Parents, What To Do When Your Kid’s Diagnosed With Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis [AIS]
Described as “too tall for her age”, 14-year-old Anna’s significantly jutting shoulder blade and dipping waist on one side made her more self-conscious and critical about her physical appearance. After a few visits to two doctors – the family’s physician and an orthopedist – the prognosis came out: Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis [AIS]. And though Anna looked devastated after hearing the diagnosis, Anna’s mother, Malene, was the picture of calm.
“We’ll get through this,” she comfortingly said to her daughter who clung to her.
Afterwards, however, Malene voiced out her inner panic. “My teenager has scoliosis. I don’t even know what that is beyond what the doctors told me about her spine curving. I just don’t know what to do!”
People living with scoliosis can find it hard and painful to do what ordinary people can. It is difficult for people to perform some physical activities due to the pain it can give. Scoliosis is distinguished by an S or C-shaped curve in the spinal cord. Some curves are broader compared to the others. It can be corrected through surgery in moderate or severe cases. However, there is a non-surgical way to cure this abnormality.
Our spinal cord is made up of many bones and discs, one on top of the other. A healthy backbone has a curve when viewed sideways. Our spine looks straight when viewed from the back that determines a healthy bone structure.
According to statistics, scoliosis affects around 2-3 percent of the general population that is approximately six to nine million people in the US. Scoliosis is usually diagnosed in childhood or adolescence period. It is equally occurring in both genders; however, females are eight times most likely to develop a curve magnitude that requires treatment. On a yearly average, patients with scoliosis make more 600,000 visits to private physician clinics, a rough estimate of 30,000 children are fitted with postural braces and 38,000 patients undergone spinal fusion surgery. Studies also show that scoliosis in adult can be costly and limits the quality of life. Experts say that scoliosis in the adult has a similar impact than that of coronary artery disease, osteoarthritis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and posts a burden on the health-related quality of life.
What is something you don’t notice until someone points it out? That’s right; it’s Scoliosis. And aside from its irregular spinal form, a person having this may experience occasional pain due to the weak lumbar region.
Not everyone knows what it’s like to have Scoliosis. Having that abnormal spinal curve can make sleeping, let alone being comfortable, difficult. So how should you rest? Here are the best resting positions that can help soothe it.
Often described as a curve that looks like a “C” or an “S,” Scoliosis is a condition wherein a person’s backbone curves to the side. Typically, the spine runs straight down the middle, but it doesn’t apply to everyone. According to doctors, anything that measures more than 10 degrees is already Scoliosis; so, whether the curve is small or large, you should get it checked out.
Comfortably sleeping is a problem people with Scoliosis know all too well. Some consider it a “nightmare,” because it causes unwelcome body pain. It doesn’t matter if you are sporting a brace, it hurts just as bad.
If you haven’t got the chance to visit your doctor yet, don’t worry! Here are the resting and sleeping positions guaranteed to be pain-free:
ON YOUR BACKS. READY, SET, SLEEP!
The irony of this style is you are sleeping on your back, but you are also taking the pressure off of it. Sleep on your back with a towel, or thin pillow tucked underneath your shoulder blades. As you rest in this position, your head is also lying on a standard pillow. Sleeping on your back is considered the healthiest sleeping position. It prevents neck and back pain, reduces acid reflux, and minimizes wrinkles.
A favorite resting position by anyone (not just those with Scoliosis). As you sleep on your side, get a body pillow and tuck it between your legs. Tucking the pillow helps open up the spinal canal. You may also place a rolled-up towel or pillow under your upper rib cage. Sleeping on your side helps reduce snoring and acid reflux, and maintain regular blood flow, especially for the pregnant mommies.
It is important to remember that SLEEPING ON YOUR BELLY is a DEFINITE NO-NO. It is the worst position for those with Scoliosis because it causes the thoracic spine to become relatively flatter. It may even be a cause of worst symptoms! Sleeping in this position also twist your spine, as it requires you to turn your head (while your body is flat on the bed) to the side.
Other Tips for a Restful Night’s Sleep
In addition to these proper and comfortable sleeping positions, you can also be a bit more extra by doing the following:
Invest in a good quality mattress. Having a quality mattress makes everything easier. Sleep is essential, but so is the bed you lie on. Allot time finding out which mattress feel more comfortable for your back. Getting the help of experts from different mattress stores is the way to go.
Seek the help of a chiropractor. While this isn’t exactly the right option for everyone with Scoliosis, it still works for some. Make sure to research a lot of the risks, benefits, and advantages before getting chiropractic care to restore the optimal spinal function.
Finally, other individuals with scoliosis have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep. A good recommendation for this is to consult a mental health professional to know the options available for them. Read the BetterHelp article to help you assess more about how can professionals help.
“Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” — Jon Kabat Zinn.
We all have worries about the small and big things of life that we cannot escape. For some of the unfortunate, it is growing up homeless, and good thing there are agencies such as this that help make it easier for the homeless child. Unable to control these worries leads to anxiety and stress that affects our mental health. If you are confused, BetterHelp can explain more about it for you.
