Every year, scoliosis sufferers and those close to them recognise the month of June as Scoliosis Awareness Month. This is an annual opportunity for people all over the world to come together, speak out about life with a curved spine, and educate others about what it means to have scoliosis.
This month-long event culminates in International Scoliosis Awareness Day, which falls on the last Saturday of June (meaning that the date to remember this year is 30th June 2018). The UK Scoliosis Association (SAUK) launched International Scoliosis Awareness Day five years ago - here, in the organisation's own words, is why they did it:
"SAUK launched ISAD in 2013 to unite people across the world to create positive public awareness of scoliosis, promote education, and bring together those affected."
How do people mark Scoliosis Awareness Month?
People mark this annual occasion in a number of different ways. If you use Twitter, you may already have seen the hashtag #ScoliosisAwarenessMonth doing the rounds - scoliosis sufferers are using this tag to share their stories, their X-ray scans, and photos of their curved backs and surgery scars. All of these posts are intermingled with advice for fellow scoliosis patients and useful information about the condition.
There are also a number of events taking place in recognition of Scoliosis Awareness Month. Last year, for instance, the Curvy Girls support group organised a large walk in New Jersey to raise awareness of spinal curvature.
4 things you should know about scoliosis
We're keen to do our bit for Scoliosis Awareness Month too, so here - for the benefit of anyone who is unfamiliar with this condition - are 4 things we think everyone should know about scoliosis. Feel free to share this post to help raise awareness!
1. What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves sideways, often resulting in symptoms such as pain, reduced flexibility, muscular imbalance, and (in extreme cases) compromised breathing. Read more >
For a rough idea of what scoliosis looks like, consult the diagram below. However, do bear in mind that every case of scoliosis is different - symptoms, severity, and curve location vary hugely from one person to the next.
2. How common is scoliosis?
Scoliosis affects roughly 4% of people worldwide (i.e. approximately 1 in 25 people). It can occur in any individual regardless of age or gender; however, it is most commonly found in adolescent girls. Read more >
3. What causes scoliosis?
There are many different types of scoliosis with many possible causes. By far the most common form is idiopathic scoliosis, which usually develops during adolescence and has no known cause, though it is thought to be linked to genetic factors.
However, scoliosis can also be caused by:
- Birth defects
- Old age
- A wide range of conditions including muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spondylolisthesis, and many more
It's worth noting that scoliosis is NOT caused by carrying heavy bags, though this is a common misconception. Read more >
4. How is scoliosis treated?
Scoliosis can be treated using a number of different methods, with bracing and spinal fusion surgery being the most common. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London, England, we treat scoliosis using a combination of non-surgical, exercise-based techniques that we collectively call the ScolioGold method. This approach - using physical therapy to reduce the patient's spinal curve and improve their quality of life - has shown itself to be very effective. View results >
If you need more information about scoliosis, or if you're interested in the treatment courses we provide here at Scoliosis SOS, please don't hesitate to get in touch.