The 3 Most Dangerous Myths About Scoliosis

The 3 Most Dangerous Myths About Scoliosis

The 3 Most Dangerous Myths About Scoliosis

“The greatest obstacle to progress is the illusion of knowledge.”

If you are like most people, then you’d want to know what you are up against when it comes time to make critical health care decisions.

 

You want a comprehensive plan. You want all the information you can get. But you also want to be guided by a professional you know, like and trust.

When it comes to scoliosis, getting your hands on what works might be more elusive than you think.

This is because there are powerful myths and misinformation that misguide the general public.

These Myths are so pervasive that even fool well intentioned physicians and cause them to make recommendations that are not helpful to their patients.

Do you really know all of your options when it comes to scoliosis?

Have you been given all the information you need to make an informed decision about caring for your scoliosis, or the scoliosis of your child?

Do you feel like you have a comprehensive plan in place?

Here are the Top 3 Most Dangerous Myths about scoliosis.

These are the most common fairy tales that are preventing many with scoliosis from getting the full range of options and treatment they deserve.

 

1. Myth: Scoliosis is a cosmetic problem, and treatment is optional.
Fact: Scoliosis can be a dangerous and life limiting condition that shortens your life span.

 

Some people see scoliosis only as a cosmetic problem. They believe it only affects posture and self-confidence. They believe scoliosis treatment is optional, just like other cosmetic problems.

But scoliosis is not just a cosmetic problem. Scoliosis is not something you can choose to take care of when it’s convenient, or if it bothers you enough. Scoliosis can become a dangerous and life limiting condition if it’s left alone.

The National Scoliosis Foundation acknowledges that scoliosis is associated with headaches, chronic pain, digestive problems, shortness of breath, and chronic disease. Scoliosis can limit height and normal growth. Scoliosis can reduce the ability of the lungs to function normally.

Very simply, scoliosis can shorten a life if not treated properly. A study from as many as 30 years ago years ago showed this to be true. However, many still believe, including physicians, that scoliosis treatment is optional.

A study in Bone and Joint Surgery in 1971 followed idiopathic scoliosis patients who did not receive treatment over a number of years. In the length of this long-term study, the mortality rate was 15%, and individuals showed a decreased life expectancy by as many as 14 years.

Another study in Spine from 2002 investigated the quality of life of women with idiopathic scoliosis. Girls and teens with scoliosis were unhappier, with more physical pains, lower self-esteem, and more depression than other females their age. Likewise adult females showed more mental and physical impairment.

A study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine (2002) showed that athletes with scoliosis showed long term impairment when compared to their peers. Those with scoliosis experienced more pain and time away from activity than others. The majority experienced frequent back pain that limited their athletic activities.

Other studies have also known that scoliosis curves in the low back are associated with low back pain, and similar curves in the mid-back are associated with stress on the heart and lungs.

For most with scoliosis, treatment is not optional. It is not just a cosmetic condition. Not treating scoliosis effectively and timely can mean a lower quality of life, and even a shortened life span.

 

2. Myth: Scoliosis cannot get worse after a child stops growing.
Fact: Your child’s scoliosis curves can get worse even after she stops growing.

 

In spite of what many parents and some physicians believe, scoliosis doesn’t suddenly stop worsening as a child reaches the end of his or her growing phase. With time scoliosis can worsen. Those angles can get bigger even after the age of 18!

In six different studies across several decades, researchers measured the spines of adult scoliosis patients, and found that their scoliosis progressed. In 60 to 100% of scoliosis cases of skeletally mature persons, the curves in the spine continued to worsen over time. Close to 600 spines were examined with all of the studies combined!

So, if you’re waiting until skeletal maturity to see how bad things get, they can still worsen after adulthood begins. There is never a better time to start on a course of corrective care than now. This is true even if you have already reached skeletal maturity.

Just as a scoliosis can worsen after your skeleton is fully mature, a scoliosis can also improve. Turning 18 doesn’t put your spine in cement. Just because you may be skeletally mature doesn’t mean your scoliosis can’t be helped or improved with the right treatment plan.

 

3. Myth: Watch and wait is a good plan in treating scoliosis.
Fact: Doing nothing is never a good plan when a scoliosis could be developing or worsening.

 

Watch and wait is the first step in what some call a “conservative plan” for scoliosis. In the case of a mild scoliosis curve, a doctor may recommend that the spine be observed for a time before making a treatment recommendation. Usually an x-ray is scheduled three to six months after the initial exam in order to measure what might have changed in the spine. They are looking to see if the scoliosis worsens.

As we have already seen in the myth above, a majority of cases of scoliosis are going to worsen given enough time. Skeletal maturity won’t stop the progression of scoliosis. And taking x-rays every few months just to observe the progress, won’t stop it either.

The reality is that watching and waiting can waste a lot of time for scoliosis patients. This is especially the case in rapidly developing children. In the time that it takes to see if a scoliosis worsens, scoliosis patients could already be improving their spinal curves in a scoliosis care plan that’s truly conservative.

Because waiting until a spine needs surgery to do something is not really conservative care at all.

Stick around for the next few days, we’ll be publishing the full 10 most dangerous myths about scoliosis and we’ll have it ready for you to download!

Take care ?

Dr. Alfonso