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Can I join the Military with scoliosis?

SigmaInigmaSSigmaInigma Posts: 1
edited 06/29/2013 - 10:05 AM in Scoliosis
I am interested in joining the Air Force but I have scoliosis. I am not sure if this is something that will disqualify me or not. I have an S shape spine with about 30 degrees curvature. I don't have any back pain. When I have a lot of physical activity sometimes my upper right part of my back and lower left part of my back get stiff.

What treatments are there available? I know surgery is usually reserved for more severe cases but is it an option? I have also heard about physical therapy but does that really work?

*** EDITED to remove link****

What do you think?


  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,101
    edited 06/03/2013 - 4:28 PM
    First, I just see one curve, not two... but I might be misunderstanding the images. And yes, surgery *usually* is a last resort if the spine becomes too unstable from the curvature. I know they use to have a 45 degree "marker" when considering surgery, but now days I think surgeons are looking much more at pain issues, etc. So sounds like for at least right now you need not worry about surgery. I personally did find PT helpful as it does (or can) strengthen all aspects of your core muscles.

    As far as military is concerned, I have no idea.... maybe someone here can jump in on that.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • I got out in 1980 so my memory of the requirements isn't perfect. I do believe (note that I didn't say know) that certain physical conditions were grounds for rejecting an applicant at the outset. If someone with one of these conditions did manage to enlist that person would be subject an automatic discharge (without prejudice). My point is that some conditions automatically preclude military service. I think that you need to sit down with your recruiter and discuss the problem directly. I really don't see any way around that.

    Hope that helps, Michael
    Disability retirement
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  • I agree, just ask your recruiter, he/she would know off hand. And regardless if you can or can't, thank you for even considering it.
  • Deviation or curvature of spine (737) from normal alignment, structure, or function if-

    (1) It prevents the individual from following a physically active vocation in civilian life.

    (2) It interferes with wearing a uniform or military equipment.

    (3) It is symptomatic and associated with positive physical finding(s) and demonstrable by x-ray.

    (4) There is lumbar scoliosis greater than 20 degrees, thoracic scoliosis greater than 30 degrees, and kyphosis or lordosis greater than 55 degrees when measured by the Cobb method.
  • Wil1894WWil1894 Posts: 1
    edited 06/26/2015 - 2:15 AM
    im 26. im a volunteer firefighter level 1, emt, and rescue diver on a fully staffed volunteer fire department. we have monthly drills which involve wearing heavy gear, scba's plus cary a tool under one arm, and a charged hose in the other arm, and crawling through a very smokey burn building. our drills for dive rescue often involve scuba diving in dry suits through murky waters with even heavier gear. i also work 12 hr shifts in a medal factory for my paid job which i hate with a passion. in my free time i ride horses, play basketball, and work out. i am physically fit, and have never had back pain in my life ___ i'm trying to join the air force to go see the world, excel at my career in firefighting, and serve my country. yesterday in meps, after 6hrs of exams, and about 2hrs away from swearing in, i had to leave because the doc recommended me for a scoliosis screening.. i have never been told i've had scoliosis ever! ive never had back pain. i am a hard worker and was really looking forward to joining! now its up in the air until they set up and call me for a screening appointment. i have no idea how much or little of a curve i have in my spine, and i'm really hoping i can get a waiver for this…… is it possible? - disappointed.

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