After winning the 2018 Super Bowl Philadelphia is known as ‘The City of Champions and Underdogs’. It is the birthplace of the underdog boxer, Rocky Balboa, and the home of the current Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. It is also the birthplace of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where fighters are born and challenged every single day.
I was one of those fighters and I was fighting scoliosis.
According to www.scoliosisrehabilitationcenter.com, “173,000 people are diagnosed with scoliosis every year” (2018, ST&RC) and most of those diagnosed are children. I was diagnosed when I was 11 years old. But before I get into details, what is scoliosis? How is it caused? And why do we need to know about it?
Scoliosis is a medical condition that causes the spinal vertebrae to curve. It is caused by genetics, arthritis, or it may not have a known cause at all, in which case, this is known as idiopathic scoliosis. “Spinal deformity in children and adolescents accounts for the largest share (48%) of all musculoskeletal deformity health care visits – over 857,280 each year” (HCUP-AHRQ 2011) (2018 CLEAR) and this number continues to grow along with the population. But is scoliosis a serious medical condition? Yes, it is and it must be taken seriously.
Scoliosis severity is measured on 3 levels according to CLEAR Scoliosis Institute:
·Mild- Curvature is 20 degrees or less
·Moderate- Curvature is 20-40 degrees
·Severe- Curvature is above 40 degrees
I had 2 curves in my spine.
One curvature was 65 degrees which caused my rib cage on my right side to protrude and constrict my left lung cavity and, the other was 32 degrees which caused my hips to protrude towards the left side. Altogether my curvatures were 97 degrees. By the summer of 2008 my curvatures would have escalated to 100 degrees or above.
The tricky part about scoliosis is that it is a progressive disease. It is like cancer, but without tumors or chemotherapy. It cannot be placed into remission and it cannot be fully cured.
Only maintained and monitored.
“Bracing will NEVER reduce the curvature, and surgery is only a temporary solution for scoliosis treatment” (2018 ST&RC) as for me, I have been through both treatments. I wore a back brace for 2 years and I had a spinal fusion on February 18th, 2008.
To this day, I still have the bars in my back from the surgery and my quality of life has improved since I was first diagnosed in the summer of 2004 so I would say this far I am lucky.
Scoliosis is a disease that most of Americans and society do not think twice about. It is a hidden disease that can only be diagnosed with specific tools and expertise. It is a challenge for those who face it and a burden for the families who witness it. But, with this knowledge I hope we can band together and end this plague, I call
My own personal experience with scoliosis. To hear my full story please visit my blog @ https://soccerxlspsu.blogspot.com/