Important Update: Calorie Count will be shutting down on March 15th. Please click here to read the announcement. Data export is available.
Health & Support
Moderators: tigermoth5, autopilotfrank193, nycgirl, bierorama, ksylvan, peaches0405

Scoliosis & Height

Quote  |  Reply

Okay, so I have scoliosis, and my back is really curved and I went to the doctors and they said that I needed surgery.  My doctor also said that when they do the surgery I will get a few inches on height, because he said when a string is curved and you straighten it out it is longer.  So does this affect my caloric burn?  I'm 5'4" now with scoliosis, but if I'm suppose to actually be 5'6", does that mean I actually burn a little more.

I'd appreciate any answers, especially from people with scoliosis or from a moderator w/ some knowledge on this. 

-- Thanks!

Edited Sep 09 2009 13:31 by nycgirl
Reason: 8/24/09: Stickied; 9/9/09: Unstickied
24 Replies (last)

Hmm...this is a tough one! I have mild scoliosis, which causes me to be just a little shorter than I should be, but I don't need surgery to correct it, so I can't speak from personal experience.

On one hand, I'd say you're not actually growing two more inches...they were already there and your spine is just straightening itself out, so I wouldn't think you'd burn any more calories. On the other hand, if your spine is lengthening, then your torso is going to need to accomodate those extra inches, and thus you would be "growing" a little bit.

I really have no idea, but I'd say you could safely eat what is recommended for your weight, age, gender, and a height of 5'6. Or just continue to eat like you used to, and if you feel a little hungrier, go ahead and eat a little bit more. I don't think height is a huge factor in determining calorie needs, unless you're talking about a person who's 4'10 verses someone who's 6'0.

Anyway, good luck with your surgery!

Quote  |  Reply

I have scoliosis too! I had to wear a back brace for 3.5 years it sucked :S

anyhow, I highly doubt that the extra couple inches you will gain will at all affect your burn rate, because like lena said they were already there, just your spine was curvier. And also like lena said the burn rate difference between someone whos 5'4 and someon whos 5'6 are not really different

Yeah..its is tough.  I guess I'll continue eating the same amount  -- my 1500 calories.  That is the minimum anyways for my age.  And I guess its working. 

But anyways, I can't wait for my back to be straightened after this surgery.  Thanks!

Thanks for responding!

I have one question -- did the back brace work for you? 
I was recommended not to get it because as the doctor said, I'm 16 and pretty much done growing and the brace won't do anything.  He said that my scoliosis will get worse and that I NEED surgery.  Which sucks.  I really didn't want to go that route.  But anyways, I'm suppose to be going for a 2nd opinion.  So hopefully, everything will turn out for its best.

Quote  |  Reply

How severe is your scoliosis right now?

The back brace luckily worked amazingly for me, my mom has severe scoliosis so the doctors continuously tested me for it starting when I was quite young, so it was caught when I was around 12 years old and I started wearing the brace when I was 13 through when I was 16. I think my curve was around 20 degrees when I started wearing the brace, and it progressed to around 25 or so. Currently its around 25 still, so fortunately I won't have to get surgery.

That is really quite awful that you have to get surgery, i feel for you!! Good luck.

Well I really don't know much about scoliosis, BUT I know my curve is 42 degrees.  So I guess its pretty bad considering yours was 20.  Thank heavens you didin't need surgery though, it looks painful. 

Well maybe it worked amazingly because they detected it young.  However for some weird reason, even though I have had many x-rays prior to detecting it, they didn't find it till this year.  And when they did find it they said it was too late for a brace.  But interesting info about the brace -- I'll look more into it.

Thanks :)

Well, I'm not sure about your caloric burn, (though I'm guessing it will have no impact) but I had the spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis years ago. It does increase your height a bit, but not too much. I don't really recommend the brace, especially with your case being at such a high degree. I had one before my surgery and it was the most uncomfortable and useless contraption... I strongly recommend the surgery. Sure, it's painful, but you'll be SO glad you did it. (I know I am!)

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask :)

Vanessaalysse -

Thanks for the response! I have a few questions: How tall were you before & after the surgery?  And how many degrees was your spine before and after?  What were some of the outcomes of your surgery?  How did you deal with the surgery (walking, eating)?  I've heard of people being really constipated after surgery.  How long did it take you to recover? 

Can't wait to hear!  Thanks. :)

Before the surgery, I was 5'2" and now I'm 5'4", so I only stretched out 2 inches, but I bet if your curvature is worse, you'll stretch another inch or so...

I can't quite remember the amount of degrees my spine was, but I know it was close to 31, and getting worse. My back is perfectly straight now. I'm not sure of the degrees for a perfect spine, but it's as good as can be!

As for outcomes, hmmm let's see...

