10 Setps How to Prepare for Scoliosis Surgery

If you’ve just found out that you’re going to have spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis, take a deep breath. It’s not an easy thing to go through, but it’s bearable and totally worth it in the end. If you had any pain before surgery, after you heal you won’t have to deal with that pain ever again. Plus, your spine will be much straighter after surgery and your overall health will be improved.

Steps

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    Find out everything you can about the procedure. As stated above, spinal fusion surgery is not an easy thing to go through. You need to prepare yourself mentally as well as physically. Knowing everything you can about the procedure helps tremendously. Ask your doctor as many questions as you can think of, read up about it online, and try to get in contact with someone who actually has undergone the procedure. A great website to get in contact with adolescents with scoliosis is Spine kids. (note: spine kids has closed its doors, but can be found on Facebook) It is such an amazing website! Adults should check out the National Scoliosis Foundation.
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    Before surgery, you may be asked to donate some of your own blood to be given back to you after the surgery. If so, you’ll probably be asked to take some iron tablets. If you do take them, make sure to add fiber to your diet. As embarrassing as it sounds, iron tablets tend to make you constipated.

After surgery to fix scoliosis, Avery Schroeder stands tall for Bruins

Whether Avery Schroeder is jostling for position in the post, going up for a rebound or driving for a layup, there is something she has that sets her apart.

Titanium.

Schroeder, a 6-foot-5 junior forward for Rock Bridge, is bolstered by two titanium rods, each about a foot long, that run from her shoulder blades to lower back. The rods correct the effects of scoliosis, a horizontal curvature of the spine.

By now, the hardware is as much a part of her as her arms and her legs. Bone has grown around the rods — and the 20 screws holding them in place — in the 10 months since they were installed, allowing Schroeder’s basketball career to flourish.

Doctors told Stacy Schroeder, Avery’s mom, that the procedure is fairly common. Scoliosis is prevalent in adolescent girls, and many have fusion surgery to correct it.

But it was never a given that Avery — who played basketball, volleyball and softball as a child — would return to competitive sports. The benchmark for practicing contact sports again is one year after surgery.

“At the point of surgery, we weren’t really sure if I was going to be able to participate in any high school sports, let alone when,” Avery said.

Scoliosis can affect people in different ways. It can cause the spine to bend back and forth like an “S,” but Avery’s was a “C” curve, bending to the right between her shoulder blades and lower back. It also twisted, another complication of scoliosis.

Every six months, the Schroeders would travel to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City for checkups. After the curvature surpassed 50 degrees, surgery became inevitable. Once it reaches that point, it’s unlikely the curve will stop worsening on its own.

There wasn’t a rush to complete the surgery, but Avery decided to have it done sooner rather than later. Younger, healthier bodies react best to surgery, and Avery had an eye on her future.

That didn’t make it an easy choice.

“It’s a scary thing,” Schroeder said. “Going into future athletics and how long it was going to put me out for was a big factor. I wanted to be able to participate in high school and, hopefully, college sports as much as I could, so I had to think about that. But I also had to think about the type of recovery from a major surgery like that and how much time it’s going to take because of the scale that it’s on.”

Doctors at Children’s Mercy performed the surgery on April 5. It was Avery’s first surgical procedure.

All surgeries require recovery, but spinal fusion to correct scoliosis is especially debilitating. Surgeons cut through back muscles to access the spine and install the rods and screws. Afterward, the muscles must reattach.

Avery spent a week in the hospital before going home, where she missed another month of school building the strength to sit up, stand and walk around.

“She found out very fast when you’re recovering from something like that,” Stacy said, “your back affects your whole body.”

The summer was filled with intense physical therapy at PEAK Sport and Spine in Columbia. Much of the therapy was devoted to building the back strength Schroeder lost in surgery. A healthy portion also focused on flexibility to reduce pain and soreness. Schroeder said she “worked her butt off.”

“It was extremely tough on her, but you wouldn’t know it from being around her,” Stacy said.

In August, doctors at Children’s Mercy gave Avery approval to play volleyball because of the sport’s lack of physical contact. She attended the first practice of the season and played throughout the year.

Training for basketball, Avery’s favorite sport, was another matter. Contact is heavy, especially in the post. With trainers from Columbia collaborating with doctors in Kansas City, Schroeder underwent a six-week strengthening program to prep for the basketball season.

She got approval to play basketball games before Christmas, four months before the benchmark to even start practicing contact sports.

“It’s just been amazing, really, what she’s done,” Coach Jill Nagel said. “First of all, we didn’t even know if she’d be able to play. We thought, at best, maybe after Jan. 1 she could start practicing.

“By mid-December, she’s already getting minutes in games.”

Schroeder averages four points, three rebounds and one block.

The surgery still has effects. Schroeder goes through a warm-up process that includes stretching and heat. When her muscles cool, they quickly get stiff. She wears long sleeves, and when she subs out, she quickly throws on sweatshirts and jackets to trap the heat.

