Scoliosis affects an estimated six to nine million Americans according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.i The spinal disorder is commonly diagnosed during a child’s infancy or early childhood, often in the course of the child’s growth spurt before puberty. If left untreated, the condition can cause pain, discomfort, and other physical complications throughout one’s life. ii June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month. During this time, Assistance in Home Care would like to take this opportunity to cover the symptoms and myths of scoliosis so that one may confidently consult their health care provider.

Causes of Scoliosis

Scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. iii Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect the person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. On the other hand, muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited diseases that damage and weaken one’s muscles over time. This damage is caused by the lack of a protein called dystrophin, which is necessary for normal muscle function.

Although these conditions are known causes of scoliosis, the cause of most cases of scoliosis are unknown. iii

Symptoms of Scoliosis

Scoliosis is the abnormal lateral curve of the spine. A healthy spine should maintain its natural curve and allow for rotation and bending without complications. For those with scoliosis, the spine curves to the side forming a C or S shape. A person with scoliosis may notice the following symptoms: ii  

  • Uneven shoulders and/or waist
  • A rotated spine
  • Pushed out ribs
  • Back pain and discomfort Myths Surrounding Scoliosis

Myths Surrounding Scoliosis

  1. “Scoliosis Is Caused By…”– As stated before, doctors are still unsure of what exactly causes scoliosis. Carrying a heavy backpack or doing physical activities does not cause scoliosis. The fast majority of scoliosis cases are idiopathic, meaning there is no known cause. iv
  2. “Scoliosis is Preventable”- While we know the age range of those typically diagnosed with scoliosis, again since we don’t know what exactly causes the disease, doctors cannot engage in methods to prevent it from occurring. iv
  3. “Children Can ‘Grow Out of’ their Curves”– The “watch and wait” approach is a common misconception. There are curves that won’t progress after adolescence, but when you fail treatment, you may actually cause tremendous harm. iv

Help Raise Awareness

There are still mysteries and myths that surround scoliosis. Although research is being done, Assistance in Home Care would like to use this opportunity to highlight the need for education and awareness of the spinal disorder and its impact on one’s community. One typically doesn’t think about a child’s skeleton or spine when it comes to their health, however this assumption can affect their wellbeing in the future. Knowing how your spine and skeleton work, how it affects your body, is another step in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  If you find yourself struggling to adapt to your body’s changes, scoliosis or otherwise, know Assistance in Home Care is here by your side. Our in-home caregivers excel in giving personalized care so that you can safely adapt to life’s changes.

Resources

  1. American Association of Neurological Surgeons: and-Treatments/Scoliosis#:~:text=Scoliosis%20affects%202%2D3%20percent,occurring%20equally%20among%20both%20genders
  2. Nova Health: https://www.novahealth.com/scoliosis-awareness-month-signs-symptoms/
  3. Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/scoliosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350716#:~:text=Scoliosis%20is%20a%20sideways%20curvature,of%20most%20scoliosis%20is%20unknown
  4. Scoliosis Reduction Center: https://www.scoliosisreductioncenter.com/blog/12-scoliosis-myths-bustedi American Association of Neurological Surgeons
    ii Nova Health
    iii Mayo Clinic
    iv Scoliosis Reduction Center