DEAR DR. GOTT: I am a 72-year-old female and have been diagnosed with rotoscoliosis. The doctor explained how my back was rotating.
My doctor sent to me physical therapy. After six weeks they told me they were through. It didn’t help me. I have been going to a chiropractor on a regular basis, as well.
When I asked my doctor about rotoscoliosis, he said, “You better hope you are brain dead or in a rest home when it worsens.” Needless to say, I didn’t want to hear that.
What can you tell me about this? Can anything be done? I have good bones and go in annually for checkups.
DEAR READER: Rotoscoliosis is a term most often used to describe a severe form of scoliosis in which the spine not only curves to the side (as is normal with scoliosis), but the curvature is also associated with a strong degree of rotation.
Treatment involves proactive pain therapy and possible spinal fusion to prevent further curvature and rotation.
I suggest you ask your physician to refer you to a spinal orthopedist or neurosurgeon for examination, testing and treatment.
As an aside, I believe your physician was unnecessarily harsh and uncaring in his response to you. Rotoscoliosis is a painful condition, but there are more compassionate, helpful ways to deliver that news. You are not without hope, and getting help early may be your best chance at preventing future problems and pain.
DEAR DR. GOTT: I desperately need information on how to get a mentally ill relative to seek treatment. He and his family immigrated to the United States in October 2009. I believe he had issues before they came here, but the new environment and pressure of living here finally caused him to buckle. Two months ago he started intensely interrogating his wife about her hundreds of alleged affairs and other non-existent events. Since then it has become a daily ritual of verbal and sometimes physical abuse against his wife.
I live 300 miles away and have tried to talk to him over the phone. He exploded when I mentioned he should see a doctor.
I am helplessly watching him destroy his family and himself. I suspect he is schizophrenic, and I have found a couple of clinics in his hometown that accept sliding-scale payments according to household income, but he refuses to admit he’s mentally ill. I don’t know how to get him to go.
Could you offer some advice? Are there other resources available to them to deal with his problem?
DEAR READER: Unless the person can be proved to be a direct danger to himself or others, forced commitment isn’t possible. The patient has to be ready and will seek out help only when he or she is willing to admit there is a problem.
Unless your relative’s wife is willing to press charges, I’m afraid there is little that can be done. She isn’t doing herself any favors by staying, especially given your statement that she is enduring daily emotional and sometimes physical abuse. If there are children involved, it is paramount to their well-being, physically, mentally and emotionally, that they not be exposed to this. The families of alcoholics have support groups; I am sure there are similar groups for those with mentally ill or abused parents/spouses.
My advice? Stay in contact. Remain a calm, stable force for both your relative and his wife. Offer your love and support. The clinics you found in his hometown may be able to offer his wife some local sources of support and advice. Suggest that she contact them.
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