I was taught Scoliosis is a problem for adolescents. I know, and you know adolescents grow up to become adults, and there are tons of adults with scoliosis, but is it a problem for them?
REASON 1: 4 TIMES MORE ADULTS HAVE SCOLIOSIS THAN ADOLESCENTS
Adolescents with Scoliosis account for only about 3% of the population, but when we look at the demographics of scoliosis in adulthood scoliosis affects somewhere between 7%-9% of the population.
Hmm? The numbers don’t add up.
It seems that some adults, in fact the majority of those adults who have scoliosis, developed in adulthood. Demographic studies confirm you are 3 times more likely to develop scoliosis in adulthood than in adolescence! Whaaat! In fact, in some published studies report 1/3 of people over the age of 65 will develop scoliosis secondary to things like osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, and arthritis.
When you add on the adolescent group that grew up to be adults, scoliosis in adulthood is 4 times more prevalent than scoliosis in adolescence.
REASON 2: SCOLIOSIS PATIENTS SUFFER MORE THAN PEOPLE WITH OTHER HEALTH CONDITIONS
The mere fact that more adults have scoliosis than adolescents may be eye opening to you, but it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if people are living well with it.
The studies show adults with scoliosis report some of the lowest Quality of Life Scores when compared to patients with other known health conditions, they even score lower than patients suffering with Clinical Depression.
Nearly 9 million adults are currently suffering with the effects of scoliosis, many of them without a clear understanding that their suffering is related to scoliosis.
REASON 3: SCOLIOSIS SURGERY RATES ARE ON THE RISE
A study published in the European Spine Journal in October of 2017 reported 14 consecutive years of increases in the incidence of scoliosis surgery.
I’m not surprised that surgeons recommend surgery, but I am concerned over the ever increasing rates of scoliosis surgery.
When they recommend surgery based on a two line measurement on x-ray, NO consideration is give as to the nature of the curvature, if its flexible, if its secondary to a short leg, if its complicated by bone loss, or neurological influence, etc, etc, etc. This is dangerous because too many people get lumped into the surgical recommendation with this approach, many, many people have successfully lived with 45 degree curvatures, who have not experienced lifelong progression, therefore the current criteria for surgical recommendation is overreaching and insufficient.
In a study published in May 2011, researchers reported a 34.4% major complication rate following adult revision scoliosis surgery (cho 2011). This was a retrospective cohort comparative study which means the researchers reviewed actual adult scoliosis surgery outcomes at two major University hospitals; Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Washington University Center for Orthopedic Surgery.
Revision surgery is done usually following a failed back surgery or as a result of the effects of aging on a spinal deformity.
Of the 166 patients reviewed, 107 were diagnosed with “Denovo Scoliosis”, meaning they developed scoliosis in adulthood, matching the statistics I quoted initially.
We pride ourselves on offering EVIDENCED BASED care for adults with scoliosis. We are certain the majority of the 9 million adults with scoliosis can and ARE living their best life without surgery. Even those who have had surgery are in need of ongoing scoliosis specific healthcare.
I consider myself a guide for those who are seeking truth in the Scoliosis healthcare space. If you are on a journey and our paths cross, you can count on me to shine light whenever I can.
We are proud to be partners with Scoliosis Systems as a local provider for their bracing system in Denver, Colorado