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Does Lumbar Scoliosis affect pregnancy and sex?

By June 15, 2009 - 3:47am
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i have scoliosis in the lumber region of my back and i was wondering if it affects pregnancy and having sex.

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(reply to Anonymous)

Hi, Anon, and welcome. I'm so sorry you're having such pain.

When is the next time you have an appointment with your ob/gyn? Does she/he have any experience dealing with scoliosis patients?

At 21 weeks, you are just past the halfway mark, so any kind of pain management you figure out (like sitting on your stability ball, for instance) is great. You might also ask your doctor if anything like acupuncture, chiropractic or massage is recommended.

September 21, 2009 - 5:10pm
EmpowHER Guest

i have just discovered that i have thoracic scoliosis or whatever is, and i wanted to know whether it can be cured. i am only 19 years old. please help

September 9, 2009 - 12:19pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Hi, Anon:

Thoracic scoliosis is a curvature of the spine in the middle of the back (thoracic = mid-back).

Lumbar scoliosis occurs in the lower back. I have mild lumbar scoliosis (around 20 degrees curvature). Mine was never diagnosed until within just the last couple of years. These days, though, I think parents and doctors are far more observant and informed than back when I was the age at which I should have been properly examined, diagnosed and treated.

There's no "cure," but there is treatment and, in some cases, surgical correction. It's best to consult a specialist about your case.

Don't be scared; see your orthopedic specialist for an opinion and treatment possibilities. Stay in touch with us to let us know what you learn and how you're doing!

Learn more here.

September 9, 2009 - 4:42pm

thanx alot. God bless

June 29, 2009 - 8:40am


To understand a neurofibroma, it's good to understand how a nerve works, first.

Here is a diagram of a nerve. (Don't fret that it's from a multiple sclerosis website. That doesn't apply to you. It's just the best diagram I found that showed what I wanted on the nerve.)


There are a lot of components in the nerves, but what we're interested in is the myelin sheath, or the covering of the nerve. It appears sort of sea-green in that diagram. Its purpose is to help speed along messages through the nerve system in your body.

There are millions and millions (some say more than a billion) nerves and nerve endings in your body. A Neurofibroma is a benign growth in the myelin sheath of a nerve. The reason it can cause pain is (a) depending on its location, it can press against the nerve and trap it in a small area (within the spine, for instance, or within the carpal tunnel of the wrist) or (b) if it grows large enough, it can press against something else in the body and cause pain that way.

If you have just one, it's called a neurofibroma. If you have more than one (some people have several or many), it's called neurofibromatosis. It's a genetic condition; do you know if either of your parents (or even grandparents) have had neurofibromas?

Did your doctor say whether your neurofibroma was dermal or plexiform? Those are fancy words, here's what they mean. Dermal neurofibromas commonly look like small lumps and bumps just under the skin -- like very bad acne, for instance. They increase in size and number as a person ages. Wikipedia cites The American Journal of Pathology as saying that "While dermal neurofibromas can lead to stinging, itching, pain and disfiguration, there is no evidence of malignant transformation." That means they rarely if ever change into a malignant growth.

Plexiform neurofibromas can be larger, and they can grow either just under the skin or in nerve bundles deeper inside the body. They are usually congenital, which means you've probably had it since birth and haven't known it. They can be difficult to remove because they travel through different layers of tissue, which could be damaged surgically. About 90% of plexiform neurofibromas stay benign; however, about 10% can change and become malignant. If this is the kind of neurofibroma you have, you will want to ask the doctor about the following:
1. Is this a plexiform neufibroma?
2. If so, will you want to do surgery or leave it alone?
3. If you do surgery, what are the dangers?
4. If we leave it alone, what are the risks?
5. If we decide to watch it for a while, how long until we check it again?

Usually, plexiform neurofibromas are removed surgically. Even though there's just a 10% chance that it would turn malignant, it's easier to take out while it's benign. And just because it's benign doesn't mean it can't grow further, causing you more pain or difficulty.

