Scoliosis – Definition and Treatment

Scoliosis pic
Scoliosis
Image: WebMD.com

Paul W. McDonough, MD, is a spine surgeon in Abilene, Texas. Having completed a spine surgery fellowship, he received the most advanced spinal surgery training available. One of the conditions that Dr. Paul McDonough treats in his practice is scoliosis.

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine grows with a sideways bend instead of remaining straight. It often manifests itself during puberty, but its cause is largely unknown. Outwardly, people with scoliosis can appear to have uneven shoulders and an imbalance in the waist and buttocks. However, scoliosis can be mild or severe, and in mild cases, a person might not display outward abnormalities. In severe cases, scoliosis can complicate movement, affect lung function, and constrict the heart.

There are several methods available for treating scoliosis. A brace can be used to correct spine curvature in people whose bones are still developing. The brace fits close to the body and is practically undetectable beneath clothing. In some situations, people with scoliosis require surgery. The most common procedure is a spinal fusion. Using rods, screws, and hooks, a surgeon links bones in the vertebrae together so that they can’t move independently, which allows parts of the spine to fuse together over time.

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Mary Jones’ Recovery from a Broken Neck

broken neck
broken neck

Abilene, Texas-based physician Paul McDonough, MD, has performed more than 5,000 surgeries since the start of his medical career. He received spine fellowship training, the highest level of training offered for spine surgery in the United States. In 2011, Dr. Paul W. McDonough gained recognition in his community for helping a woman recover from a broken neck.

The patient, Mary Jones, endured severe abuse from her husband at the time. Mary Jones’ neck was broken during an argument and her abuser refused to seek medical treatment for her for four days. When medical personnel came to retrieve Mary Jones from her home, she was dehydrated, weak, and unable to move. Dr. McDonough performed surgery to stabilize her spine, but Mary Jones’ condition was so precarious that her chances of recovery looked slim. Less than 1 percent of patients with similar neck injuries are able to regain the use of their limbs.

After the surgery, Mary Jones went on to physical therapy, where she painstakingly learned how to sit up, how to use her hands, and eventually, how to take her first steps again on her own. Her recovery was considered miraculous by many of the medical personnel involved in her care.

Abilene State Park – A Wildlife-Rich Community Asset

 

Abilene State Park pic
Abilene State Park
Image: tpwd.texas.gov

Paul W. McDonough, MD, is a respected Abilene, Texas, spine surgeon who treats patients with conditions such as arthritis and spinal slippage and curvature. A longtime resident of West Texas, Dr. Paul W. McDonough has embraced the regional culture and maintains an active interest in wildlife management and the great outdoors.

One of the most popular scenic destinations in the local area is Abilene State Park, which comprises more than 500 acres of land in Taylor County and was acquired by the state in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. A Civilian Conservation Corps project, work on the park was completed in 1934.

A semi-arid environment characterized by brushland, short-grass prairie, and riparian woods, the park encompasses camping and trails as well as a historic swimming pool and a fishing pond. The Buffalo Wallow Pond can be fished without permit and is stocked with crappie, bass, perch, and catfish. Wildlife in the park ranges from cottontail rabbits and armadillos to the ubiquitous white-tailed deer.

Abilene Spine Surgeon Helps Assault Victim Regain Mobility

cervical spinal surgery
cervical spinal surgery

Spine surgeon Paul W. McDonough, MD, in Abilene, Texas, specializes in lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spinal surgery.

When 32-year-old Mary Jones arrived at the hospital in Dr. Paul McDonough’s care, she was unable to move or control any part of her body. Assaulted by her husband, who twisted her neck in a brutal attack and then held her captive for four days afterward, Jones presented with dehydration, rhabdomyolysis (a dangerous breakdown of muscle tissue), and a C-fracture dislocation in her upper neck.

Dr. McDonough performed surgery to stabilize Jones’ spine and relieve pressure, but was not sure that she would regain mobility. In the 24-hour period following a spinal injury, it’s difficult to know what a patient’s ultimate prognosis will be, McDonough said. But four days after her initial injury, the surgeon knew that Jones would no longer be in the “spinal shock” that typically characterizes such an injury, he said.

With that grim realization, McDonough said he didn’t expect any significant recovery.

“Less than 1 percent of patients in that situation will see any meaningful improvement,” he said, though he performed surgery to stabilize and remove pressure from Jones’ spine.
Jones said McDonough was honest with her, telling her he couldn’t promise that she would recover.

She appreciated both his expertise, she said, as well as his honesty. But the thought of not being able to hold close her two children, Jared Jones, 8, and Chelsie Combs, 11, was just too much to bear, she said.”I just wanted to be strong,” she said. “Everyone told me how bad it was, but I just said, ‘I want to do this.'”

And she did. After her stay in the hospital, Jones went to the Hendrick Center for Rehabilitation, still unable to move. Physical therapists helped her to build her core strength, and she soon surprised everyone by regaining movement in her limbs as well. Within a month, Jones could move her right foot and text with her right hand. Though recovery continues, she recently has walked around the block unassisted.

Grateful, Jones commented, “I’m one out of a hundred. I shouldn’t be here. I should be gone. But God gave me another chance.”

10 tips for a healthy back

Follow these simple guidelines to keep your back in good shape.

1)  Standing         

Keeping one foot forward of the other, with knees slightly bent, takes the pressure off your lower back.

2) Sitting

Sitting with your knees slightly higher than your hips provides good low back support.

3)  Reaching

Stand on a stool to reach things that are above your shoulder level.

4)  Moving Heavy Items

Pushing is easier on your back than pulling.  Use your arms and legs to start the push.  If you must lift a heavy item, get someone to help you.

5)  Lifting

Kneel down on one knee with the other, foot flat on the floor, as near as possible to the item you are lifting.  Lift with your legs, not your back, keeping the object close to your body at all times.

6)  Carrying

Two small objects (one in either hand) may be easier to handle than one large one.  If you must carry one large object, keep it close to your body.

7)  Sleeping

Sleeping on your back puts 55 lbs. of pressure on your back.  Putting a couple of pillows under your knees cuts the pressure in half.  Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees also reduces the pressure.

8)  Weight Control

Additional weight puts a strain on your back.  Keep within 10 lbs. of your ideal weight for a healthier back.

9)  Quit Smoking

Smokers are more prone to back pain than nonsmokers because nicotine restricts the flow of blood to the disks that cushion your vertebrae.

10)  Minor Back Pain

Treat Minor back pain with anti-inflammatories and gentle stretching, followed by an ice pack.