WAG Scoliosis and back pain

kimute

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Proud Parent
Dec 29, 2012
293
CA
My DD, 14 year old L 9 has been having some mid/low back pain on one side. I took her to get X-rays todays to rule out fracture. Turns out she has scoliosis. The Physician Assistant we saw said that this asymmetry is causing her back pain. Not even sure what my question is. I guess, does this make sense? What now? How should this impact gymnastics? Interested in hearing from anyone with experience. We don't have a radiology report yet so I don't know the degree of the curves, but the images are below. She isn't menstruating yet even though almost 15 so I guess she's still growing so I suspect we'll have to keep tracking this. Thanks for any stories, advice, or encouragement!

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ego248

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Proud Parent
Jul 9, 2016
42
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My daughter who is now 12 was diagnosed with scoliosis almost 2 years ago. She started out wearing a brace just at night and curves were well controlled.

The curves did progress this year to 20 degrees as she she had a growth spurt, entered puberty and wasn’t wearing the brace as much because she had outgrown it (it took a few months to get a new one).

Now she needs to wear it for at least 20 hours a day. Her doctor said that if she is consistent about wearing the brace for the next 18 months and the curved are controlled she will be done with treatment then.

She did have some minor back pain. Her doctor encourages her to exercise and continue with gymnastics if she wants to.

Resource we found: https://www.curvygirlsscoliosis.com/
 

ego248

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Proud Parent
Jul 9, 2016
42
51
Just wanted to add - other daughter who is now 16 has very mild scoliosis. Doctor just monitored but didn’t recommend treatment.
 

Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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Take the time to find a good doctor/PT to work with for this one. One that understands gymnastics and communicates everything with you in a clear way.

Scoliosis is very individual, and of course a lot depends on the degree of curvature and how it progresses over time.

We have seen everything from kids who have needed no intervention at all to those who need surgery. Together with your doctor you monitor the development of the curve, any pain etc.

But always read cautiously and follow up with any back pain. You don’t want to let her mess up her back in her teen years. It can result in life long problems.
 

Koobs36

New Member
Proud Parent
Oct 15, 2018
3
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My daughter is 14 and was diagnosed with scoliosis about 3 years ago. She has 2 smaller curves that did not require treatment but requires monitoring. She gets checked twice a year at a scoliosis center at a large hospital. They require monitoring for about 2 years after they start their period. After that we have been told that the curves will be stabilized as their growth will be minimal.

As for gymnastics, my daughter does complain of pain intermittently. It is usually towards one side. She also gets muscle spasms in her back. We have found a weighted heating pad to be the best treatment for her. She will take advil at times. We did try PT for awhile when she has had particular bad stretch of pain Her doctor is fine with gymnastics as they say the core strength and flexibility is helpful with this diagnosis.

Sorry you had to get this diagnosis, but try to remain positive. I hope her curves are minimal and her pain lessens soon.
 
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novagymmom

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Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
May 19, 2020
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I am a former gymnast and also have scoliosis. (It was actually my coach that detected it based on my set up for skills on beam. She encouraged me to get it checked out by a doctor.) Anyways, mine was bad enough that I was borderline brace / surgery for treatment. I did NOT was surgery as a rod in my spine would have ended gymnastics for me. They wanted me in a back brace 23 hours/day. However, I told them I had 4 hour practices 4 days/week. I was told that was fine as the core strength I achieved from gymnastics would be good for it. Therefore I had to wear the brace for everything except showers and gymnastics practice. I had to wear it until I reached skeletal maturity (as determined from my x-rays) - I believe this was about a year after reaching menstration.

I feel fortunate because other than the brace and some very minor back pain and fatigue (that I might have had anyways), I have not had pain.

Best of luck to your daughter.
 

KipWinger

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Proud Parent
Aug 5, 2018
105
I also have relatively severe scoliosis (curve of just over 45 degrees) and am a former athlete. I started wearing at age 12 for 23 hours a day for 2 years and 12 hour a day for another 2 years to reduce the need for surgery. The only time I didn't wear a brace was when I was training. And like novagymmom's doctors, my doctors thought the training would benefit my core strength.

Luckily, I have never had more than mild hip/back pain, for which I'm very grateful. However, I will say that my sport was much less likely to stress the back than gymnastics.

I do think the impact of scoliosis does vary widely from person to person. I would strongly recommend seeing a pediatric orthopedist for monitoring/follow up, particularly for kids with moderate to severe curves (>=20 degrees), and a PT familiar with gymnastics for the pain.

My daughter (who is a gymnast) had lower back pain last year and I did worry about scoliosis, but thankfully, it resolved with PT. Thankfully, she doesn't have much of a curve at all!
 

profmom

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Nov 18, 2011
9,461
Region 7
My daughter had mild scoliosis. She worked with a chiro who taught her some good strengthening exercises for the small stabilizing muscles in the back. the consensus between the chiro and the back ortho doc was that gymnastics was a positive.