With the high availability of counseling and therapy, every second person who suffers from anxiety prefer going for a Talk Therapy, Counselling or pharmacotherapy. We pay less heed to how we can contribute to reducing the worries.
How can we help ourselves?
Psychologists believe that most of our worries and griefs lie either in the past or is related to the future. Being mindful is being fully present in the ‘here and now’ and experience without any judgment.Have you ever tried doing this?
Exploring the mindful ways of reducing depression and anxiety
There are different mindful exercises that can be done to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress. Though not all apply to all individuals, most of these truly help. While some are regulated by breathing, others are just by using all the sensory channels to be aware. Let us discuss the ways mindfulness can help us have a healthy mind.
Mindful Breathing – Mindful exercise should be initiated with breathing. You can count your breaths. Slow breathing by counting 5 and exhale by counting 7. This can be done at any time of the day for as long you want. Notice how your chest rises and falls with each inhale and exhale and feel the changes in yourself as you breathe. Focus on your breathing and nothing else around. Elizabeth S. York, M.Ed., LPC, LMFT once said, “A client once taught me an invaluable technique for reducing stress. Taking a slow deep breath”
The STOP method – This is an acronym for a step-by-step mindfulness practice.
S (Stop) – Stop yourself whenever you feel you are worrying too much. Be aware of your thoughts and know when to draw the line. According to clinical psychologist Danielle Forshee, Psy.D. “those who worry — meaning everybody — can control the intensity and duration of their worry thoughts.”
T (Take a break) – Take out some time for yourself where you can do or think about things that make you happy. It is a time-out from sadness and worries.
O (Observe) – Observe the small things that we often overlook when our mind is preoccupied with negative thoughts. Observe yourself as you do the everyday works and notice how you feel as you do them.
P (Proceed) – Do not hold yourself back with the worries. Focus on what you have and bring your attention on what you are doing ‘now’.
Musical Mindfulness – Choose your favorite music (preferably slow ones) and play them at a moderate volume while you just sit back and relax. Listen to the music with all your attention and let your mind wander for a while. It has a soothing effect and lets us forget our worries. Practice it as often you want for 15-20 minutes and notice how your mood changes after that.
Mindful Appreciation – We are often so busy worrying about the bigger things that we often fail to be thankful for the small things we have. For example, have you ever thanked your postman who brings you important mails everyday? Or have you ever thanked the man at the coffee bar who is always ready for serving you? Noticing these small things around and appreciating them help in seeing the goodness around. “Putting things in perspective and treating yourself with love and compassion can be such a gift.” Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT said.
The 7 steps to happiness
Smile as often as you can.
Listen to others patiently.
Judge less and accept more.
Give love and respect to others.
Mindfulness is not a remedy – it is an assurance that we can give ourselves and prevent any external force from de-motivating us. It is the re-invention of our hidden strengths and is the way to let the light into our lives. It is merely a choice we need to consider in our lives.
So start training your mind to be able to see the good in everything and establish a connection with the present.
Being diagnosed with scoliosis, a disease which affects the spinal-cord and can have lasting effects, is a scary ordeal for anyone. If your child, or adolescent, suffers from scoliosis, it’s important for you to handle the situation with care, and be completely supportive. As a parent, you should read-up on the disease and familiarize yourself with its symptoms, treatments, side-effects and severity. There are many important decisions you’ll have to make regarding your child’s health, so don’t be afraid to ask around for advice before deciding what to do.
A large number of cases of scoliosis, a spinal-disease which affects around 3 percent of the population, are mild and cause no significant harm. However, in cases where the spinal-curve is bent dangerously, the situation can worsen significantly over time. This can lead to numerous health problems.
The most troublesome part of scoliosis is the alarming rate at which it damages the spine. More often than not, treatments carried out by doctors struggle to prevent the disease from escalating. As the spinal curve becomes more prominent, the patient’s symptoms become worse. In extreme cases, the patient can even be subject to an early death. Here are some of the long-term effects which scoliosis patients have to face.
The spinal curvature caused by scoliosis causes a number of problems for the patient suffering from the disease. While a large majority of scoliosis cases are minor, patients which suffer from a more advanced form of the disease may need to take extreme measures. Over the years, people have adopted different approaches towards treating the illness and its symptoms. Such methods involve medication, surgery, and even natural methods. If you or someone you know is suffering from scoliosis, then it’s best to be familiar with the different treatment options available and their possible side-effects, before making an informed decision. Here are some of the most commonly used treatments.
Scoliosis is a disease which expands rapidly. The illness is quick to damage the spine, and the spinal curvature can continue to increase at an alarming rate. Scoliosis curves can rarely be corrected except by surgery, which is a daunting option for some. However, bracing has proven to stop the progression of the curvature. Bracing is the invasive coating of the spinal cord, which holds the spine in a fixed position. In this treatment, corrective forces are used to apply pressure on the outer part of the curve, as well as to lessen load on the inner curve. This can prevent the patient’s condition from worsening, albeit the brace may make life uncomfortable for the person. Some victims find it difficult to sleep with the brace, and further experience some restrictions in their mobility.