Right after my operation (in the hospital) you can't really do much. The amount of anesthesia (and medication!) they give you keeps you super sleepy for about three days. But that's okay, you can't do much anyway. You mostly sleep and let everyone take care of you. By about the 4th day in the hospital, they get you moving around, small steps at a time. I remember it taking me about a day to fully sit up with my legs on the side of the bed (with someone lifting my back for me) They make you start walking again as well, and it makes you really exhausted. You're tube-fed for the first few days, but after that you start eating small things. I remember eating mac n cheese and strawberries a lot lol... But other than that, you can eat whatever you want. After about 5 days your ready to go home, but people need to help you sit up and walk. You do a lot of sitting and sleeping. I never had constipation after surgery. That might be a side effect with the medication for some people.

Immediately after surgery, I was in pain (a lot!) and couldn't do a whole lot of movement. I'm still able to bend my body and do anything else that a normal-spined person can do. But that's typical. It took at least a full 3 months to recover. You hardly notice that the rods are on your back. For me, I couldn't do a few simple things though, like push-ups or heavy-liftings, but that's just me. The hospital provided physical therapy that I attended each week, and that really sped up the recovery time.

As for now, I'm totally fine. I live each day like anyone else. The only problems I have are pain, but that's expected. I don't even notice that my rods are there, except for when I get pain (which comes and goes, mostly at night) And simple stretches cure that problem. Unfortunately, I have a scar all the way down my spine, but it's almost completely faded and you'd have to REALLY look to notice it.

I'm sooo happy that I did do it. I'm sure that not having the surgery would give anyone MORE pain than having it. I've read a lot of articles on people with scoliosis, and how they're ribcages collapse and kill them if it get's super severe. -yikess.

Hmm.. that's all I can think of for now. More questions? just ask ;)




Interesting.  I've always wanted to be tall.  :P

Thats awesome,  I guess you had a good surgeon!  About the pain after the surgery -- I figured that.  You just had surgery -- LOL.  Its crazy that you could still bend.  How long ago did you have this surgery?  Which doctor did your surgery? (looking up good doctors so far - haven't found one yet! :/)

 Sorry for so many questions!  Thanks

Oh! don't be sorry. I wish I would have had someone to ask all these questions to before MY surgery, so I don't mind!

I had it done about 5 or so years ago at a local Shriners Hospital. My doc was Dr. Sanders. I'm not sure where he's located now, but I know he did switch hospitals.

LOL.  Thank you!

So I guess the surgery is a plus.  Now I don't feel so worried.  The only thing is with my insurance, we're looking for doctors, my mother and I, and we're finding doctors, but some doctors don't take my insurance.  And my mom is really picky, because she wants the best doctor for me, but the thing is, its soo hard.  The doctors that do take my insurance, aren't really who my mom is looking for, and its also very few doctors.  Also, the doctor that I did go to that my pediatrician referred doesn't operate on minors, and he's a really goood doctor. :/

Well hopefully I have some luck looking for a doctor sooner than later, because sometimes I just can't stand at all.  Thanks for your help!

Oh yes, definitely a plus! I actually have a picture of my xray with my rods in my spine if you'd be interested in seeing it.

Have you looked into Shriners Hospital for Children? I HIGHLY recommend going there - I'm pretty sure they'll take any insurance, and all of their doctors are great. I'd even recommend traveling to get it done there.

Sure I'd like to see the picture, as long as its not  I'm a chicken :P

Shriners Hospital for Children -- I will def. look it up, since you had your surgery done there and from experience you said it came out well.  I'll definitely look it  though.  Hopefully they have one not to far from where I'm at in NY.

Thanks! ssaalysse09/?action=view&current=xray.jpg

there's the picture - hopefully you're able to view it. sorry it took so long :)

Thanks for the link -- I did get to see it :)

Interesting, pic.  Can't wait to get my surgery done, thats for sure.  And I'm a little confused about the Shriners, what kind of hospital is it, exactly?

I'm not exactly sure, lol, but I just know it's a children's hospital.

There's a link for the website.

Thanks.  My mom is actually interested.  We're going to sit down later and and take a look at the site. 

Hopefully something will help us here.

Thanks again. :)

Hey, I'm glad I could help! Hopefully things go okay :)

You're most welcome!

I too have Scoliosis, I went to Shriners hospital in Tampa Florida from the time I was 12 til the time I was 21 (we had to travel 4 hours to get there, but it was so worth it).  They told me that a brace would not help me because the curvature was too far gone, but they also said it wasn't bad enough for me to be a candidate for surgery so I guess I was kind of in between.  Anyways, I've just learned to live with it.  I do notice that the more weight I lose, the less I have back pains.  Of course, the heavier I am the worse my lower back hurts.  I have nothing but amazing things to say about the Shriners hospital.  They are an amazing organization with amazing doctors and staff.  We never paid for anything.  They basically just had me come every few months, and then twice a year and then eventually once a year to do xrays and keep an eye on it to make sure it didn't suddenly progress.  When my son was born, he was born with osteo genesis imperfecta, which is a soft bone disease, I immediately knew where I was going to bring him for all of his care.  I think they will take you up till you are 21, but check on that. good luck to you, I hope your surgery goes well. All the best to you. Smile

24 Replies (last)