Our backs support us day in and day out, helping us walk, sit, and sleep at night. Taking care of our backs with proper posture and exercise is so important to feel good.
Unfortunately, many people struggle with a condition called scoliosis that affects their back. It causes a curved spine that often cannot be completely corrected.
Scoliosis typically occurs in children when their bones are still growing rapidly, but it can be diagnosed at any age.
Luckily, there are a few ways to help treat scoliosis that has evolved significantly over time. Modern science has paved the way for healthier living!
If you think you have scoliosis or have recently been diagnosed, it can learn a bit more about how it has changed over the years.
Perceptions of Scoliosis in the Past
Perceptions of spinal deformity have shifted dramatically from what they once were. Research and learning have helped inform us of the truths surrounding health conditions.
Many, many years ago, images depicted individuals with spinal deformities as severely disfigured. These individuals were feared and often avoided because of their different appearances.
Eventually, ancient doctors began to realize that what they thought were deformities were actually serious health concerns. Scoliosis was first thought to result from poor posture that could be fixed with painful straightening therapies.
This belief existed for hundreds of years as new apparatuses and surgeries developed that were still unable to correct scoliosis. Even as time went on, health providers still thought that it was caused by poor posture.
In reality, the cause of scoliosis is typically unknown. Doctors now know it can be genetic, but environmental factors can also play a role in its development.
Luckily, there are now ways to diagnose scoliosis to help treat it right.
Present Methods of Diagnosis
Today, there are a few steps in the diagnosis process when it comes to scoliosis.
Typically the first step is a visual exam. It is common for children to have to bend at the waist, leaning forward, so the examiner can measure the curve of the spine.
A curve of 25 degrees or more is considered to need treatment, though this is often difficult to determine with just a visual exam.
If the spine appears to be curved, the next step is typically to have an x-ray taken. An x-ray can more accurately show the extent of the curvature to determine the proper next steps.
A CAT scan or MRI might also be necessary for an accurate diagnosis, depending on the curve’s severity.
While scoliosis is more common in children and teens, it can be diagnosed in adulthood. The later forms of scoliosis are a bit different because adult bones are mature and not growing rapidly anymore.
However, in any patient, scoliosis is taken seriously to determine what the best treatment methods might be.
Past Treatment Methods
Before there was modern medicine, scoliosis treatments were a bit different than what we know today. Many of them sound painful and often were not entirely effective.
When scoliosis was discovered, patients would be tied to wooden sticks to straighten their posture. That was not extremely effective, as you can imagine, and probably not very comfortable.
Eventually, metal braces were created in the 1500s. These might not have been comfortable, but they were a step in a more advanced direction.
The exercise was also used as a treatment method that did not work to correct the curve or significantly decrease the rate it worsened.
There were some surgeries, though they didn’t prove lasting results. X-rays did eventually begin to show the extent of each scoliosis case as time went on.
There were many attempts to find an effective treatment for scoliosis before today’s modern treatments were discovered.
Every case of scoliosis is a little different, depending on the patient. The curves can be different degrees, and some treatments might not work as well as others.
Some of the most common methods for treatment include wearing back braces, exercising, and receiving surgery if the curve is serious.
Braces were used in the past, but they were no match for the ones that exist today. Braces are still worn on the back and come in many shapes and sizes, depending on the person and their condition.
Doctors monitor how the brace affects each patient at regular appointments. Sometimes, patients will have to try a new brace if one isn’t the right fit.
According to Healthcare Weekly, scoliosis braces can help slow the impact of scoliosis on the spine of a child that is still growing.
While they seem only to offer temporary alignment, they can significantly help prevent a more serious curve over time.
Braces can provide serious comfort for a person who struggles with scoliosis leading up to surgery if it is needed.
Even though exercising is not a cure for scoliosis, it can still help keep the condition from worsening.
Stretching every day and completing exercises can actually make a living with scoliosis more comfortable.
In some cases, physical therapy may be required to keep a person moving consistently. It can feel good to stretch while also improving the curve in the spine.
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Surgery will become an option for scoliosis treatment if the spine has a curve of more than 40 degrees.
While it will not perfectly straighten the spine, it will straighten it to the point that keeps the condition from getting worse.
The surgery will typically involve using metal implants to keep the spine aligned. It can also involve spinal fusion, where vertebrae are permanently fused.
Surgery is not the answer for every case, and it is not guaranteed to lead to a perfectly straight spine. It can, however, ease the pains of scoliosis and make life a little easier for those who have it.
Scoliosis is a serious spinal condition that has evolved as time went on. Now, there are so many new ways to diagnose and treat scoliosis to make every case a little easier to handle.