Stacy said from the stands, watching her daughter play is scary. While doctors have reassured her that Schroeder’s spine is solid bone and fully healed, her motherly instinct kicks in when Avery jostles under the rim or hits the floor.

But if there’s anything she feels more powerful than fear, it’s pride.

“To see her happy, playing the sport that she loves, when she wasn’t sure that she was going to,” Stacy said, “that’s a wonderful thing.”

Mayo Clinic Q&A: a look at treatment plans for psoriasis, scoliosis

Psoriasis on a mans right hand.

I have quite a few patches of skin that are much drier than others, including on my lower legs, knees and elbows. These areas get red and scaly sometimes, and itch on and off. Could this be psoriasis? Should I see my doctor?

From your description, it sounds like you could have psoriasis. Make an appointment to have your condition evaluated by a dermatologist. If it is psoriasis, your doctor can recommend treatment and give you advice on how to take care of your skin.

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that changes the life cycle of skin cells. It causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of your skin. The extra skin cells can form thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that can be painful. Psoriasis often goes through cycles, with symptoms flaring for a few weeks or months, then going away for a time.

A dermatologist usually can diagnose psoriasis by reviewing your medical history and examining your skin, scalp and nails. Your doctor also may recommend a biopsy to rule out other skin disorders. Conditions that can look like psoriasis include seborrheic dermatitis, lichen planus, pityriasis rosea and ringworm of the body.

If you have psoriasis, your dermatologist will talk with you about treatment options. Psoriasis is a chronic condition, and there’s no cure. But, treatment can reduce symptoms by stopping the skin cells from growing so quickly. Therapies also can be used to remove scaly patches and smooth your skin.

If your condition is mild, you may only need to put a cream or ointment on your skin to relieve your symptoms. Topical corticosteroids are a common psoriasis treatment. These anti-inflammatory drugs slow cell turnover by suppressing the immune system. That eases inflammation and relieves itching. Other topical medications also can be useful in treating psoriasis, including retinoids, salicylic acid and coal tar. Regardless of what medication you use, keeping your skin well-moisturized will help control the dryness and discomfort.

When topical treatments alone aren’t enough to keep your symptoms in check, your dermatologist may suggest you also use light treatment, or phototherapy, to control psoriasis. The easiest form of phototherapy involves exposing your skin to controlled amounts of natural sunlight. Other forms of light therapy include the use of artificial ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB) light. Although this treatment may be time consuming, it can be very effective.

If you have severe psoriasis or if it doesn’t respond to other kinds of treatment, your doctor may recommend oral or injected drugs, along with other therapies. In general, these drugs help lower the production of skin cells or reduce inflammation. They also may suppress your immune system.

Psoriasis sometimes can be challenging to manage. It may be unpredictable, going through cycles of improving and worsening symptoms without warning. In addition, treatment is not uniformly effective. What works well for some people might not work for others. Your skin may become resistant to some treatments over time, and the most potent psoriasis treatments can have serious side effects.

If your symptoms are due to psoriasis, you and your dermatologist can work together to develop a treatment plan. As you move forward with treatment, stay in contact with your doctor, especially if your condition doesn’t improve after starting treatment or if you’re having uncomfortable side effects. He or she can help you adjust your treatment to ensure the best possible symptom control.

Rokea el-Azhary, M.D., Ph.D., Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

BRACES NOT ONLY SCOLIOSIS HELP

Is wearing a brace full time the only treatment option for a child with scoliosis? What are the risks of not getting treatment?

Although braces commonly are used to treat scoliosis, they aren’t the only option. The right treatment choice depends mainly on a person’s age and the size of the curve. Mild cases of scoliosis may not need treatment. But, moderate to severe scoliosis that is left untreated can lead to pain and increasing deformity, as well as potentially heart and lung damage.

Scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine with rotation. It most often develops during the growth spurt just before puberty. If the spinal curve is small — less than about 15 degrees — then having it checked periodically may be all that’s needed. Most of the time, these small curves don’t worsen.

When the curve is in the 20- to 40-degree range, however, and a child has at least two years of growth remaining, a brace typically is a good choice. Wearing a brace doesn’t cure scoliosis or reverse the curve, but it usually prevents the curve from getting worse.

The most common type of brace is made of plastic and is contoured to a child’s body. It fits under the arms and around the rib cage, lower back and hips. To be most effective, the brace must be worn day and night. Children who wear a brace for scoliosis usually can participate in most activities and have few restrictions. If necessary, kids can take off the brace to participate in sports or other physical activities. A child stops wearing the brace once his or her bones stop growing. A brace won’t help older teens and young adults who are diagnosed with scoliosis after they have stopped growing or for patients with severe curves. In those situations, most doctors recommend surgery.

In general, surgery is also the first step in treatment for curves that are large — usually greater than 50 degrees. The standard surgery for scoliosis is spinal fusion. This procedure corrects the curve of the spine by connecting two or more of the spinal vertebrae. Metal screws and rods are used to hold the vertebrae together, so they can heal into one solid unit.

