If you've been reading about scoliosis - perhaps here on the Scoliosis SOS blog, perhaps elsewhere - you may now find yourself wondering if there's a way to prevent your own spine from curving; anything you can do to reduce your own chance of developing this condition and the many symptoms that tend to accompany it.
That's the question we'd like to address today: is it possible to prevent scoliosis?
No, scoliosis cannot generally be prevented...
It is not currently possible to prevent the onset of scoliosis. Most cases of scoliosis (around 80%) are idiopathic, which means that the cause is not known. Idiopathic scoliosis usually develops during puberty, so if your teenage or pre-teen child has recently been diagnosed with scoliosis, there's a good chance it's idiopathic. Since the cause of the curvature is unknown in these cases, it cannot be anticipated and no preventative action can be taken.
Scoliosis can also occur as a symptom of numerous other conditions, including:
Some of these underlying conditions can sometimes be prevented - for instance, exercise and a diet rich in vitamin D and calcium can help to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis - but others are passed on genetically, making it difficult to prevent these conditions and the spinal curvatures that they often cause.
If you're researching the subject online, you may come across some common myths related to scoliosis prevention. One particularly persistent myth is that bad posture can cause scoliosis. We debunked this myth in a previous blog post; although bad posture can adversely affect your overall health in a number of ways, it cannot lead to a sideways curvature of the spine. Likewise, carrying a heavy backpack has never been clinically proven to cause scoliosis, yet this is another commonly-quoted myth.
So just to be clear: scoliosis cannot be prevented by sitting up straight or carrying fewer books!
...but it can be treated!
Though there is no effective way to prevent scoliosis entirely, it is possible to slow, halt, and even reverse the progression of the curvature before it starts to cause other health issues. Bracing, for instance, is a method that doctors frequently use to halt the progression of scoliosis in young people who are still growing.
Physical therapy is also a proven method of slowing the progression of scoliosis. Treatment regimes such as our own ScolioGold method work to retrain the muscles in your back through a diverse course of stretches and techniques to help improve flexibility and strength in the back. Of course, surgery is another commonly-used scoliosis treatment method, but many scoliosis sufferers would understandably prefer to avoid this route!
To find out how the Scoliosis SOS Clinic can help with your scoliosis symptoms, please contact us today to arrange a consultation.