- a sideways curvature of the spine - has been observed in human beings since the days of Ancient Greece (and probably much earlier). It has affected many notable people, and much has been written about it, although many aspects of the condition remain mysterious even today.
If you've been diagnosed with scoliosis and you're eager to learn more about the condition, here are 10 interesting facts for you to memorise and share with friends and family:
- The word 'scoliosis' is derived from the Ancient Greek word σκολίωσις (skoliosis), which literally meant 'a bend' or 'a twisting'.
- The first notable person to treat and write about scoliosis was Hippocrates, the Greek physician who is often referred to as 'the father of modern medicine'. He coined the name 'scoliosis', and he treated curved spines with extensions and stretches, performed using devices like the Hippocratic board, the Hippocratic ladder, and the Hippocratic bench.
- Many depictions of Alexander the Great show him looking up at an angle, as if he had a twisted spine. This has led some to theorise that Alexander - one of history's most prolific conquerors - may have suffered from scoliosis or a similar spinal curvature.
- Richard III, who was King of England from 1483 to 1485, famously had scoliosis, although modern imaging techniques suggest that Richard's condition was mild enough to be disguised with the right clothing.
- Scoliosis is significantly more common in females than in males. Adolescent females may be up to 10 times more likely to develop idiopathic scoliosis than their male peers.
- Usain Bolt has scoliosis - the Olympic gold medallist has said that the condition hampered his early career, but it obviously hasn't stopped him from succeeding more recently! Click here for more famous scoliosis sufferers.
- It's estimated that scoliosis affects roughly 3% of the population - that's well over 200 million people worldwide.
- Animals can suffer from scoliosis. The condition has been found to exist in dogs, cats, horses, fish, and a number of other creatures; interestingly, though, it has not been observed in chimpanzees or gorillas, in spite of the fact that both are members of the same taxonomic family as humans (Hominidae).
- Severe scoliosis may be treated using a surgical technique known as spinal fusion. This operation dates back to the 1900s, and notable people who have undergone spinal fusion surgery include Princess Eugenie, actress Elizabeth Taylor, Chinese-American cellist Yo Yo Ma, and actress/singer Vanessa Williams.
- A lot of exciting scoliosis research is currently being carried out using zebrafish as test subjects. In 2016 alone, zebrafish experiments linked the development of idiopathic scoliosis both to a specific gene and to the flow of fluid in the spinal column - both of these findings could have huge implications for scoliosis treatment in the future.
The Scoliosis SOS Clinic is located in London, England, and is an internationally-renowned provider of non-surgical treatment for scoliosis and other spinal conditions. Click here for more information, or contact Scoliosis SOS to arrange a consultation today.