A newer surgical option is anterior vertebral body tethering. It involves inserting screws into the vertebrae affected by scoliosis. The surgeon attaches a cord to each of the screws and then pulls and secures the cord. The vertebrae are cinched together on one side and splayed open on the other, correcting the curve. This aligns the spine and gives the vertebrae space to grow in properly. This surgery is used mainly for cases of significant scoliosis in children with growth remaining. Mayo Clinic is one of only a handful of centers where this surgery is being performed.

If moderate to severe scoliosis is not treated, it usually continues to progress at an average of 1 degree per year. Significant spinal deformity leads to noticeable changes in appearance, such as shoulders that are not level, ribs on one side of the body that stick out farther than on the other side, uneven hips and a shift of the waist and trunk to the side. It also can cause increased back pain, and, in rare occasions, the rib cage may press against the lungs and heart, making it more difficult to breathe and harder for the heart to pump.

If you notice that your child’s spine seems to be curved, or if you spot other signs and symptoms of scoliosis, such as uneven shoulders or an uneven waist, one hip higher than the other or one shoulder blade that seems more prominent than the other, make an appointment to have it evaluated as soon as possible.

15 THINGS PEOPLE WITH SCOLIOSIS WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND

Scoliosis – adults have certainly heard the term and know that it refers to a curved spine. They don’t think about it much, though, because it isn’t publicized as a serious condition. And, they don’t really think of it as a handicap or disability either. It’s just one of those things that some people have.

Moderate to severe scoliosis, however, can be really debilitating and really painful, not to mention dangerous to lungs and the heart. While people don’t mean to be critical or mean, their lack of understanding about this condition often causes them to seem to be. So, here are 15 things that Scoliosis sufferers want others to know, so that these non-sufferers can have some empathy for the victims of the condition.

1. We have a real disability

No one really knows the cause, but I‘ve had it since the age of 11, and it got worse as I grew older. It now really impacts my life a lot, and there are lots of things I avoid because of it, not because I am anti-social or lazy.

2. We are in a lot of pain on the bad days

If I am complaining about back pain, it is because it has gotten so bad that I just can’t keep it in any longer. Please don’t make statements like I must have just “slept wrong” the night before. It would be nice to hear you say that you are sorry that I am in such pain and is there anything you can do? Just offering to get me a cold drink so I can down my pain meds would be appreciated.

3. We already feel really self-conscious about our looks

We are trying our best to stand up straight as much as we can. When you make comments like, “Don’t you think it would be good for you if you forced yourself to stand up straight?” you only make us more self-conscious. If I could stand straight more, I would — believe me. I don’t enjoy looking like this either. But it’s something I have to live with.

4. We feel it differently every day

Some days the pain is minimal, other days it is so bad I even have to pull off the road until the spasms subside. So, if you see us doing pretty well one day and very badly the next, please don’t ask if we think some of it might be “mental.” It’s not. The nature of this condition is that there are good and bad days, and no one really knows why. That’s the frustrating part – there just aren’t the answers that all of us who have scoliosis really want and need. Research funding for Scoliosis is pretty minimal, since there are so many other life-threatening diseases that must take precedence.

5. We find desk work particularly hard

We “slouch” in our chairs as it is probably the most comfortable position anyone with scoliosis can get themselves into. Even the newer ergonomic chairs available in most offices don’t help much. Don’t make comments about how I am not using the chair properly — it is because I can’t.

Stand desks can be our best buddies, especially those DIY models you can assemble up to your liking. However, we can’t spend too much time in front of them either. We are not being picky or restless when it comes to our working places. It’s just a tad bit difficult for us to find the optimal position we can comfortably spend the whole day in.

6. We can’t make plans ahead of time

This is because we never know what kind of day we’ll be having. When we have to cancel something at the last minute, please know that we are as upset about the cancellation as you are. But please don’t get angry with us. If we had plans for an after-work Happy Hour, and we cancel, it is because the best we can do right now is get home and try to find some comfortable position that will ease the pain. We really do want a social life, but the scoliosis often gets in the way.

7. We don’t just have a crooked spine

That crooked spine causes many other things too. One of my hips is higher than the other, one shoulder blade protrudes more than the other, one of my legs is longer than the other. And my ribs push on my lungs, making it more difficult to breathe. If I am out of breath after walking around a bit, please don’t kid me about being out of shape. It’s my ribs that are out of shape, not me. I get as much exercise as I am able, but my breathing issues do keep me from a lot of the physical activity that you take for granted. Even walking up and down hills is really tough for me.

8. We have to turn down offers to join the office volleyball team and most other group activities

When we turn down offers to be on the office volleyball/baseball/golf/any other team, please don’t think we are being “standoffish” or “unsociable.” We would love for someone to ask us to come and be the scorekeeper or perform some other supportive duty. In fact, we usually volunteer in these circumstances. We really do want to be a part of what others are doing, but often we have to participate in a different way.

9. We experience certain emotional consequences to scoliosis

We don’t just have good and bad days related to the levels of pain. We have emotionally good and bad days too. The lack of being able to lead a normal life, the pain, and the physical appearance just really get to us sometimes. We try to put on a “tough” exterior, but we can’t always keep it together. So if we seem depressed or if you see us getting teary-eyed, please don’t tell us to put a smile on our face and “snap out of it.”

