Scoliosis affects 2-3% of the population, with the vast majority of cases developed in teen and preteen years. A few symptoms of Scoliosis include: uneven shoulders, one more prominent shoulder blade, uneven waist or one hip higher than another. Girls are more likely to develop the condition than boys and treatments include things like braces, fusion surgery and physical therapy.
As a result, it’s important to share the stories of these patients, including that of Spinal Champion Joseph, who tells his story of pain and Scoliosis surgery here in his own words. We are always seeking to tell the stories of more Spinal Champions! Consider submitting your story and participating in our Spinal Champion program here.
Scoliosis, Spondylolisthesis and More
In my high school freshman year, back pain became increasingly debilitating for me. As I grew taller, things began to become clear. The plainly evident scoliosis (curvature), spondylolisthesis (misalignment), spondylolysis (stress fracture), stenosis (narrowing around the nerves), among other findings on numerous s-rays, CTs, and MRIs, began to cause more pain that increasingly took over my life.
This was unhelpful because I was interested in sports, played the violin, and was involved in advanced academic programs at school. However, it was very difficult to do almost anything without substantial pain in my lumbar spine. In the spring, most kids my age were enjoying activities outdoors. Unfortunately, I was restricted and desperate for relief from pain. Thank goodness, a remedy was coming.
Treatment & Recovery: Scoliosis Surgery
Following that time of pain, and on the recommendation of my specialist, I underwent an anterior L5-S1 fusion. Even though I felt weak and tired, my legs felt much better. I was amazed at the progression as I improved each day. I went home without any complications. On day seven post-surgery, I was off all pain medications. There were occasional bouts of minor pain and soreness as I recovered, but I was vastly improved. I was pain-free in a short time.
Joseph’s Life Today
Consequently, through the skill, great expertise, and compassion of my doctor, I’ve been given the opportunity to focus on all the great things that life has in store for me. This means, I look forward to finishing high school and heading off to college. From what seemed to be depths of despair from unremitting pain in my life, I’ve found inspiration to study biomedical engineering. I plan to devote my own future education and career to help others through research and innovation. I hope that I might help someone in the future . . . and pay it forward!