“If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.” – Aristotle
Scoliosis affects between 2% and 3% of the world’s population. That may sound like a small number at first, but when you realize that between 140,000,000 and 210,000,000 people suffer from it, you understand that scoliosis is nothing to take easy.
While most people are aware of it, a huge number of people don’t seem to understand it completely. And that’s why we’re here today. We’re going to go over the history of scoliosis, it’s present, and see what the future holds for the treatment of the disease.
Without further ado, let’s see when we first became aware of scoliosis.
Scoliosis in the Past
We’ve known for scoliosis for a lot longer than people think. Even though the condition still hasn’t been cured, we’ve known about it for at least two-and-a-half millennia. Ancient Greeks were the first people to discover it. Here’s a short overview of important historical events regarding scoliosis.
1. Ancient Greece
The condition was well-documented by ancient Greek scholars. For instance, Hippocrates had written extensively about the curvature of the spine and various conditions that affect it. Modern scholars tend to agree that there are no drastic differences between his descriptions and our modern understanding of scoliosis. He even developed numerous treatments for scoliosis, which became popular at the time.
2. Cobb Angle Measurement
There were many proposed solutions for the diagnosis and treatment of scoliosis throughout the centuries. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that we saw our first breakthrough. In the early 1930s, J. R. Cobb, an American surgeon, came up with a scoliosis-measurement system that is used to this day. He was the first modern medical professional that worked on better understanding the medical condition and making an effort to avoid unnecessary surgery.
3. Ambroise Paré
In the early 1970s, Ambroise Paré found out that in order to stop the progression of scoliosis, a brace can be used to properly position the spine and give the child proper posture. The concept of bracing had been around for a long time, however, Paré was the first to suggest continuous bracing until the spine is straightened out or until the child reached a certain age and stopped developing.
Scoliosis in the Present
Most parents nowadays tend to ask what they could’ve done to prevent scoliosis. Some blame heavy backpacks, others blame bad posture. However, we still don’t know much about what causes scoliosis. Here are a few things we do know.
1. Genetics Connection
Although a huge number of scoliosis cases don’t have a known cause, doctors are sure that your genetics plays a huge part in the process. As much as 20% of scoliosis patients have someone in their family with the same problem. Even though this information doesn’t help us too much with the treatment, it can help us in the future to improve scoliosis prevention.
2. Scoliosis Treatment
Scoliosis treatment seems a huge ordeal to many parents. Most imagine it to be prolonged and painful for the child. But there some things you should know about scoliosis treatment:
As you can see, the vast majority of cases don’t require too much medical attention. Even children that end up with a brace can live normal lives attend school, play with friends, and participate in sports.
3. Surgery as a Last Resort
Like we mentioned above, only a handful of patients need to undergo surgery. A doctor will only recommend surgery if the child’s back doesn’t show any signs of progress after wearing a back brace for a prolonged period. Thankfully, a large percentage of surgeries has had a positive outcome.
Scoliosis in the Future
Many things we know about scoliosis contradict one another. It’s a complicated condition and it’s a real possibility that we’ll have to wait for decades until we come to a breakthrough in its treatment. But here are a few things that can have a huge impact on the future of scoliosis treatment.
1. Treating it as Condition
All of the 28 genetic variant scoliosis groups have been known to scientists for the last few decades. The good news is, we now have developed treatments for all 28 variants. In the past, scoliosis was mainly treated in the context of the spinal curve, but more and more doctors are viewing it as a condition. There are other signs of scoliosis, other than the development of the spinal curvature.
2. Early Stage Intervention
The sooner scoliosis is discovered, the sooner it can be treated. That’s simple common sense, right? But early intervention can be dangerous for some children, especially toddlers. For that reason, medical specialists are now working on developing non-invasive interventions, which can be performed at the early stages of the condition. With early-stage tests and interventions, scoliosis can be prevented altogether.
3. Genetic Testing
Speaking of testing, as we said earlier, we’re sure that a huge number of scoliosis patients have relatives that suffer from it as well. Medical professionals are now working on developing early-sign DNA tests that will show which child is likely to develop the condition at a certain point in their life. Early tests are available now, however, they still require some tweaks, plus they cost more than 3,000 dollars apiece.
Seek Out Scoliosis Treatment
Scoliosis is a rather serious condition. In most cases, if not treated, it can make one’s life a living nightmare. In extreme cases, while rare, it can even be deadly. Seek treatment as soon as possible, if you or anyone close to you shows any early signs of scoliosis. More often than not, scoliosis can be treated with a simple orthopaedic back brace. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
We hope you found our article informative. What’s your experience with scoliosis? Do you know anyone that suffers from the condition? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.