Some days I just don’t want to, and others days I just can’t. If you could put yourself in my position, if only for a day, you would understand, I know. But since you cannot, please just give me a kind empathetic statement, like “I am sorry you are having a bad day. If there is anything I can do, please tell me.” That lets me know you care, and that is important.

10. We have troubles with finding clothes that fit well

Given that one shoulder and one hip are higher than the other, given that my stomach and butt may protrude, given that my ribs are protruding on one side, I have to carefully select the clothing I buy in order to hide as much of my physical deformities as possible.

Most of us actually prefer winter because we can look quite stylish in clothes that are bulky. Spring and summer are the bad months, because the clothing reveals so much more of the body. So, if we seem really out of style with our clothing selections, especially in the warm seasons, please understand that we would love to dress more fashionably, but we just cannot make ourselves expose the “deformities.”

11. We can suddenly experience tremendous pain

Simple things can send our back, legs, and ankles into spasms of pain. I dread colds, because a simple cough or sneeze can “do me in.” If I bump into a desk or chair, or have a little minor fender bender, I can be in pain for hours afterward.

It’s easy to think of us as hypochondriacs, I know, but please understand that we are not exaggerating the pain, and that we are not looking for sympathy. Please just acknowledge that our pain is real. When we see you and someone else rolling your eyes at one another while we are experiencing spasms of pain, it starts hurting even more!

12. We are not lazy

Very basic activities, like cleaning the house, involve some pretty major planning. First, we can only do this on the “good days.” Second, it takes us twice as long as someone else to complete the same cleaning chores. We have to mop, dust, and vacuum very carefully and slowly. We have to avoid bumping into things. We have to watch our stretching, pulling, and pushing.

So, if you should visit me at my house and it is not clean, please do not think I am a bad housekeeper. Understand that I probably have not had a good enough day to get the house cleaned this week. And please don’t go out and comment to others about the condition of my home. It’s hurtful, and giving people the impression that I am lazy is not fair.

13. We don’t usually go to the pool or to the beach

I don’t do this because I would never put on a swimming suit. If I ever do attend an outing of that type, the best I can do is shorts and a good-sized T-shirt. I may dangle my feet into the pool from the side or walk into the shallow part of the lake or ocean, but I will not be swimming.

Please don’t chide us for not bringing a swimsuit – we feel badly enough about it already. Swimming is actually a good exercise for us, and we do go to rehab centers often because they have a pool and we can swim with other Scoliosis patients.

14. We will gladly explain Scoliosis if asked

When people ask us to explain the condition, it makes us feel good. Obviously, the person wants to understand why we have the symptoms and why too many activities are so difficult and/or painful for us. Believe me, I keep up on all of the latest research and treatments because I want to take advantage of anything that might ease my symptoms. How much time have you got?

15. We may not be active participants in all of our kids’ activities

We really want to be. So, if the girl scouts are planning a weekend campout, we do want to go. We will bring our pain meds and we will tell you what we can and cannot do. We may not be able to paddle a canoe, and we may not be able to go along on a nature hike up and down hills, but we will bring the guitar and teach the girls some great fun songs around the campfire at night.

We may not be able to participate in the parent-son softball game, but we would love to help out in some other way on game day. We’ll volunteer to pass out drinks. We’ll wash the team uniforms after the game. We’ll be the best vocal cheerleaders ever. Please find a spot for us!

Scoliosis is permanent. And that realization to sufferers is very difficult to deal with. Most who have it started out with a very mild form that developed during a growth spurt period before puberty. Over the years, however, it gradually worsened, and no one really knows why. Some people develop a very mild form that stays very mild all of their lives. Others are severely handicapped by it as adults. If you work or socialize with someone who has moderate-to-severe Scoliosis, it would be really nice to do a bit ofresearch so that you can understand the condition better.

Scoliosis In Children – 5 Causes & 5 Symptoms You Should Be Aware Of

As parents, we devote our careers to helping our little ones reach their goals and be successful individuals. But if you realize that they are affected with any physical deformation, it is painful.

Scoliosis is one such physical condition and a musculoskeletal disorder that can affect even children. It is a deformity in the curvature of the spine that should not be confused with poor posture.  It can be overwhelming for any parent. However, it is a mild condition that requires no treatment.

What Is Scoliosis?

Usually, a normal spine looks straight when observed from back. But, in scoliosis, the spine looks S or C shaped, giving an appearance of leaning towards a side.

  • If the curve is present in the lower part of the spine, it’s called a lumbar curve. If it is present in the upper part of the spine, it’s called a thoracic curve.
  • In most cases, scoliosis develops when children are between the age of 9 and 14, during the growth spurt brought by the onset of puberty.
  • Usually, scoliosis is gradual and painless, hence difficult to diagnose at first.

