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Scoliosis Facts, Risk Factors

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Although it is likely you have heard of this medical condition and understand it has to do with the curvature of your spine, there is much more to scoliosis than meets the eye. For instance, did you know that scoliosis affects approximately seven million people in the United States? Or, did you know 2 to 3 percent of Americans have it by the time they are 16 years old?

As you grow, your spine naturally forms with slight curves at the head and tail, but a typical healthy spine should represent a straight line. However, a spine with scoliosis has a prominent “S” or “C” shape curve.

Risk factors for scoliosis comes in four classifications: congenital, idiopathic, degenerative and neuromuscular. So, who does this put at risk?

Signs of scoliosis from birth is referred to as congenital. This vertebral abnormality is quite prevalent genetically, so it is not surprising if your child is born with it, when you or a family member had or has scoliosis.

Idiopathic is used when referring to scoliosis in infants, juveniles, adolescents or adults. You can also classify the condition as idiopathic if the cause of scoliosis is unknown, which can be the case more often than not. Scoliosis most commonly strikes female juveniles and adolescents during growth spurts. Fortunately, more times than not, the child will grow out of it. I am a perfect example.

To add to my long list of medical conditions (as writing all these articles has so rudely pointed out) I had an idiopathic case of scoliosis. It was detected at an annual physical exam when I was in middle school, I was about age 12. I was sent to a back doctor, where I was examined up, down, left and right. The final conclusion was a prolific combination of weird things: bad posture, Brown’s syndrome and my right leg longer than the left. In other words, I was a lop-sided hormonal pre-teen with bad posture. Try explaining that to a 12 year old girl with braces and bad hair!

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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