought down to one 20 degree curve and one 30 degree curve still in opposite directions and my curve in towards my rib cage barely being there. I also now have two metals rods, four hooks and twenty screw in my back attached to my spine. Even though my results sounds good on paper and look a lot better on my x-rays, I now have a harder time doing simple everyday tasks.
dmjacks1 responded:
One thing in my life I see as a problem for myself is having my spinal fusion surgery. I had my surgery when I was sixteen. And as a teenager in high school I missed out on a whole summer because I had to have surgery and heal from it. I missed out on playing sports and doing minor physical activities. Even now, over two years after my surgery I am still having back pains, which are actually a lot worse than before. I still can't do a lot of physical activities such as different sports. It is harder for me to lift things and it is difficult to sit for long periods of time. I wake up every day and my back hurts and it just doesn't stop, it always feels stiff or sore. My nerves in my back still aren't healed and my back is now very sensitive to anything touching it, even though I went to physical therapy 3 times to try and correct my minor complications. But when I went to the doctors to have my back checked out and they suggested a spinal fusion surgery, they didn't talk about the negative effects on your body after the surgery. The doctors only informed me of what could happen if I didn't have my scoliosis corrected. This to me is a big problem. I think people need to learn about their health problems not only from their doctor but by them doing research to make sure they know what they are signing themselves up for. When I agreed to have my surgery done I was in no way capable of making such a large decision. I think as the patient we all need to be careful and look into spinal fusion surgery on our own and understand what all the positives and negatives are of having such a procedure done. This may be a problem for other surgeries or treatments too but I defiantly feel like spinal fusion surgery is something you really need to think about before agreeing too. Scoliosis is a common thing and many people do go untreated. So if you are suggested to get the surgery you really need to take the time to help yourself and see what other options you have, if you really need the surgery, and if the positive effects after the surgery out way the negative effects. People not looking into their own health and seeing what they think is best for them as an individual is a big problem to me. The only way I see to solve this is people need to be informed, if individuals don't realize this is a problem they won't see they need to fix it for their own good. To help inform people there can be flyers put up at small town clinics and hospitals about taking their health problems into their own hands. Eventually I think there should be a person you can talk to before surgery, who can act like a counselor to help you weight the positives and negatives of a spinal fusion surgery. People need to be informed about the after effects of surgery, just as much as they need to know what can happen if they don't get the spinal fusion surgery. If I would have been informed before making my decision I might not be having the difficulties I am today, being informed in your health choices is a big deal and it's[a name="_GoBack"> all up too you to help yourself.
This is a paper I wrote for my English class in college about how not looking into spinal fusion carefully before getting it, can you effect you.

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