Debunking Scoliosis: 5 Myths You Should Stop Believing
Scoliosis is a common spine condition that is most often diagnosed during adolescence. Scoliosis occurs when the vertebrae form a curve as opposed to being straight. While small curves do not usually cause a problem, they can worsen.
There are approximately 3 million new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. While there are three types of scoliosis, the most commonly diagnosed is idiopathic scoliosis. This type usually presents around puberty, between the ages of 10 and 12 years. While most people with scoliosis live healthy, pain-free lives, some myths can prevent adolescents from enjoying life thoroughly. June is Scoliosis Awareness Month, and we wanted to share five myths about scoliosis you should stop believing.
Sports can worsen scoliosis.
Sports and other forms of physical activity are essential for mobility and the development of core strength. Both of which are critical for reducing back pain. Kids who have scoliosis do not have to avoid sports. Kids can choose virtually any sport. However, one of our favorites is swimming. Swimming strengthens the spine in a weightless environment.
Scoliosis requires surgery.
Most forms of scoliosis do not require surgery for treatment. This is because most people have mild curves. Only around ten percent of patients require surgery, and around 30 percent require bracing. If diagnosed with scoliosis, check-ups are essential to ensure it does not progress.
Wearing heavy backpacks can cause scoliosis.
Heavy backpacks with weight incorrectly distributed can cause back pain, but it does not cause scoliosis. Many people attribute a new diagnosis of scoliosis with backpacks because of the age at which it is diagnosed. As mentioned previously, idiopathic scoliosis is often diagnosed when backpacks are getting heavier. This is a mere coincidence.
Girls are more prone to scoliosis than boys.
Scoliosis is often a genetic condition and appears in both girls and boys equally. That said, girls have a higher risk of scoliosis progressing or worsening and may require treatment such as bracing or surgery.
Scoliosis is caused by bad posture.
A common misconception is that poor posture can cause scoliosis. Most cases of scoliosis are idiopathic, which means there is no known cause. Posture can cause pain and can lead to other health issues if not addressed.
As part of your child’s well visit, your pediatrician will check their spine for scoliosis. If identified, we will either monitor it or refer your child to a specialist for further evaluation.
As always, we are here to support you. If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric providers.