Research has shown that some advanced exercise techniques, such as certain forms of yoga, can improve the condition of scoliosis patients. Basic exercises, such as stretching techniques, act as temporarily pain-relievers for people suffering from the disease. However, these exercises don’t provide long-term relief. Fortunately, there are advanced exercises which aim to correct the interaction between the brain and spinal curve, prompting the curve to assume its proper shape. This can be accomplished through a series of poses and exercises which govern the patient’s body’s response to certain stimuli, which ‘trains’ the spine to grow properly. It’s best to consult an expert, and take advice from your physician, before attempting such exercises. This is because certain exercises could further degenerate the spine, and thus a professional opinion is necessary.
Spinal injections are a temporary treatment for scoliosis patients. The disease tends to pressurize the victim’s nerves, which causes the patient pain and sometimes even numbness. To counter this, people suffering from the disease can opt for steroid injections to provide temporarily relief. Local anaesthesia can also be administered to reduce the pain. However, the comfort offered by these injections is not long-term, and the effects will wear off after a couple of months.
The last resort and most extreme method for treating scoliosis is surgery. The reason surgery is put off until no other options remain is simply because it is a high-risk treatment. If the surgery isn’t successful, patients can suffer nerve-damage, chronic pain and infection. Sometimes, the victim may even face permanent disability if the surgery goes terribly wrong. Thus, patients are advised only to proceed with surgery if their scoliosis becomes life-threatening.
There are 3 main types of surgery to treat the disease; fusion, fusionless, and growing systems. Fusion surgery is the most effective method of surgery. It involves the spinal fusion of two or more adjacent vertebrae, which forms a single-bone that can no longer move. Modern advances have led to the use of tools such as rods, hooks and sometimes even wires, which have increased the efficiency of the surgery and the patient’s recovery time. A drawback to fusion surgery is that it limits the patient’s spine mobility. However, it has a history of successfully treating scoliosis.
Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine is curved sideways, either to the right or the left side. Any curvature in the spine that measure more than 10 degrees can be considered as scoliosis. The curved are also described often as S-shaped or C-shaped. It can be in any part of the spine but the chest area of the lower back region is the most common. Scoliosis in these regions are known as thoracic scoliosis and lumbar scoliosis, respectively.
For most people, the cause for scoliosis cannot be identified. For many the curve might also correct itself as they grow older. However, proper treatment involving physical therapy and a nutritional diet is important.
The Relationship Between Nutrition And Scoliosis
Scoliosis can be considered a condition which is genetic neuromuscular, where the brain may be failing to send messages to the muscles regarding the non-alignment of body posture. This can be due to several environmental factors including poor nutrition, which can trigger the progression of scoliosis.
What To Eat?
It is important to eliminate inflammatory-causing or oily junk food from your diet and take the necessary supplements for regaining lost nutrients. Below are a few intakes you require for correcting these mineral deficiencies.
A good intake of calcium between 1200 to 1500mg every day is imperative. In addition to taking calcium supplements, one must also consume food items that contain calcium. It is important for giving strength to the bones, which may be lacking in people suffering from scoliosis. However, make sure that any source of calcium that you are consuming does not have high levels of saturated fat in it as well.
You can eat eggs, fish and cereal for vitamin D. It helps the body in absorbing calcium and increasing bone density. Vitamin D is also great for supporting important neurological functions and improving metabolism.
Collagenics is a combination of free-form amino acids and other vital minerals. By taking a dose of it, one can improve the growth of healthy connective tissues, which are important for postural strength.
People with scoliosis must also take Vitamin E, in addition to calcium and Vitamin D. One can find loads of vitamin E sources in every supermarket in the form of walnuts, hazelnuts, olive oil, mayonnaise, sunflower seeds and many more. It helps in developing muscle strength and is great for people who have scoliosis.
What Not To Eat?
It is best to avoid oily fried food items. This includes fast food meals that we eat on a daily basis. Something that is home cooked and less greasy must be eaten instead.
Food items that contain excessive amounts of salt not be part of the diet of those having scoliosis.
Packaged luncheon meats are also not good for scoliosis. They contain preservatives which are not good for the human body.
Alcohol and other fizzy drinks must also be avoided.
A Few Nutrition Tips To Follow
Those suffering for scoliosis can still enjoy their food by making a few simple changes in their meals and substituting unhealthy items with healthy ones.
If you are craving chocolate, it is better that you consume dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, in small amounts. Dark chocolate is healthier for you.
Also herbal tea must be preferred to coffee or other kinds of caffeinated tea.
Instead of eating unhealthy junk food, use fresh fruits and green vegetables for snacks or meal siders.
Drinking loads of water instead of soda and alcoholic beverages is also a great idea.