What is it Like Living with Scoliosis?
Scoliosis affects 2-3% of the population, so in the United States that would translate to between 6 to 9 million people, and in the UK, to 1.32 to 2 million in the United Kingdom. Scoliosis can develop in infancy or early childhood but most cases onset at 10-15 years old, occurring equally among both genders. Females are 8-fold more likely to progress to a curve magnitude that requires treatment. Some children are fitted with a brace, others often require surgery.
But what is it like living with scoliosis, especially growing up with it when appearance is ever important and especially in high school? Scoliosis can lead to children being even more self-conscious and even lead to them avoiding social contact.
How do children feel going about their daily lives, living with scoliosis? What is the emotional cost, not to mention the cost of living with pain, as many patients have associated back-ache? Depending on the degree of the curve, it may look as if the child is slouching or simply has bad posture, rather than an actual disability. Living with pain can affect one’s quality of life and ability to take part in sports, social events and school activities. Concentrating in the classroom can be difficult, which has a future impact on the child’s academic ability.
Children are judged by their peers on their athletic prowess, looks and popularity, their ‘cool’ factor, and whether or not they are ‘in’ with the right crowd, etc. Cheerleaders and baseball / basketball jocks typically lead the pack. But what if the child can’t join in these activities? Where does that leave him/her?
Like any disability, undoubtedly children, and adults, will be stigmatized by their callous peers and public. Helping them to deal with not only their physical disability, and the associated pain, but also with their emotional pain and self-esteem and how they fit in with their peers is crucial. Having to constantly explain the condition can be tiring but may bring the reward of ‘letting people in’ and explain what it is like, living with scoliosis. It’s worth doing with people in one’s circles, such as classmates. Once discussed and out in the open, it won’t be something they need to whisper or wonder about and most likely they’ll get bored and move on to another topic because the curiosity will be requited. It may even create empathy (not to be confused with pity – who needs that?!) and creativeness in how children with scoliosis can be included rather than left out.
It doesn’t have to define the child unless the child let’s it define him/her. Attitude is key and life-changing for better or worse. Who hasn’t seen the audition of ‘Mersey Girls’ (formerly ‘Just Us’) – with lead performer, Julia Carlile, for whom living with scoliosis hasn’t stopped her from her love of dance. If you haven’t see her perform, click on the video below – it is incredibly moving and inspiring):
Lastly, there are ways to improve your condition, such as the braces and surgery – but before you opt for either of these, do check out Meditrac’s Vertetrac & Dynamic Brace Scoliosis System: in prepubescents it can correct the curve without surgery and without having to wear the system for more than 30 mins once a day to 30 mins three times a day, depending on the degree of curvature (equal to or under 40°; over 40° cannot be treated with this System). For the treatment regimen, click here.
If you are an adult, the Vertetrac with the DBS Scoliosis Rail Attachment creates a spinal decompression system that will help to reduce the constant pain.