Living With Scoliosis

The real beauty of a human being does not necessarily reside in the symmetry of the body. It is most often found elsewhere, way beyond…

-Annie Cotrel

If you or your loved one has scoliosis, it’s important you know that you are not alone. Scoliosis is the most common spinal condition in schoolchildren, affecting approximately 2 to 4 percent of children. It affects people around the world, and can be present at birth or appear at any age, although most cases are diagnosed in adolescence. The prevalence of scoliosis increases with age, averaging around 20% in adults and 66% in adults over the age of 65. Many famous celebrities, models, and athletes have scoliosis as well.

Scoliosis affects people’s lives differently. Lamar Gant is an American weightlifter with a severe scoliosis that hasn’t stopped him from setting nine world records in powerlifting. At the opposite end, Kurt Cobain of the band Nirvana had a mild scoliosis that caused him severe pain, and may have contributed to the drug abuse that led to his early death. What is important is to evaluate each person on a case-by-case basis; a scoliosis should not be dismissed as “too mild” and therefore undeserving of care or attention.

Many scoliosis experts state that scoliosis does not cause pain. The true version of this statement is, most cases of scoliosis do not cause pain; it is not true that scoliosis can never cause pain.

Scoliosis has an emotional component; it is not simply a physical condition, or just a little curve in the spine. According to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, people with scoliosis can be more prone to depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and negative self-image.

People with scoliosis are often very conscious of their posture, and sensitive to remarks about it. If you have a loved one with scoliosis, be aware that posture is a subconscious, automatic reflex – not something that can be constantly controlled with active effort. Many times, it is difficult if not impossible for someone with scoliosis to have perfect posture, so continually reminding them of their posture can be very discouraging.

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