 

Signs And Symptoms Of Scoliosis In Children:

The most common signs and symptoms a child experiences are as follows:

  • When you observe the back of children with scoliosis, it looks normal. But when that person bends, the curve in the spine is visible in the form of a lump.
  • One shoulder blade will be higher than the other, or the ribs will be pushed out.
  • Uneven waist.
  • One hip is higher than the other.
  • Severe scoliosis can cause back pain and difficulty in breathing. 

What Causes Scoliosis In Children?

Surprisingly, the exact cause is yet to be determined, but it does seem to involve hereditary factors. Studies show that the most affected people have had the disorder run in the family.

Some Of The Less Common Causes Are:

  • Injuries or injections given to the spine.
  • Neuromuscular conditions like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.
  • Birth defects that affect the development of spine and bones also can be a reason.
  • Inflammatory conditions such as appendicitis.
  • Benign tumors on the spinal column caused due to a birth defect. 

 

How To Check For Scoliosis In Children ?

There are a few procedures involved in diagnose if the child has scoliosis.

  • The medical history of the patient is noted down. Birth defects, trauma and other disorders, if any are determined.
  • A physical examination of the patient is conducted to examine the back, chest, legs, feet and pelvis.
  • The doctor checks the shoulder level, whether the head is centered and if the opposite sides of the body are even or levelled.
  • The muscles of the back are checked as well, especially while the patient bends forward.
  • Doctors recommend an X-ray examination in which the vertebrate is measured from the beginning to the end of the curve. The angle of the curve is also measured.

 

How To Treat Scoliosis In Children?

Mild spinal curves usually do not need any treatment and doctors only observe such cases over a period. Those with severe scoliosis need to consult an orthopedic spinal specialist.

The Most Common Treatments For Scoliosis Are:

Observation: A patient with mild curves is re-examined every few months when the child is still growing.

Bracing: For a patient with a moderate curve and who is still growing; he may be advised to wear a back brace to stop the curve from getting worse.

Surgery: For severe cases, surgery may be an option in a patient where the curve is getting worse. The surgical procedure involves correction, stabilization and fusion of the curve.

Different implants are used to straighten the spine and keep is aligned. These implants remain inside your body on the spine even after the surgery.

You should discuss your options with at least two experienced surgeons.

 

Is It Safe For Your Child To Exercise With Scoliosis?

Exercise is usually encouraged for someone who is suffering from scoliosis; it will help in minimizing potential decrease in functional ability in the future. Especially, girls since they have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis than boys. By doing more weight bearing exercises, you can increase your bone density.

How Can I Support My Child?

For a young adult, it is difficult to cope with scoliosis. Suffering from scoliosis can result in anger, insecurity and fear. You can help by encouraging your child to talk about the way he feels. You can also join a support group for parents and kids suffering from scoliosis. Support group members share their real life experiences, give advice and connect you to parents and kids facing the same challenges as you.

If you have a similar story and would like to share, do write in the comment section. It might inspire some other mother to deal with the emotional pain associated with scoliosis.

5 Surprising Facts About Adult Scoliosis

You may have more options and control than you think

You may have more power over adult scoliosis than you think. Doctors can offer you various treatment options, and there are things you can do to help yourself. Here are five things you might be surprised to hear about adult scoliosis.

Surprise #1: If you are diagnosed with scoliosis, you probably won’t need surgery

When diagnosed with scoliosis, many people fear the only course of action will be major surgery.

“Only a small portion of people with scoliosis require major reconstructive surgery,” says spine surgeon Douglas Orr, MD. “Many people with scoliosis can manage their symptoms just fine without any type of surgery.”

In many cases, treatment for scoliosis is aimed at relieving symptoms rather than fixing the curve in the spine.

“Adult scoliosis patients are initially treated as we would treat a patient with a straight spine who has back pain,” Dr. Orr says. Treatment might include physical therapy to strengthen and stabilize the spine. It might also include anti-inflammatory medications or epidural injections to relieve pain.

People who can’t get pain relief from medications or physical therapy might need spinal decompression surgery.

“If you’re considering surgery for scoliosis, talk to your surgeon and find out how many spinal deformity procedures he or she performs each year,” Dr. Orr says. “You want to make sure your surgery is done by someone who specializes in these types of procedures.”

Surprise #2: The size or the location of your spine’s curve doesn’t predict whether or not you will have symptoms

As you age, your spine begins to deteriorate. As it weakens, it may also begin to curve. Some people may never have any symptoms. Others might experience leg pain, numbness or tingling when walking and/or back pain.

“If you look at a person from the side, you can see that the spine has three natural curves; one in the lower back, one in the middle of the back, and one at the neck. We tend to lose the curve in the lower back as we age. That’s what creates problems and causes symptoms,” says Dr. Orr.

Surprise #3: Adults can have one of two types of scoliosis

Doctors see two types of scoliosis in adults. One is the type of scoliosis doctors also see in teenagers. This is called idiopathic scoliosis. In some cases, the curve progresses and begins to cause symptoms in adulthood. In other cases, it is not diagnosed until adulthood.

The second common type of scoliosis seen in adults is degenerative scoliosis. In this type, the normal wear and tear on the lower back during the aging process leads to the development of a curve in the spine.

