The World Wide Web makes it relatively easy to find factual information about scoliosis, its symptoms, and the available treatment options. But fictional tales about people with scoliosis are a little harder to find.

Today (11 June) is Empathy Day, and with the accompanying #ReadForEmpathy campaign, the organisers are hoping to highlight the power of stories to help us understand each other's lived experiences. In that spirit, then, here's our all-ages guide to stories about scoliosis and what it's like to live with a curved spine:

 

Scoliosis Books for Children

Ideal for younger readers, these books can be a great aid for parents who are looking to help their young children understand scoliosis and the effects it can have on one's body. Better still, they also help to highlight the fact that a scoliosis diagnosis isn’t the end of the world, and that courage and perseverance can help to overcome even the biggest obstacles.

Being Grace Scoliosis Story

Being Grace by June Hyjek

Ideal for educating young children about the ins and outs of scoliosis, Being Grace follows the story of a Grace, a young giraffe who has a curved neck.

As in the Christmas story of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, Grace the Giraffe is singled out and ridiculed for being different. Despite this, Grace's crooked neck allows her to do things the other giraffes can't.

Grace ultimately learns to be happy in her own skin, accept her differences, and appreciate the way they make her unique. The author June Hyjek has scoliosis herself, adding authenticity to the story and its message.

View on Goodreads >>

 

The Bravest Thing

The Bravest Thing by Donna Jo Napoli

The Bravest Thing centres around pet-loving 10-year-old Laurel and her pet rabbit. When the rabbit has babies, the rabbit's unwillingness to feed her offspring leaves Laurel (who has scoliosis) to take the lead and keep them healthy herself.

The book focuses on optimism in the face of adversity, providing a good introduction to the effects of scoliosis for children.

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S on My Back scoliosis book

There's an S on My Back by Mary Mahony

Mary Mahony’s 1999 book There's an S on My Back is a great way to educate pre-adolescent readers about the implications of scoliosis while also reinforcing hope, instilling courage, and dispelling anxiety.

Written as a first-person narrative from the perspective of lead character Maisey MacGuire, There's an S... provides children with an enlightening insight into scoliosis, from diagnosis to treatment, including brace fitting and the social situations around it.

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Scoliosis Books for Older Kids & Teens

For older children who have just entered their teenage years (or soon will), the following books provide a more mature analysis of scoliosis while still effectively maintaining engagement in younger readers. Centred around early adolescent characters, these books are a great way to improve a child's knowledge of scoliosis while still capturing their imagination.

Abby's Twin

Abby's Twin by Ann M. Martin

Part of the Baby-Sitters Club series, Abby's Twin tells the story of twin sisters Abby and Anna. Anna is diagnosed with scoliosis after a routine school screening, and the twins are left to come to grips with the revelation in their own way, with Abby's excessive attempts to comfort her sister ultimately leading to a falling out.

Bridging the gap between children's literature and teen reading, Abby's Twin is a good introduction to scoliosis for young teens and pre-adolescents, highlighting the importance of communication and family.

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Braced scoliosis book

Braced by Alyson Gerber

Braced is the debut novel from Alyson Gerber (who has scoliosis herself). It tells the tale of Rachel Brooks, a 7th-grade student with a place on the school soccer team, a crush on a boy named Tate, and a great year ahead of her...until she's told that she has to wear a scoliosis brace for 23 hours a day.

Told from an authentic and honest perspective, this heartfelt story recounts the trials and tribulations of a maturing teen coping with scoliosis, with great underlying messages of compassion and triumph over adversity.

Published in 2017, Braced came as a welcome modern addition to the realm of scoliosis fiction, and it has been repeatedly praised online as a great read for teens and young adults alike.

View on Goodreads >>

 

Dear Isaac Newton Book

Dear Isaac Newton, You're Ruining My Life by Rachel Hruza

Another recent publication to add to the growing list of scoliosis novels, Dear Isaac Newton... was originally published in early 2018 and follows the story of Truth Trendon, a 12-year-old with scoliosis.

The main protagonist in this scoliosis story aims to keep her scoliosis a secret from her classmates. Of course, the lies soon start to snowball, and disaster looms...

Touching and quick-witted, this book is full of adolescent angst and important life lessons, with the scoliosis theme prevalent throughout. Another great read for early teens.

View on Goodreads >>

 

Young Adult Books About Scoliosis

These books focus on a variety of themes and plotlines, and while they are predominantly aimed at young adults, they are just as suitable for those that fall outside of that category, providing a good literary experience for adults too - particularly those with an interest in scoliosis.

Deenie

Deenie by Judy Blume

Perhaps the most famous book on this list, Deenie is considered somewhat of a cult classic, achieving both critical acclaim and controversy.

First published back in 1973, Deenie has seen its fair share of controversy, primarily due to its sexual references. As a result, Deenie has been banned in countless schools, even landing on the American Library Association's list of the '100 Most Frequently-Challenged Books' in the 1990s.

