Scoliosis is a scary thought, especially as a teenager who fears a lifetime dealing with back braces, surgery and being different than everyone else. However, the reality is not as threatening as the fear considering the type of back pain that exists within other conditions. While scoliosis isn’t a beneficial characteristic, it’s not harmful either.
Here are ten things you should know about scoliosis so you no longer have to be afraid of the condition:
1) It’s Not a Disease
While in passing, we speak of scoliosis as a disease. However, it is not, but merely a term noting that your spine has an abnormal curve in it rather than being straight. When scoliosis occurs, you can have three different curves:
A “C” curve to the right
A “C” curve to the left
A “S” curve throughout the whole spine.
The term, “scoliosis”, is solely a descriptive term rather than a disease name. It is not contagious or carry any other attributes that are associated with diseases.
2) The Cause Is Unknown
Idiopathic scoliosis, or scoliosis without a known cause, is the most common type of scoliosis. Since doctors don’t know what causes the curvature, there isn’t a specific way to prevent it at this time. 80%-85% of scoliosis cases are idiopathic, with a large portion of these cases affecting children.
The only known factor in regards to this kind of scoliosis is that it has been shown to be genetic. If your family has a history of scoliosis, it’s a good idea to get checked for it in case you need treatment.
3) Mostly in Children and Young Adults
Scoliosis typically forms while the spine is still growing. This is the time where scoliosis is the greatest concern, as the curve can get worse as the spine grows. If not detected early, the curve can grow to a point where you need a brace or surgery to keep it aligned.
However, if treated early, you may be able to correct the curve back to its natural position because of the flexibility of the young spine.
4) But Can Happen to the Elderly Too
While idiopathic scoliosis typically occurs in children, degenerative scoliosis is the most common form of scoliosis for older adults. Unlike idiopathic scoliosis, there is actually a known cause for degenerative scoliosis. Degenerative scoliosis caused by your spinal joints deteriorating due to aging.
Degenerative scoliosis causes more pain than idiopathic scoliosis, so most treatment revolves around managing the pain. The curve itself doesn’t cause the pain, but rather the inflammation that results from the deterioration from the joints. Basic chiropractic care can relieve scoliosis pain, possibly to avoid surgery.
5) Affects 2% of the Population
Scoliosis, particularly idiopathic scoliosis, can occur in 2% of the general population, most frequently in females. Scoliosis affects twice as many females as males.
6) Mild Symptoms
In many cases, it’s hard to notice scoliosis because the symptoms have a very slow onset. A chiropractor or doctor may diagnose the curve at your annual checkup before you even think that you have a problem.
Some of the more prominent symptoms from the abnormal curve include:
- Noticeable curve in the spine
- Uneven hips, where one hip is higher than the other
- Uneven shoulders
- Waistline is not symmetric
7) Rarely Causes Back Pain
While it’s possible to experience back pain while dealing with scoliosis, the curve itself does not cause back pain. You may experience discomfort in the event that the curve progresses beyond a reasonable point. However, full back pain does not occur as a result of scoliosis.
8) Cannot Be Fixed On Its Own
While some conditions may be able to heal on its own, scoliosis is reliant on professional treatment in order for your back to be restored. Your spine will not straighten on its own, so visiting a doctor or chiropractor is the only way to remedy the scoliosis.
9) There Is No Cure
As doctors don’t know the precise cause of scoliosis, there is also no known cure to completely treat the situation. You can make the condition liveable, but you can’t entirely rid yourself of the curvature. However, there are treatments that can prevent the curve from getting worse and prevent discomfort.
10) You Can Live a Normal Life
While it’s possible that you may have to live with the spinal curve for the rest of your life, it shouldn’t limit you or your activity. Women with scoliosis can still carry children and follow through with a typical pregnancy.
It’s Not As Bleak As It Seems
While the term may sound frightening, scoliosis isn’t nearly as intimidating as you would think. While it still needs to be monitored to make sure it doesn’t get worse, there isn’t much serious risk connected with scoliosis.
Even though the condition is manageable, don’t let that be an excuse to put off your chiropractor visit. Close observation on your spine is key to maintaining your curve’s current condition and making sure no other problems arise. Don’t hesitate to get the care you need for your back.