Surprise #4: Smoking causes back and neck problems

In addition to seeking treatment for scoliosis, there are things you can do at home to reduce your symptoms. “The most important thing you can do is not smoke,” says Dr. Orr. “Smoking is the leading preventable cause of back and neck problems.”

Surprise #5: You can still exercise with scoliosis

Although many people who have scoliosis have been told to limit their activities, Dr. Orr disagrees. “The more physically active people with scoliosis are, the less likely they are to be symptomatic,” he says. If you are overweight, weight loss can also help to reduce scoliosis symptoms. It’s also important to monitor your bone density and seek treatment if you have osteoporosis.

7 Ways To Protect Your Back If You Have Scoliosis

Scoliosis, also known as an unnatural curvature of the spine, affects almost seven million people in the United States, children and adults alike, and there is no known cause for the majority of the cases. While most individuals with scoliosis don’t require surgery, they are likely to endure back and neck pain and trouble breathing on a regular basis. It’s generally not a life-threatening condition, but scoliosis can diminish the quality of life — and if it’s not getting the attention it deserves.

After living with chronic neck and back pain for 10 years, I was diagnosed with scoliosis in 2014. As creepy as it was to see a twisted version of my spine on the X-ray for the first time, it was a huge wake-up call. I realized had to do a few things differently in my life if I didn’t want to be hunched over with a cane by the time I hit 40.

If you’ve also been diagnosed with scoliosis, you’ll be happy to know that there are lots of things you can do to take control of your condition. We don’t have to live in constant discomfort, and the sooner we understand that, the sooner we can get on track to feeling better. From yoga to choosing the right office chair, it’s the little things that make a difference in our daily lives.

Here are seven things you can to protect yourself if you have scoliosis.

1. Invest In A Good Pillow & Mattress

What you spend 6-8 hours on top of every night can make a huge difference for your back. I didn’t even realize I was living in black and white until I bought my first Tempurpedic pillow — then the whole world turned to color.

15 Things People With Scoliosis Want You To Understand

Scoliosis – adults have certainly heard the term and know that it refers to a curved spine. They don’t think about it much, though, because it isn’t publicized as a serious condition. And, they don’t really think of it as a handicap or disability either. It’s just one of those things that some people have.

Moderate to severe scoliosis, however, can be really debilitating and really painful, not to mention dangerous to lungs and the heart. While people don’t mean to be critical or mean, their lack of understanding about this condition often causes them to seem to be. So, here are 15 things that Scoliosis sufferers want others to know, so that these non-sufferers can have some empathy for the victims of the condition.

1. We have a real disability

No one really knows the cause, but I‘ve had it since the age of 11, and it got worse as I grew older. It now really impacts my life a lot, and there are lots of things I avoid because of it, not because I am anti-social or lazy.

2. We are in a lot of pain on the bad days

If I am complaining about back pain, it is because it has gotten so bad that I just can’t keep it in any longer. Please don’t make statements like I must have just “slept wrong” the night before. It would be nice to hear you say that you are sorry that I am in such pain and is there anything you can do? Just offering to get me a cold drink so I can down my pain meds would be appreciated.

3. We already feel really self-conscious about our looks

We are trying our best to stand up straight as much as we can. When you make comments like, “Don’t you think it would be good for you if you forced yourself to stand up straight?” you only make us more self-conscious. If I could stand straight more, I would — believe me. I don’t enjoy looking like this either. But it’s something I have to live with.

4. We feel it differently every day

Some days the pain is minimal, other days it is so bad I even have to pull off the road until the spasms subside. So, if you see us doing pretty well one day and very badly the next, please don’t ask if we think some of it might be “mental.” It’s not. The nature of this condition is that there are good and bad days, and no one really knows why. That’s the frustrating part – there just aren’t the answers that all of us who have scoliosis really want and need. Research funding for Scoliosis is pretty minimal, since there are so many other life-threatening diseases that must take precedence.

5. We find desk work particularly hard

We “slouch” in our chairs as it is probably the most comfortable position anyone with scoliosis can get themselves into. Even the newer ergonomic chairs available in most offices don’t help much. Don’t make comments about how I am not using the chair properly — it is because I can’t.

Stand desks can be our best buddies, especially those DIY models you can assemble up to your liking. However, we can’t spend too much time in front of them either. We are not being picky or restless when it comes to our working places. It’s just a tad bit difficult for us to find the optimal position we can comfortably spend the whole day in.

6. We can’t make plans ahead of time

This is because we never know what kind of day we’ll be having. When we have to cancel something at the last minute, please know that we are as upset about the cancellation as you are. But please don’t get angry with us. If we had plans for an after-work Happy Hour, and we cancel, it is because the best we can do right now is get home and try to find some comfortable position that will ease the pain. We really do want a social life, but the scoliosis often gets in the way.

