In today’s world of insurance-driven health care, face time with the actual doctor is becoming more and more limited. Time to ask questions — let alone get an answer — is non-existent. It is no wonder the idiopathic scoliosis condition is wrought with confusion and misinformation. The list of misconceptions about idiopathic scoliosis is likely endless. Below are six facts the ScoliSMART doctors feel are interesting facts about scoliosis.
Scoliosis Fact #1
Small Curves Respond to Treatment Better Than Bigger Curves
This should seem rather obvious. It has become clear this knowledge isn’t used in clinical practice. The standard watch-and-wait method continues for mild and moderate spine curves. A success rate published by the doctors of ScoliSMART reported an impressive 93% success rate in curvatures less than 50 degrees. Get recommendations on how genetic testing is helping early scoliosis intervention sent directly to your email.
“Early-stage scoliosis intervention seems to be a critical but underutilized strategy.”
Clayton J. Stitzel DC
Scoliosis Fact #2
Scoliosis Back Braces Can Make the Rib Hump Worse
The concept of rigid scoliosis braces has been around since 1575. (Read that again). The brace designs have improved since that time, the idea of temporary forced “correction” with the brace has not.
It is essential to understand that back braces do not apply their compressive force to the spine. The forces must travel through the soft tissue, intestines, and rib cage to push the spinal curve into a straighter position. The rib cage (being round) flattens out the angle of the ribs, even more, when compressed. It increases the very scoliosis hump it is supposed to prevent.
Treatment with braces is one of the scoliosis options that most limit patients’ everyday activities.
Scoliosis Fact #3
Scoliosis Can, and Often Does, Progress in Adulthood
Many patients are misinformed that their scoliosis will not worsen after they finish growing—people with scoliosis curves less than 30 degrees may be true before menopause. But, curves over 30 degrees have a 68% risk of slow and steady curve progression in adulthood (especially as they approach menopause). Many scoliosis patients try physical therapy with little or no success.
This risk of adulthood scoliosis curve progression can be reduced with rehabilitation protocols. For example, the Adult Scoliosis Boot Camp or ScoliSMART Activity Suit. also maintains healthy bone metabolism with Scoli StrongBone Formula.
Scoliosis is a lifelong journey for many adults.
Scoliosis Fact #4
Idiopathic Scoliosis = Family Genetics
- Recent research breakthroughs conducted by ScoliSMART have uncovered 28 functional genomic variant groups. These may be the root cause of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Genetic variants affect the bodies ability to make critical compounds, including:
- vitamin absorption at the cellular levels,
- and even normal neurotransmitter/hormone production.
Most patients don’t notice these disturbances daily (either because they are minor or have always been the baseline for normal for that person). Yet, these undetected issues can become very clear as a patient begins rapid growth spurts in adolescence. The genetic-variant-affected genes can’t keep up with growing demands, especially involving the areas of brain and body communication via chemical messengers (neurotransmitters and hormones).
The end result is a mis/under-communication between the automatic postural control centers. This happens between the brain and spinal alignment muscles, resulting in the spinal curvature we know as scoliosis.
Genetic research is our greatest hope for finding a cure for scoliosis.
Scoliosis Fact #5
Scoliosis Can and Does Cause Pain
Patient after patient continues to tell us their doctors insist scoliosis does not cause pain (some call this gentle scoliosis). Yet they are experiencing pain (acute scoliosis), and they are not alone. A recent study found that 54% of adolescents with scoliosis reported pain symptoms (source). A 50-year follow-up of untreated adults with scoliosis found 61% reported mild to moderate chronic pain (source). It isn’t clear if the pain reported by patients is directly related to the scoliosis condition itself. But such high correlations strongly suggest they are somehow linked. One leading theory revolves around the mis-coordination of spinal muscle firing patterns. This is most likely a result of altered biomechanics due to the spinal curvature, leading to muscle fatigue and spasms. Uneven shoulders and pain between the shoulder blades are common signs of scoliosis and scoliosis symptoms. In some cases, patients have scoliosis but the other way (reverse).
This could explain why the ScoliSMART Activity Suit effectively reduces scoliosis-related pain. The suit activity engages the patient’s reflex-controlled spinal muscle groups. This causes them to begin firing in the standard coordinated patterns again, reducing stress on individual muscles.
Scoliosis Fact #6
Anxiety and Depression Are More Common in Patients with Scoliosis
- Anxiety, depression, and scoliosis are a complex “nature vs. nurture mix.” But they do seem to have at least some traits in common.
- Low serotonin is often found in patients with depression and those with scoliosis, while high norepinephrine is linked to anxiety and scoliosis. Idiopathic scoliosis may share a common genetic variant with each of these conditions.
- Scoliosis and depression may be linked environmentally as well.
Scoliosis is one of the incredible medical mysteries with far more questions than answers. Yet, science still knows and continues to discover a great deal about it. Innovations in genetic variant testing (idiopathic scoliosis vs. congenital scoliosis), studies on neurotransmitter and hormone patterns, and a greater understanding of links between scoliosis and other common conditions will lessen the uncertainty and help patients live better lives.
Don’t know where to start? Take our FREE “ScoliQuiz.” (No x-ray required)