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All communities will be placed in read-only mode (you will be able to see and search for posts but not start or reply to discussions) as we conduct maintenance. We will make another announcement when posting is re-opened. Thank you for your continued support and patience, and if you have any further questions, please email

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Adult Scoliosis
kalle940 posted:
I am 22 years old, and have had back, hip, and knee pain over the past couple years. Today, I finally found out that I have scoliosis, which is creating pressure on my sciatic nerve.
Although the orthopedist told me that continuing physical therapy would be all that I need to do, I am wondering if I should talk to my doctor about surgery. I know that surgery is not usually considered in adults, but I have been going to physical therapy for over a month now and am still having issues. I have a very physically demanding job, and have not been able to work in the past week and a half.
The orthopedist told me that this is just something that I am going to have to live with, but is there any way that my doctor would consider recommending surgery? What are the chances that I will have a better quality of live after surgery? Are there any alternative treatments that I should consider?
davedsel responded:
Hello and welcome.

We are a support group of lay people who have more experience with back pain than we would like. No doctors or health care professionals reply to the posts in this WebMD Back Pain Community. Also, it is against the rules (Terms Of Service that you agreed to when registering your account) to provide any type of diagnosis or medical advice.

There is a Tip at the top of this community that lists the recommended steps for diagnosing ad treating back pain. Here is a link to that Tip:
Within that Tip are links to websites that have good information about spinal conditions and treatments.

You can and should talk to your primary doctor about your condition and prognosis. You should also get several opinions from spinal orthopedic surgeons/specialist and/or spinal neurosurgeons/neurologists. Surgery would always be the last resort and you have to weigh the risks against the benefits. You may also benefit by seeing a pain management specialist that is a physiatrist. They will offer various treatment options and methods to manage your pain.

Keep moving as much as possible. Keep a positive attitude. Keep doing your research.

I pray you find answers and relief soon.
Click on my username or avatar picture to read my story.


debs_bears responded:
Hi Kalle and welcome - I can tell you that they will not do surgery on anyone until it gets to about 40%.

I recently was diagnosed with thoracic scoliosis mine is shaped like a S going from T2 - T12. The top part is now at a 11% and the bottom is now at a 8%.

One is required to have Xrays every 6 months to see if there is any changes. I was told that I will need at least a 12 vertebrae fusion but only when it gets to a 40% curvature. I will live with the pain for now and not rush into surgery as I already have a 7 vertebrae fusion in my neck.

When I was first diagnosed it wasn't measurable now it is only in 6 months - I go back to my spinal surgeon in Dec.
dianer01 responded:
Hi kalle,

I have a friend who was diagnosed with scoliosis in her teens and is now 50ish. She has used an inversion table with the blessing of her doctor to help avoid surgery. So far this has helped although she has lost 3 inches in height over the last 30 years.

Different therapies help different people, this is something you may want to talk to your doc or physical therapist about. Surgery should be your last option as once you do it, you can never go back and there is no guarantee it will work for you.

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