7. We don’t just have a crooked spine

That crooked spine causes many other things too. One of my hips is higher than the other, one shoulder blade protrudes more than the other, one of my legs is longer than the other. And my ribs push on my lungs, making it more difficult to breathe. If I am out of breath after walking around a bit, please don’t kid me about being out of shape. It’s my ribs that are out of shape, not me. I get as much exercise as I am able, but my breathing issues do keep me from a lot of the physical activity that you take for granted. Even walking up and down hills is really tough for me.

8. We have to turn down offers to join the office volleyball team and most other group activities

When we turn down offers to be on the office volleyball/baseball/golf/any other team, please don’t think we are being “standoffish” or “unsociable.” We would love for someone to ask us to come and be the scorekeeper or perform some other supportive duty. In fact, we usually volunteer in these circumstances. We really do want to be a part of what others are doing, but often we have to participate in a different way.

9. We experience certain emotional consequences to scoliosis

We don’t just have good and bad days related to the levels of pain. We have emotionally good and bad days too. The lack of being able to lead a normal life, the pain, and the physical appearance just really get to us sometimes. We try to put on a “tough” exterior, but we can’t always keep it together. So if we seem depressed or if you see us getting teary-eyed, please don’t tell us to put a smile on our face and “snap out of it.”

Some days I just don’t want to, and others days I just can’t. If you could put yourself in my position, if only for a day, you would understand, I know. But since you cannot, please just give me a kind empathetic statement, like “I am sorry you are having a bad day. If there is anything I can do, please tell me.” That lets me know you care, and that is important.

10. We have troubles with finding clothes that fit well

Given that one shoulder and one hip are higher than the other, given that my stomach and butt may protrude, given that my ribs are protruding on one side, I have to carefully select the clothing I buy in order to hide as much of my physical deformities as possible.

Most of us actually prefer winter because we can look quite stylish in clothes that are bulky. Spring and summer are the bad months, because the clothing reveals so much more of the body. So, if we seem really out of style with our clothing selections, especially in the warm seasons, please understand that we would love to dress more fashionably, but we just cannot make ourselves expose the “deformities.”

11. We can suddenly experience tremendous pain

Simple things can send our back, legs, and ankles into spasms of pain. I dread colds, because a simple cough or sneeze can “do me in.” If I bump into a desk or chair, or have a little minor fender bender, I can be in pain for hours afterward.

It’s easy to think of us as hypochondriacs, I know, but please understand that we are not exaggerating the pain, and that we are not looking for sympathy. Please just acknowledge that our pain is real. When we see you and someone else rolling your eyes at one another while we are experiencing spasms of pain, it starts hurting even more!

12. We are not lazy

Very basic activities, like cleaning the house, involve some pretty major planning. First, we can only do this on the “good days.” Second, it takes us twice as long as someone else to complete the same cleaning chores. We have to mop, dust, and vacuum very carefully and slowly. We have to avoid bumping into things. We have to watch our stretching, pulling, and pushing.

So, if you should visit me at my house and it is not clean, please do not think I am a bad housekeeper. Understand that I probably have not had a good enough day to get the house cleaned this week. And please don’t go out and comment to others about the condition of my home. It’s hurtful, and giving people the impression that I am lazy is not fair.

13. We don’t usually go to the pool or to the beach

I don’t do this because I would never put on a swimming suit. If I ever do attend an outing of that type, the best I can do is shorts and a good-sized T-shirt. I may dangle my feet into the pool from the side or walk into the shallow part of the lake or ocean, but I will not be swimming.

Please don’t chide us for not bringing a swimsuit – we feel badly enough about it already. Swimming is actually a good exercise for us, and we do go to rehab centers often because they have a pool and we can swim with other Scoliosis patients.

14. We will gladly explain Scoliosis if asked

When people ask us to explain the condition, it makes us feel good. Obviously, the person wants to understand why we have the symptoms and why too many activities are so difficult and/or painful for us. Believe me, I keep up on all of the latest research and treatments because I want to take advantage of anything that might ease my symptoms. How much time have you got?

15. We may not be active participants in all of our kids’ activities

We really want to be. So, if the girl scouts are planning a weekend campout, we do want to go. We will bring our pain meds and we will tell you what we can and cannot do. We may not be able to paddle a canoe, and we may not be able to go along on a nature hike up and down hills, but we will bring the guitar and teach the girls some great fun songs around the campfire at night.

We may not be able to participate in the parent-son softball game, but we would love to help out in some other way on game day. We’ll volunteer to pass out drinks. We’ll wash the team uniforms after the game. We’ll be the best vocal cheerleaders ever. Please find a spot for us!

Scoliosis is permanent. And that realization to sufferers is very difficult to deal with. Most who have it started out with a very mild form that developed during a growth spurt period before puberty. Over the years, however, it gradually worsened, and no one really knows why. Some people develop a very mild form that stays very mild all of their lives. Others are severely handicapped by it as adults. If you work or socialize with someone who has moderate-to-severe Scoliosis, it would be really nice to do a bit of research so that you can understand the condition better.

Scoliosis: Why You Or Your Loved Ones Might Get It

Scoliosis is an irregular curvature on the spine. But the reason behind its development is quite unknown – not until a group of researchers from Japan were able to determine the genetic reason behind its occurrence.