However, this was nothing new for author Judy Blume, who has had numerous other books on the same list over the years. And none of this has impacted the book's popularity; Deenie is still held in high regard and frequently cited as a 'coming of age' classic, and it's a great scoliosis story to boot.

View on Goodreads >>

 

Mannequin Girl

Mannequin Girl by Ellen Litman

The second novel from Ellen Litman, Mannequin Girl is another coming-of-age story, but this one is set in 1980s Moscow.

The action - which takes place within a boarding school that's specifically for children with scoliosis - centres around lead character Kat, who enters first grade at the age of six as the book begins. We then see Kat's experiences over the eight years that follow.

Themes of identity, independence and rebellion emerge; Litman herself grew up in Moscow, allowing her to draw upon her real-life experiences for a narrative that's authentic, engaging and heartfelt despite being written in third person.

View on Goodreads >>

 

Heaven Sent book

Heaven Sent by S.J. Morgan

The most recent entry on this list, Heaven Sent is the debut novel of British ex-pat S.J. Morgan. A trained occupational therapist, Morgan has real knowledge of scoliosis, and she uses this knowledge to great effect throughout Heaven Sent.

Another coming-of-age novel, relationships are the key theme here, with particular focus on friendship, family and love. The well-developed characters and thought-provoking narrative make Heaven Sent a solid read that's even more appealing to those with firsthand experience of scoliosis.

View on Goodreads >>

Scoliosis SOS is a specialist clinic in London, UK for people with scoliosis and other spinal conditions. Learn more about us here, and if you'd like to arrange a consultation, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Scoliosis can affect the body in a number of different ways and with varying severity.

For example, significant spinal curvature and rotation can sometimes affect lung function, leaving the patient short of breath.

Spinal rotation and lung function

How does spinal rotation affect lung function?

According to the Thoracic Institute at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children's Hospital, "spine rotation causes a windswept thorax, with both restriction of the volume of the convex hemithorax and restriction of the motion of the involved ribs".

In other words, scoliosis and other curvatures of the spine can limit your movement and inhibit the inflation of your lungs.

As a general rule, the more severe the angle of trunk rotation (ATR), the more severely your respiratory system may be affected. This can be particularly noticeable during periods of activity and exercise, which may leave you feeling short of breath.

Can lung function be improved?

Despite this correlation between spinal rotation and lung function, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. Our ScolioGold treatment programme can provide relief for people with scoliosis, even when it is so severe as to affect the patient's lungs.

The Scoliosis SOS Clinic's own research has shown that treatment via the ScolioGold programme can improve a patient’s forced vital capacity (i.e. the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled from the lungs after taking the deepest breath possible).

However, due to the retrospective nature of the study along with other contributing outside factors, the improvements cannot be fully attributed to decreasing ATR. Nevertheless, it’s an encouraging statistic and shows how ScolioGold can be beneficial for scoliosis patients seeking non-surgical help.

Non-surgical spine treatment

What is ScolioGold?

ScolioGold therapy is a treatment programme that combines the Schroth method with myriad other tried and tested therapeutic techniques from across the globe.

Continuously monitored, modified and developed, the ScolioGold programme is constantly evolving to include the latest advancements in non-surgical treatment.

Learn More About ScolioGold   Book a Consultation

Scoliosis and Depression

It's not uncommon for people with scoliosis to feel depressed from time to time. Scoliosis is a lifelong condition, and it can be hard to come to terms with this, but that doesn't mean that scoliosis patients can't live physically and emotionally fulfilling lives.

In this blog post, we'd like to discuss the connection between scoliosis and depression and what can be done about it.

Why might scoliosis lead to depression?

The link between scoliosis and depression is reasonably well-established; this population-based study, for example, concluded that "patients with scoliosis may have an increased risk of depression" and that "health care professionals should consider designing and planning effective psychological prevention and treatment for scoliosis patients".

There are several possible explanations for this connection. The visible symptoms of scoliosis (e.g. leaning to one side, shoulders sitting at different heights) can result in low self-esteem and negative body image (especially in young people) and this can be compounded by the limited range of treatment options available in some territories. Braces can be uncomfortable and unflattering, and recovering from spinal fusion surgery can be physically and mentally draining and may make the patient feel isolated. Whether or not these factors can cause depression, they may well exacerbate it if it already exists.

Many people with scoliosis will feel depressed about their condition at some point, but the severity and persistence of that depression can vary drastically depending on the patient's age, their recovery prospects, the size of their spinal curvature(s), and any number of other factors.

How can you tell if someone is depressed?

If you know someone with scoliosis, look out for the following symptoms of depression:

  • Loss of interest in things they previously enjoyed
  • Noticeably lower energy levels
  • Unusual, out-of-character and/or reckless behaviour (e.g. drug use, excessive drinking)
  • Expression of suicidal thoughts (even if they seem to be joking - talking about suicide in any manner can be a cry for help)

What should I do if I feel depressed?

