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  #1  
Old 2nd January 2014, 05:53 AM
joeybeatle joeybeatle is offline
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Default Need some extra opinions on my Kyphosis case

Happy New Year everyone!

I stumbled across this website a few days ago while doing some research on my case and could use some opinions from people who suffer from the same thing.

I've had Kyphosis and mild Scoliosis in my back since I was in elementary school (I'm now 21) and nothing was done about it until I was in high school. The first visit to the specialist, they told me I had a 67/68 degree curve in my back and wanted to keep an eye out on it to see if it would progress. Two years later when I returned, my back progressed to 69 degrees. They said surgery was an option but I could be fine without it. Since then I had experienced a lot of back pain especially in my lower back and in my neck. My back cracks a lot when I try to fix it or straighten it out. I also suffer from a lot of depression caused from the look of my back in recent years. I've recently seen a doctor about it but he only prescribed physical therapy. I have not been given a degree but I feel as though it is progressing slowly.
I've been thinking a lot about surgery for awhile now and I'm looking into trying to find another specialist for their opinion. I'm just afraid for the consequences that could come about with the surgery such as not being able to do some of the things I love doing such as exercising, running, bodybuilding, and sports. But then again, I am also afraid that my back will get worse and the pain will continue.

What are your opinions on my situation? I have attached some photos so you can see for yourself what my back looks like.

http://imgur.com/nuQitjp
http://imgur.com/pjUGO92
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  #2  
Old 2nd January 2014, 04:45 PM
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GillyG GillyG is offline
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Default Re: Need some extra opinions on my Kyphosis case

Hi there

I'm not very experienced when it comes to kyphosis but I can certainly see the evidence in your bending photo. I think the standing one looks as if it's not too severe, but like I said, I'm no expert! I think you are doing the right thing in seeking a referral to a specialist since they are the only ones who can give you a realistic set of options based on X-rays and examination. Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 2nd January 2014, 05:34 PM
KMaxwell KMaxwell is offline
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Default Re: Need some extra opinions on my Kyphosis case

Welcome, joeybeatle!

I agree with Gilly - fortunately your curvature does not look severe in your standing photo though it is more prominent in your bending one. If I had to guess I'd say you were still about 65-70 degrees, but please understand it's hard to tell from a photo and I'm not a doctor.

I understand the concerns regarding appearance - my curvature is 80 degrees (and has been since my teens) and I always hated how my back looked. The funny thing is, hardly anyone else ever seemed to notice it but I remember every instance when someone did say something about it.

In my opinion the surgery is too major to risk it just to improve your appearance but if you are in a lot of pain and other forms of treatment don't help, maybe surgery is something you should consider. As Gilly said, you really should see a specialist. I've been to many doctors who misdiagnosed my condition (even a regular orthopaedic surgeon) and it wasn't until I found a surgeon who specializes in spinal deformities that I got an accurate diagnosis.

I'm not sure where you live but the srs.org website (scoliosis research society) provides a list of really good specialists you can see.

Another thing to keep in mind is that every doctor tends to measure Cobb Angles a little differently. I've received measurements varying from 80, 86, 78, 80, 66 and 77. (The doctor who measured 66 actually did it incorrectly, measuring from the center of the affected vertebrae instead of the end plates...) It's generally accepted that each time your curvature is measured, there's a margin of error of +/- 5 degrees. I wanted to mention that because it's possible your curvature has been stable since your teens and the 69 degree measurement you more recently is within that margin of error. Just something to keep in mind...

If you do see a specialist who feels surgery is the best option, I will say that having it done now at your young age will be an advantage in terms of a easier/faster recovery time. I wish I could have had the surgery done when I was your age but the flip side is that the technology back then wasn't near as good as it is now. Of course that could also mean that if you wait 10-20 years the technology could be even better than it is now.... There really is not perfect scenario, you just have to weigh the pros and cons and do what's best for you.

Welcome again and I hope you will continue to post how things go for you - this is a great group here at SSO who have been very helpful and kind to me. Plus it's wonderful to have people who understand what you're going through since most people with 'normal' spines don't seem to get it...
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- Kay

I was diagnosed with Scheuermann's Kyphosis at age 16. I had an 80-degree thoracolumbar kyphosis and mild scoliosis. My posterior fusion surgery was performed by Dr. Sethi in Seattle on Earth Day 2014. It reduced my kyphosis to 50 degrees and my scoliosis to about zero.
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Old 3rd January 2014, 12:29 AM
toref toref is offline
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Default Re: Need some extra opinions on my Kyphosis case

Welcome to SSO Joey,

I agree with Gilly and Kay here. The curve doesn't seem severe from the photos. I wouldn't rush to conclusions regarding the kyphosis causing pain in your lower back as your lordosis looks natural, but I can appreciate the neck pain as the kyphosis seems to affect your neck most.