MedicalDaily helps us understand this physical phenomena.

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common skeletal condition, and affects about two percent of the world population. Being “idiopathic” means that the causes behind were unknown – but Japan’s RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences and Keio University found the link between genes and the disorder.

In their recent study, they discovered the codes of BNC2 protein affects scoliosis development. The abundance of this protein can mean higher risks of developing scoliosis.

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Scoliosis can show a curve of the spine, either to the right or left, and in worst cases, there could be a double curve giving off an S-shape. This development usually starts by the age of 10 to the early teen years.

Boys and girls have equal chances to develop mild scoliosis – but girls have higher chances to develop it into severe cases. This leaves more girls to have corrective approaches for their scoliosis.

Having 10,000 volunteers, the team from RIKEN conducted research on their single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). SNP can replace cytosine with thymine in the DNA. These SNPS are located in the DNA between genes and acts as markers to find answers related to diseases.

With their team’s research, they found that SNP is located in the DNA that codes BNC2. This BNC2 is highly present on uterus, spinal cord, bone and cartilage.

The abundance of BNC2 is connected to the severe body curvature – or scoliosis. The excess in BNC2 starts at puberty, and are mostly present on females than on males.

With this understanding, scientists may be able to find solutions as to prevent it from happening, and how to cure this problem from the inside without the use of painful spinal braces.

Yoga Poses That Can Help With Scoliosis and Why

I have scoliosis, which was discovered when I was a kid. After my growth spurt, the doctors concluded that I did not have to wear a brace or undergo surgery, which I am grateful for.

I feel fortunate that the scoliosis never really hindered me in life, although I do notice the effects of this misalignment in my body. But it was only after I started yoga that I fully got to understand the ways of my body.

What is scoliosis exactly?

Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine. Whereas normally your spine would be straight when viewed from the back, with scoliosis, the spine forms a curve in a form of an S or a C. This curve can occur in the sacrum, the lumbar, spine or the thoracic spine.

There are two types of scoliosis: structural and functional. Many of us have a mild version of functional scoliosis from repetitive one-sided activity (for instance, carrying your purse always on one side for years and years). This misalignment has more to do with the muscle development rather than the structure of the body.

The structural scoliosis, on the other hand, affects the structure of the body, and it is usually detected in childhood. Although the degree of severity will vary per person, structural scoliosis will result in muscular tightness in one side of the body and can, for example, cause one lung to have less space due to collapsed ribcage.

Most people with scoliosis have undergone treatment or at least regular check-ups as a child. But what can yoga offer us?

Yoga and Scoliosis

With yoga, we get to know our bodies on a more detailed level. When practicing yoga poses that can help with scoliosis, the rule of thumb is to try to release the muscles that are contracted and to strengthen the muscles that are weaker.

TWEETYoga helps to bring back the natural balance of the body and support the body’s structure, no matter how curved. ~Kaisa Kapanen

As always, the key for yoga is in providing understanding and acceptance for how we are built and for who we are. We cannot expect yoga to magically straighten our spines, but it can offer us solutions on how to treat our bodies in order to promote health and balance.

Helpful Yoga Poses

Every body is unique, and so is every scoliosis. There are some general rules on how you can work with your scoliosis, but if you want to know specific poses that could be beneficial for your type of scoliosis, I highly recommend an individual teaching session with a qualified, specialized teacher or yoga therapist.

Poses that Lengthen the Spine

With any pose, focus on lengthening the spine. The following poses can bring relief and space for your back muscles and space within the spine.

  • Cat and Cow Pose will stretch the muscles supporting your spine and open up the spaces between the vertebrae.
  • Child’s Pose relaxes the whole back. By taking your arms on the convex side (the rounded part) you can create more space on the concave side (the more hollow side).

Asymmetrical Poses

With scoliosis, the two sides of the body have very different needs, so it’s beneficial to work with asymmetrical poses. This way, we are better able to isolate the different body parts we want to work on. However, it is still important to work on both sides so that we reinforce a balance.

  • Triangle Pose can bring space and length into the spine. For the concave, hollow side, instead of bringing your lower hand on your shin or onto the floor, use a chair so you can really focus on bringing length to the thoracic spine by stretching forwards. On the convex, rounded side, bring your lower hand on your shin and upper hand to the sacrum instead of towards the ceiling. Focus on opening the shoulders and twisting the upper body.

Twists

Whereas some sources say twists are not beneficial for scoliosis, I have received specific twists as homework from my teacher. Again, be mindful of your situation and seek guidance. Twists can be great in releasing the energy in the spine. You can do twists by sitting on a chair with your side towards the back of the chair. Keep your feet together and use the back of the chair for support to twist deeper.

Scoliosis can be a great teacher of taking things slowly, of getting to know your body, and allowing your body to guide you. As always with yoga, what happens on your yoga mat is for you. You are not practicing for your neighbor, but to find balance and harmony in your own body.Especially if you have scoliosis, seek guidance as to what would be helpful for you. Inform your teachers and don’t be shy to follow your own rhythm in class.