Scoliosis is a word that I’m sure we’ve all heard before – but have you ever wondered what scoliosis is? If not, it’s something you should know about. Girls two times more likely to be affected by it than guys are, which is a pretty scary fact.
When I was younger, my middle school made a big deal about scoliosis. Our teachers constantly told us sad stories about girls our age living with back braces and we had yearly check-ups on our spines in our school gym. I dreaded these days – I was constantly worried that one day, I would hear the worst. Actually, I shouldn’t say worried – I should say terrified. I’m not sure where my fear of scoliosis came from (maybe just health class?), but either way, I spent most of my young life being paranoid that it would happen to me.
This may seem like a silly fear to you, but scoliosis is nothing to mess around with. So what is scoliosis? It is an abnormal curve of the spine that causes the spine to curve to the side. About three to five out of every 1,000 people are affected and, like I said, it affects girls more than boys. The most common form of it is idiopathic scoliosis, which occurs in early teens. Basically, if you’re a girl in your early teens, it’s super important to get your spine checked regularly – this is when scoliosis is most common.
Idiopathic scoliosis has no known causes, which is a fact that is scary enough on it’s own. Other forms of scoliosis include nonstructural, which is temporary and is a result of another issue, and structural, which is caused by something like a birth defect, muscular dystrophy or metabolic diseases. Also, you’re more likely to be affected by scoliosis if a relative has had it.
When you suffer from scoliosis, you can also suffer from back pain. One of your hips or shoulders may be higher than the other one, your head might be off center and it may even affect how you walk. Remember, if you have scoliosis, your spine is curing abnormally – it’s going to make your body a little off balance.
As far as treatment goes, it depends on what type of scoliosis you have and how bad you have it. For those who are lucky enough to have a case that’s not so bad, doctors will usually simply just monitor your spine every few months. For cases that are worse, surgery or back braces may be required.
While scoliosis can still be treated and can sometimes even go away on it’s own, this is still not a fun condition by any means. Just read this piece in the Huffington Post about a girl who grew up dealing with scoliosis. Her bulky and embarrassing back brace made her life a nightmare, not only because of taunting kids at school, but also because it affected her sleep and her body.
There is still a lot that doctors don’t know about scoliosis – how exercise or sports affects it, the causes of idiopathic scoliosis. While it’s a comfort to know that treatments have improved over the years, it’s still important to be kept informed about stuff like this. If you’ve never had your spine looked at, go out there and get that done!
Do you suffer from scoliosis? Do you know anyone who does? What’s your story? Tell us in the comments.