Many children who are sent to the doctor by a school scoliosis screening program have very mild spinal curves. However, when intervention is needed, the pediatrician may send the child to an orthopedic spine specialist. Specialist treatment options may include observation, bracing or surgery.

I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 12. I had a curve that was considered an “S” curve since the spine starts to form the shape of an “S”. The pediatrician sent me for X-rays and referred me to a Scoliosis Specialist named Dr. Hugo Keim. I had x-rays taken every few months to monitor my curve. Originally I was not considered an operative case but my curve had progressed 13 degrees in one month. The specialist recommended surgery to correct the curve and stop it from worsening while I was still growing.

Many surgical techniques can be used to correct the curves of scoliosis. The main surgical procedure is stabilization, by fusion of the curve. My surgery was many years ago and I had to be in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital for 3 weeks. In my case, I had a 9 inch Harrington rod that is no thicker than a pen. The rod fused to my thoracic vertebrae and stops at the first lumbar vertebrae. After surgery, I had to wear a fiber glass trunk cast for 8 months.

The cast was cumbersome, hot and drove me crazy since I was a very active child. I would frequently just put on my bathing suit pants and wear the cast since it fully covered my trunk. The two facts that bothered me about having the surgery was, I was no longer going to be able to do back hand springs and Dr. Keim said one of my restrictions in the future was I could not jump out of an airplane.

Even though my spine is fused, one of my hips is slightly higher than the other, one shoulder blade protrudes more than the other and the right side of my ribs extend higher than the left. I am extremely grateful that I was able to stop my curve from progressing. Moderate to severe scoliosis can be really debilitating and really painful, not to mention dangerous to lungs and the heart. I am able to remain very active in life and control my back pain with proper body mechanics and monitoring movements that increase back pain. When I do encounter back pain, acupuncture is my saving grace!

Thankfully, many years later, surgical procedures are now less invasive with faster recovery times. It’s important to have an early diagnosis and there are a number of different resources for education like “Catch the Curve”,  which is a scoliosis video for young people. To learn more, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQmBIhnHnAE .

About the Author ELITE ACUPUNCTURE

Carleen Implicito is a licensed acupuncturist in New Jersey and New York, board certified nationally by the NCCAOM, with training in the specialization of Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture. She completed a graduate degree in acupuncture at the Eastern School of Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine in Montclair, New Jersey.  Her education at the Eastern School has made her understand that not only does acupuncture treat modern day ailments or injuries, it also enhances recuperative power, immunity, mental and emotional balance. Acupuncture addresses the root of the disease as well as the symptoms. Health is achieved, and disease prevented, by maintaining the body in a balanced state. The mind and body are not viewed separately, but as part of an energetic system. Carleen’s passion lies in educating and empowering patients about their health.  She believes that providing patients with knowledge about their health issues, and lifestyle choices aids in achieving better health and overall well-being. With an undergraduate degree in Athletic Training, from Purdue University, Carleen has worked with athletic injuries in various sports. She specialized in orthopedics, sports medicine and musculoskeletal injuries. Her background in Athletic Training has given her an extensive understanding of anatomy and physiology. Carleen’s goal is to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western medical treatments and to further enhance the communities’ education in East/West therapies.

2 comments

  1. Wow. I saw your article on scoliosis and my story is EXACTLY the same. I could have written this. Dr Keim was also my specialist. I had surgery in 1981.

    Like

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