Scoliosis affects 2-3 percent of the population, or an estimated six to nine million people in the United States. Scoliosis can develop in infancy or early childhood. However, the primary age of onset for scoliosis is 10-15 years old, occurring equally among both genders. Females are eight times more likely to progress to a curve magnitude that requires treatment. It has also been found to develop at a later age as well. Every year, scoliosis patients make more than 600,000 visits to private physician offices, an estimated 30,000 children are fitted with a brace and 38,000 patients undergo spinal fusion surgery.
The majority of the cases, while NO TWO CASES are alike, are mild. But Scoliosis can become disabling and very painful. Often, no treatment is necessary. Sometimes a brace or surgery is needed.
EARLY DETECTION IS KEY! It can make a difference between surgery or not.
There are several signs that may indicate the possibility of Scoliosis. If you see one or more of the following signs, schedule an appointment with a doctor.
-Uneven shoulders – one or both shoulder blades may stick out
-Rib cages are at different heights with uneven waists and hips
-The appearance or texture of the skin overlying the spine changes (dimples, hairy patches, color abnormalities)
-The entire body leans to one side
Due to changes in the shape and size of the thorax, idiopathic(adolescence) Scoliosis may affect pulmonary function. Recent reports on pulmonary function testing in patients with mild to moderate idiopathic scoliosis showed diminished pulmonary function. This is so real because I struggle with my breathing all the time. My rotated ribs dig into my lungs. Rotated ribs? Yes that is right.
Most have that misconception that Scoliosis affects just the spine. That it twists and rotates the spine only. Negative. Your spine is literally the backbone. Everything is connected to it. So what happens if your spine twists? All the other bones and muscles attached will twist with it. Your ribs and your muscles will start to rotate and stick out and cause pain.
Scoliosis that occurs or is diagnosed in adulthood is distinctive from childhood Scoliosis, since the underlying causes and goals of treatment differ in patients who have already reached skeletal maturity. Most adults with Scoliosis can be divided into the following categories:
-Adult Scoliosis patients who were surgically treated as adolescents
-Adults who did not receive treatment when they were younger
-Adults with a type of Scoliosis called degenerative Scoliosis
As far as treatment goes, once Scoliosis has been detected through an x-ray, MRI or cat scan, there are several points to focus on that will help figure out what treatment is best:
-Degree of curvature
-Location of curve – according to some experts, thoracic curves are more likely to progress than curves in other regions of the spine.
-Possibility of curve progression – patients who have large curves prior to their adolescent growth spurts are more likely to experience curve progression.
(Source Mayo Clinic, AANS)
From here specialist usually go from observation to see how quickly the curve is progressing, and use a brace to keep the curve from getting worse and try to straighten the spine without surgical correction. And if the curve degree is greater than 40, they will recommend a spinal fusion.
I have had several spinal fusion. I have a double curve, at my thoracic and lumbar. My thoracic is at 38 degrees and my lumbar is 21. I have a lot of trouble breathing. There is no comfortable position for me. Had we discovered my Scoliosis at an earlier stage, we probably could’ve put me in a brace, but I had to go into immediate surgery with a curve degree at 65. I am an avid marathon runner, though it does get uncomfortable at times. KT Tape does make it a lot easier to survive my days battling with Scoliosis. I’m never not in pain. Being active certainly makes a big difference and I 100% recommend it. Especially swimming. I can help you with any custom KT Tape questions or application you may have. Here are some I use to ease the pain.
Scoliosis is not the end, just an obstacle to find your way through it. I was told many many things I wouldn’t be able to do. Running being one. And here I am, doing the imPOSSIBLE. Don’t give up, keep fighting, and find someone who is battling too. Because i can guarantee you aren’t alone.
the Scoliosis runner