World Scoliosis Awareness Day
Scoliosis may bend the spine,
but it cannot break the spirit.
World scoliosis awareness day is celebrated annually on the last Saturday of every June. It serves as a platform for individuals affected by scoliosis and their loved ones to unite and raise awareness. During international scoliosis awareness day, people around the globe join forces to share their personal experiences, shed light on life with a curved spine, and educate others about the realities of living with scoliosis.
Scoliosis is a relatively common condition, impacting approximately 3% of the population. Women are affected by scoliosis about four times more often than men. However, the exact cause of scoliosis in most cases remains uncertain. It is believed to arise from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. In certain instances, scoliosis can be associated with other conditions like muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy.
History Of World Scoliosis Day
Ancient Greeks documented scoliosis in 400 B.C. The first brace was invented in 650 A.D. In 1575, a metal brace was created. The first surgical procedure was attempted in the 18th century. Katharina Schroth devised an effective exercise for treating scoliosis in 1921. In the 1950s, surgeon Paul Harrington developed the Harrington rod to surgically address the curvature of the spine, especially in younger patients. In the mid-1980s, Cotrel and Dubousset designed a double rod which is more effective than the Harrington rod.
- Emphasize early detection and promote the effectiveness of bracing as an early, non-operative treatment for scoliosis.
- Encourage every state, district, and commonwealth to officially declare their observance of World scoliosis awareness month in June through proclamations.
- Focus on increasing public awareness of scoliosis and related spinal conditions by conducting educational and advocacy campaigns, local activities, and community events throughout June and the rest of the year.
- Foster a collaborative partnership among scoliosis patients, families, physicians, and clinicians to advocate for patient care, screening, privacy, and protection.
- Establish networks of community collaborations and alliances to ensure the sustainability and growth of the campaign about world scoliosis awareness day.
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is characterized by a sideways curvature of the spine, which can lead to various symptoms, including pain, decreased flexibility, muscular imbalances, and in severe cases, breathing difficulties. It commonly affects children and adolescents but can also occur in adults. The severity of a condition is determined by the Cobb angle measurement, with higher angles indicating a larger and more severe unnatural curve which is classified as,
- Mild scoliosis: Cobb angle measurement ranging from 10 to 25 degrees.
- Moderate scoliosis: Cobb angle measurement ranging from 25 to 40 degrees.
- Severe scoliosis: Cobb angle measurement of 40 degrees or more.
- Very-severe scoliosis: Cobb angle measurement of 80 degrees or more.
How To Diagnose?
The best view comes after the hardest climb.
Scoliosis is diagnosed through physical examination and imaging tests like X-rays, spinal radiographs, C.T. scans, or MRIs. The Cobb Method measures the degree of curvature, with a positive diagnosis requiring a coronal curvature of over 10 degrees. Significant scoliosis is typically defined as curves greater than 25 to 30 degrees, while severe cases exceed 45 to 50 degrees and may necessitate more intensive treatment. The Adam's Forward Bend test is a simple screening exam to detect trunk asymmetry and abnormal spinal curvatures. Radiographic tests are needed for an accurate diagnosis.
- X-ray: Radiation creates images of the body, revealing the structure of vertebrae and joint outlines. It helps identify potential causes of pain, such as infections, fractures, and deformities.
- Computed tomography scan (C.T. or CAT scan): X-rays are processed by a computer to create detailed images of the spinal canal, its contents, and surrounding structures. It is particularly effective in visualizing bone structures.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Powerful magnets and computer technology produce three-dimensional images of body structures, including the spinal cord, nerve roots, and surrounding areas. It detects conditions like enlargement, degeneration, and deformities.
Five Stretches And Exercises
Exercises for scoliosis depend on the curve's location. Lumbar scoliosis targets the lower back, while thoracic scoliosis focuses on the upper back and thoracic spine. Specialized exercise programs such as Schroth, ScoliSMART, and CLEAR have improved posture, slowed the progression of scoliosis, and reduced curvature.
Pelvic tilt exercise: To stretch tight muscles in the hips and lower back, a pelvic tilt exercise can be performed as follows,
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your abdominal muscles tightened and flatten your back towards the floor.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds while maintaining normal breathing.
- Release and relax.
- Repeat for 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
Arm And Leg Raise: To strengthen the lower back, arm and leg raises can be performed with the following steps,
- Lie down with your forehead resting on the ground.
- Extend the arms straight over the head, placing the palms or fists on the ground. Keep the legs straight.
- Lift both the arms and legs off the ground simultaneously.
- Hold this position for a complete breath, then lower the arms and legs back down.
- Aim to complete 15 repetitions of this exercise.
Cat-Cow pose: The Cat-Cow pose is a beneficial yoga pose for maintaining a flexible and pain-free spine. To perform the Cat-Cow pose,
- Start on your hands and knees, ensuring a level back and a comfortable position for your head and neck.
- Inhale deeply, engaging your abdominal muscles by drawing them in and upward, creating an arched back.
- Exhale while releasing the abdominal muscles, dropping your back, relaxing your belly, and lifting your head towards the ceiling.
- Repeat this sequence for 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
Bird-dog exercise: This exercise, inspired by yoga, is performed as follows,
- Start on hands and knees with a straight back.
- Position hands directly under shoulders and knees under hips.
- Extend one arm straight out in front and the opposite leg straight back.
- Maintain normal breathing and hold this position for 5 seconds.
- Repeat the action with the opposite arm and leg.
- Aim to complete 10-15 repetitions on each side.
Latissimus Dorsi: Thoracic scoliosis primarily affects specific muscles, while the latissimus dorsi can become tight in cases of lumbar scoliosis. To perform this stretch,
- Stand with proper posture in a neutral position.
- Keep the feet shoulder-width apart with slightly bent knees.
- Reach over your head with both hands and grasp the right wrist with the left hand.
- Gently bend towards the right side until you feel a stretch in the left side of your body.
- Hold the stretch for one to two breaths, then slowly pull with the left hand to return to the original position.
- Repeat the stretch on the opposite side.
- Aim to complete 5-10 repetitions on each side.
Precaution To Be Followed
- Avoid looking down at your phone.
- Do not walk for long periods while carrying weight in one hand.
- Use supportive mattresses and pillows.
- Choose proper backpacks.
- Engage in exercise, physical therapy, and yoga to strengthen your spine.
You are stronger than you think!
On this world scoliosis awareness day 2023, let's promote scoliosis awareness to every individual about the importance of early detection, proper management, and improved quality of life for individuals with this condition. Also, this awareness will enable them to embrace their unique journey toward spinal health and lead fulfilling lives. Wearing green ribbons lets together make an effort to make a difference in the lives of those affected by scoliosis.