Scoliosis is a fairly widespread condition, affecting roughly 4% of people worldwide. But even though tens of millions of people live with curved spines, there is still a lot of misinformation out there, and so many of the things you think you know about scoliosis may well be inaccurate or downright incorrect.
Here are 5 myths about scoliosis that we’d like to debunk once and for all:
1. Scoliosis can be caused by wearing heavy backpacks.
This first myth has been propagated by some big names over the years. For example, famous scoliosis sufferer Sarah Michelle Gellar has attributed her spinal curvature to wearing her school rucksack on just one shoulder, but while this bad habit puts extra strain on your back muscles and can lead to poor posture, there’s no evidence that it can cause scoliosis.
Similarly, Kurt Cobain once stated that the weight of his guitar caused his back “to grow in [a] curvature”, but this was almost certainly not the original cause of his scoliosis. We hope this will come as a relief to any guitarists reading this!
2. Scoliosis is always painful.
As we’ve stated on numerous occasions here on the Scoliosis SOS blog, every case of scoliosis is different, and a curved spine sometimes won’t cause any pain at all. It’s true that scoliosis often does cause pain, but it’s not a guarantee, and the severity of the pain tends to vary hugely from one patient to the next.
It’s not even the case that a more pronounced curve equals more pain – we’ve met some people with very extreme scoliosis who suffer little to no pain, and others with only minor curves who feel a lot of pain. As we said, every case is different!
3. Scoliosis only affects females.
Scoliosis is vastly more common in females than in males – in fact, adolescent girls are up to 10 times more likely to develop scoliosis than adolescent boys.
But scoliosis absolutely affects males as well. For example, Connor Bartlett is a young man who recently came to our clinic for treatment – watch the video below to hear his story.
4. Nobody knows what causes scoliosis.
Scoliosis can arise as the result of numerous other conditions, including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and Marfan syndrome. It can also occur in older people as a side effect of the natural ageing process.
However, most scoliosis patients have what’s called idiopathic scoliosis
. This type of scoliosis usually develops during adolescence, and while it’s true that we don’t yet know for sure what causes it, scientists have made some exciting progress on that front lately – click here
to read more about that.
5. Scoliosis only ever develops during adolescence.
As mentioned above, idiopathic scoliosis usually starts developing during the patient’s pre-teen / teenage years, but that’s far from the whole story. Young children
can developed curved spines, as can older people
; even if you’re not of the age at which idiopathic scoliosis usually manifests itself, you may still develop a curved spine as the result of another underlying condition.
This information is provided by the team at Scoliosis SOS. Based in London, England, the Scoliosis SOS Clinic is one of the world’s leading providers of non-surgical treatment for scoliosis and other spinal conditions – click here to learn more about our ScolioGold treatment programme, or contact us now to book a consultation.