Scoliosis is a spinal disorder, which results in a sideways curve of the backbone. Though it is more likely to be diagnosed in children and adolescents, people of all ages and both sexes are diagnosed with Scoliosis. Here are five interesting facts that you may not have known about this spinal disorder.
The first known mention of Scoliosis was in 400 BC.
This suggests that the disorder has been around for thousands of years throughout history. Hippocrates first described Scoliosis around the year 400 BCand Galen coined the term around year 150 AD. Some of the earliest known attempted treatments of Scoliosis included complicated braces and racks which patients were strapped into in the attempt to straighten the spine.
Exercise and nutritional supplements do not have an effect on Scoliosis.
While many people believe that adequate exercise and nutrition can strengthen the bones and prevent or improve the conditions of Scoliosis, studies have not known this to be true. It is important, however, for people with Scoliosis to keep active and in good health, and to focus on keeping good posture as they can be more likely to be prone to back injuries as a result of the disorder.
In 80-85% of Scoliosis cases, there is no known underlying cause.
This type of Scoliosis, where the cause is unknown, is called “Idiopathic” Scoliosis. Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis is seen in children and teens ten years old or older. It is more likely to occur in females than males. And Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis affects children ages three to ten.
Genes have some connection with your likelihood of developing Scoliosis and other spinal deformities, but it is also often diagnosed in patients with no family history.
Scoliosis is not caused by poor posture, sleeping position, or lifting heavy objects, contrary to speculation.
Scoliosis typically causes no pain.
In fact, in most cases, the patient is asymptomatic and the only sign of Scoliosis is the appearance of his or her spine. For this reason, some less severe cases may go undetected for many years. This is why it is important to have regular physical exams with your primary doctor. If you have a family history of Scoliosis, or spinal deformities, be sure to bring this up to your doctor as well.
Scoliosis in children and adolescents can be treated.
Common treatments for Scoliosis in young patients include bracing or surgery. The option of treatment depends on the age of the patient and how much he or she is likely to continue growing and maturing, as well as the severity and pattern of the curvature of their spine.
The patient may be advised to wear a brace to help straighten the spine as they grow. Braces are typically used when the curvature is around 25-30 degrees and the patient has at least two more years of growing to do.
Surgery is a last resort and it typically done when the patient’s spine is curved by 45 degrees or more, the curvature is getting worse as they grow, and the patient is not done growing. Surgery may involve inserting an implant, or metal rod into the spine to keep the spine straight as the patient continues to grow.
1. Ryan, Shelley, “The Facts About Scoliosis,” www.tshrc.org
2. Ullrich, Peter F. Jr., “Scoliosis: What You Need to Know,” www.spine-health.com
3. “What is Scoliosis? Fast Facts,” www.niams.nih.gov
4. Sitzel, Clayton J., “A Brief History of Scoliosis Treatment,” www.treatingscoliosis.com