IMPORTANT: If you are feeling suicidal, please consider calling a suicide crisis line. If you're in the UK, you can call Samaritans now on 116 123. For other countries, see this list of suicide crisis lines.

  • Talk to someone. Whether you are reaching out to a friend, a family member, or a professional counsellor, simply talking about your depression can be a large step towards overcoming it. If you are suffering because of your scoliosis, it may be beneficial to speak to other people with this condition, as they will be able to empathise with you in a way that others can't. Look at our list of scoliosis support groups to see if there's a group in your area.

  • Visit your doctor. Your GP may be able to help you deal with your depression and can prescribe antidepressants / refer you for additional therapy if necessary.

  • Treat your scoliosis. If you think that your depression is linked to your scoliosis, you may wish to look into different treatment methods that could help you to reduce the angle of your curvature and feel better both physically and mentally.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we use a combination of non-invasive treatment techniques to help people with scoliosis and other spinal conditions. If you're interested in attending a consultation session to discuss treatment options, please click the button below to get in touch.

Enquire About Scoliosis Treatment >

Did you know that our therapists can provide ScolioGold therapy in your own home?

Scoliosis Treatment at Home

ScolioGold treatment is a non-invasive, exercise-based alternative for patients who are suffering from scoliosis and other spinal problems. The therapy course is specifically tailored to the size and shape of the individual's curve, and it helps to:

  • Prevent further progression
  • Improve cosmetic appearance
  • Reduce pain
  • Give patients the opportunity to avoid spinal fusion surgery

The Scoliosis SOS Clinic is located in central London, and although patients do travel from all over the world to receive treatment here, we understand that it is not always possible for patients to travel to London.

In these cases, our staff will travel to you.

 

Home treatment with your ScolioGold therapist

Our highly-experienced therapists have travelled all over the world to treat patients in their own homes. The USA and East Asia are just two of the locations they have visited for this purpose.

Although we encourage our patients to attend the clinic where possible, intensive one-to-one treatment on location has proven to be just as successful. Our ScolioGold consultants give the patient a full medical assessment over the telephone to confirm their suitability, and a personalised course of treatment is prescribed.

If a patient decides that they would like to be treated in their own home, we then discuss suitable dates and make accommodation and travel arrangements. Patients are required to have some equipment sent to their home address in order to get the most out of their treatment.

 

Who is eligible for home treatment?

Treatment on location is available to patients of all ages as long as they are able to follow instructions and have enough mobility to get up off the floor unaided. Our therapists will travel to most countries to treat patients, and have also travelled to other parts of the United Kingdom to treat patients who were unable to travel to London.

ScolioGold treatment isn't just for patients with scoliosis and hyperkyphosis - it is also suitable for patients with postural problems, as well as for those who suffer from chronic back pain.

 

What level of treatment will be provided?

The amount of 1:1 treatment required will depend on the patient's age and the severity of their spinal curve. This will be discussed prior to booking. On-location treatment means that our therapists can work around your school/work commitments.

To discuss treatment options and arrange an initial telephone consultation, please contact us online or call 0207 488 4428.

Playing the violin with scoliosis

Standing for long periods and holding bulky musical instruments can cause problems for musicians with scoliosis.

Heavy instruments, such as the cello and the tuba, can be especially difficult to play (not to mention carry around!) if you suffer from back problems. Playing the violin, meanwhile, has a tendency to place asymmetrical stress on the muscles down one side of the spine.

But don't be alarmed - your scoliosis doesn't mean you have to give up your musical activities. Many people with scoliosis worry about having to give up the hobbies they enjoy, but here at Scoliosis SOS, we help patients to manage their symptoms and keep doing whatever they enjoy most. Your therapist will ensure that you are given adequate education in addition to your tailored exercise programme, and you should continue to see improvements even after you have left the clinic.

Book an Initial Consultation >

 

How ScolioGold therapy can help musicians

ScolioGold therapy is our own highly effective combination of non-invasive scoliosis treatment techniques. Among other things, this programme is designed to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine, bringing the patient into a more central upright position while also decreasing pain and preventing further progression.

We use a range of different methods to help our patients, including the Schroth technique, which has been used to successfully treat scoliosis patients for decades. Exercise and appropriate education gives our musically-inclined patients the tools and knowledge they need to manage their condition at home and avoid invasive operations that can rob them of the flexibility their instrument requires.

 

Case Study: Jasmine from Northwood

One of our patients, 12-year-old violinist Jasmine Turner, feared that she would have to give up music because of her scoliosis. Violinists often have to twist into awkward positions while playing, and Jasmine's rapidly-progressing spinal curve made this challenging.

However, following a four-week treatment course at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, she has managed to avoid spinal fusion surgery and get back to playing the violin. Read Jasmine's story at getwestlondon.co.uk.

If you're interested in attending a ScolioGold treatment course, please call us on +44 (0)207 488 4428 or contact us online.