Note that the thoracic part of the spine has substantial flexibility in young age, and the fact that you have different (and seemingly progressing) curve measures doesn't necessarily mean that the curve as such is progressing. It could also mean that you are measured with different postures within the natural range of flexibility in your spine. It may also differ between morning and evening. As you get older the flexibility will decrease. This is one of the biggest arguments for having surgery as early as possible - higher flexibility means less invasive and less complicated surgery and will give you a better result.

Talk with a specialist in spinal surgery is my recommendation. The decision to have surgery will probably not be straightforward, so you need to weigh the pros against the cons. The specialist will help make these pros and cons more clear for you.

Best of luck. Keep us posted.
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Old 4th January 2014, 11:31 PM
joeybeatle joeybeatle is offline
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Default Re: Need some extra opinions on my Kyphosis case

Thanks for the advice and information everyone!

I was advised by that specialist I saw back in high school to work on stretching my hamstrings as they were really tight at the time. That helped a little bit. For awhile now, I've been trying different exercises to help straighten and make my back more comfortable. My back has felt more flexible but I didn't see much of an improvement in my posture or the back pain.

I'm gonna give that specialist a call again but the only problem is that he worked with the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and since I'm not a child anymore, I don't think he will be able to see me again. I'm gonna see if they can refer me over to another specialist in the area. Thanks Kay for mentioning srs.org... I've been looking into different specialist in my area!

By the way, I was looking at some old X-rays from back then and found one that measured my curve at 73 degrees. I had no idea that there could be a margin of error when it came to measuring the curve. Thanks for pointing that out Kay and toref!


Here's another picture of my kyphosis from about 2 years ago. You can see the curve in the neck a little better without the long hair:
http://imgur.com/vb8GDM8

-Joe
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  #6  
Old 6th January 2014, 01:49 AM
KMaxwell KMaxwell is offline
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Default Re: Need some extra opinions on my Kyphosis case

You're right, Joe. The 2nd photo does show your neck curvature a bit more clearly. Your curve apex looks it's higher up on your thoracic spine (for comparison, if you look at the photo on my profile page, I have more of a thoracolumbar curvature which means more of a lumbar lordosis but less strain at the neck like you have).

Hope you find a specialist close by you can go see. Best of luck and keep us posted on how it goes for you.
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- Kay

I was diagnosed with Scheuermann's Kyphosis at age 16. I had an 80-degree thoracolumbar kyphosis and mild scoliosis. My posterior fusion surgery was performed by Dr. Sethi in Seattle on Earth Day 2014. It reduced my kyphosis to 50 degrees and my scoliosis to about zero.
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  #7  
Old 14th January 2014, 02:24 AM
joeybeatle joeybeatle is offline
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Default Re: Need some extra opinions on my Kyphosis case

I have an appointment tomorrow morning with the same specialist I saw back in high school. We'll see how this goes for me...I'll keep you posted!
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  #8  
Old 14th January 2014, 05:28 PM
KMaxwell KMaxwell is offline
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Default Re: Need some extra opinions on my Kyphosis case

Very cool that you get to see the same doc you saw when you were younger. Hopefully he will be able to provide you with some good information and guidance.
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- Kay

I was diagnosed with Scheuermann's Kyphosis at age 16. I had an 80-degree thoracolumbar kyphosis and mild scoliosis. My posterior fusion surgery was performed by Dr. Sethi in Seattle on Earth Day 2014. It reduced my kyphosis to 50 degrees and my scoliosis to about zero.
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  #9  
Old 26th January 2014, 10:33 PM
joeybeatle joeybeatle is offline
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Default Re: Need some extra opinions on my Kyphosis case

Sorry I haven't been keeping you posted but I was having some issues with my insurance and I needed to get x-rays done again so the doctor wasn't able to do anything about it. I have another appointment scheduled next month with him.

In other news...

While getting my x-rays done, the radiologists found a small crack in the lower back part of my cervical spine. She called it "Clay-shoveler fracture" and said that it was irritating the ligament in my neck which is causing the neck pain. Usually it is caused by an accident or heavy lifting such as weight lifting. I do a lot of weight lifting but I'm thinking maybe it was caused from me trying to keep my back straight during exercises which put more pressure on my back and neck.
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