One of the best explanations of the condition that I found comes from Children's Hospital Boston:


Here is another hospital's overview of the condition:


Is this information helpful? Do you have more specific questions? And can you tell me what your doctors say the next step is for you?

June 29, 2009 - 8:31am


I'm so glad you came back with an update, and that your curvature is only about 20 degrees. That's good news. Also, having the MRI find something benign is good news also.

I'll be happy to do some research for you; can you tell me the location and size of the Neurofibroma?

June 29, 2009 - 8:01am

Thank u very much for all ur help. i have done the MRI and thank God my curvature is about 20 degrees.but the MRI reveal a bbenign tumour - Neurofibroma so the doctors are studying the MRI and are yet to get back to me. That may be the cause of the pain. any information about Neurofiboroma. thanx.

June 29, 2009 - 3:09am

Hi, Damilola. So glad you found us at EmpowHer. Thanks for your question!

Can I ask how old you are? I'm assuming you are perhaps a teenager?

Have you ever had surgery for your scoliosis? (Either spinal fusion or a Harrington rod?)

Do you have pain associated with your scoliosis? And how severe is your spinal curve?

With sex, scoliosis is like so many other things -- it affects everyone differently. If you can be active in other ways -- sports, for instance -- without pain, chances are you can have a fulfilling sex life without pain. If you do have pain or difficulty, a little experimenting with different positions may be all you need to do to relieve the discomfort. Here's a page that talks about sex with back pain or back difficulty:


And here is a page from a scoliosis support group where they are talking about having sex (some had the surgery, some did not):


And in terms of pregnancy -- good news. The National Scoliosis Foundation cites a study done by doctors in Delaware who studied 355 women who had scoliosis. They studied them to find the answers to two questions: (1) whether pregnancy made scoliosis worse, and (2) whether scoliosis seemed to be of any risk to pregnancy. They found the answer to be primarily no in both cases (and this was for those who had had surgery AND those who had not had surgery). The women who had not had surgery had a greater risk of having their curvature increase than those who had not had the surgery, as you might expect.

Here's that study:


And here's an article about healthy pregnancies in women with scoliosis:


So while you may have some increased challenge with either pain or flexibility, as long as that is manageable it looks like everything else is easily handled. Does this put your mind a bit more at ease?

Did you have any more specific questions we can answer that this information didn't cover?

June 16, 2009 - 8:46am
(reply to Diane Porter)

Thank u for ur reply. I am 26yrs old and i just got married in Feb 09. i have not had a surgery and i do not hope to have. I have had it since i was much younger but it was not attended to and it was not until last week that i found out that i had Scoliosis. I started experiencing pain in my right waist in December. When i cough, sneeze , laugh or miss my step, i get a sharp pain from my right waist. i have to hold it. I am going to do MRI Scan as advised by the Doctor. I do not always experience pain during sex, it depends on the postion i am. i was just wondering wheter the weight of pregnancy can affect the back and if losing weight will reduce the load the back carries.
thank u

June 17, 2009 - 1:01am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to damilola)

Hi, I am a 30 yo mother of two, and when I was 14, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. I had a brace for 2 years, 24 hours a day, and didn't experience pain until I was 17. My doctor told me that I would not be able to carry a baby to full term, because I have lumbar scoliosis, and now I have 2 healthy kids. I do, however have a couple pieces of advice. Do not over use your back, no jarring movements, I would not recommend running, or shoveling dirt. Keep yourself if the best shape possible, I swam and practiced gentle yoga. Before you get pregnant, get in the best shape possible, and if you can, don't gain more than 45 lbs with your kids ( I did not follow this advice and regret it. )Finally, don't count on an epidural to work, be prepared for natural childbirth. With my first, I was 23, and the epi worked, with my second a year ago, they couldn't get it in the right place and the only thing that went to sleep was my thigh. There is no reason that you can't live a full and active life, as long as you take care of yourself, and make modifications to your life. Also, nix the high heel shoes, and get some orthotics ( I wear good feet). Best of luck to you!

November 19, 2009 - 9:24pm
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