Why do I have Scoliosis?

Research examining the correlation of family members and scoliosis are a great way to examine the genetics of scoliosis.

  • Extended Family (including uncles aunts and cousins)
    65% of the time there is another family member with the same curve and side.

    Concordance for curve type in familial idiopathic scoliosis: a survey of one hundred families., Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2010 Aug 1;35(17):1602-6.

  • % of Twins with Similar Scoliosis (Same Side and Curve Affected)
    Identical – 73%
    Fraternal – 36%

    Scoliosis in twins. A meta-analysis of the literature and report of six cases., Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1997 Sep 1;22(17):2009-14

What is Hypermobility?

Hypermobility describes joints that stretch further than normal or are extra flexible.

Hypermobility is prevalent almost 2x’s as often in girls with scoliosis than those without scoliosis.

For example, some hypermobile people can bend their thumbs backwards to their wrists, bend their knee joints backwards, put their leg behind the head or perform other contortionist “tricks”.

Take a 1 minute test to determine your hypermobility.

Generalised Joint Hypermobility in Caucasian Girls with Idiopathic Scoliosis: Relation with Age, Curve Size, and Curve Pattern, ScientificWorldJournal. 2014 Jan 16;2014:370134

What about sports and scoliosis?
Sports that emphasize flexibility and axial loading have higher proportion of scoliosis including ballet and rhythmic gymnastics.

  • Ballet Dancers
    Thirty percent of dancers tested positive for scoliosis compared with 3% of nondancers. Odds ratio calculations suggest that dancers were 12.4 times more likely to have scoliosis than nondancers of the same age.
    (Longworth, et al., Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Sep;95(9):1725-30)
  • Rhythmic Gymnasts
    A 10-fold higher incidence of scoliosis was found in rhythmic gymnastic trainees (12%) than in their normal coevals (1.1%). Delay in menarche and generalized joint laxity are common in rhythmic gymnastic trainees. The authors observed a significant physical loading with the persistently repeated asymmetric stress on the growing spine associated with the nature of rhythmic gymnastics.
    (Tanchev et al., Spine: 1 June 2000 – Volume 25 – Issue 11. pp 1367-1372)

Bracing was found to In the 2013 publication of the BRAIST Trial comparing bracing vs. non-bracing in adolescent scoliosis concluded the following, “… bracing significantly decreased the progression of high-risk curves to the threshold for surgery in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Longer hours of brace wear were associated with greater benefit.”

Effects of Bracing in Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis., N Engl J Med 2013; 369:1512-1521., October 17, 2013

New England Journal of Medicine

Studies have just begun to compare brace styles to one another. John Hopkins University “In this large retrospective review of an academic outpatient scoliosis practice, patients treated with RCOs were substantially less likely to progress to spinal surgery than those treated with Boston-style TLSOs.

Effectiveness of the Rigo Chêneau versus Boston-style orthoses for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: a retrospective study., Scoliosis and Spinal Disorders 2017 12:7., 20 March 2017

Johns Hopkins Medicine

From the BRAIST Trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine – “Bracing significantly decreased the progression of high-risk curves to the threshold for surgery in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The benefit increased with longer hours of brace wear.”

If you’ve got a brace now, wear it as often as prescribed and as snug as is comfortable. If you’ve been diagnosed and are seeking a brace, find a dedicated scoliosis brace maker (Orthotist) to make you one that provides for both comfort and correction.

The New England Journal of Medicine

During Highest Skeletal Growth

Girls: Between 10-14 Years Old
Boys: Between 12-16 Years Old

Small Curves (~10°) are Equal
Severe Curves (>30°) 10 Girls for Every 1 Boy

Dangerous Triad