Choosing to have a child is an exciting decision. But for women with scoliosis, pregnancy and childbirth are often fraught with anxiety. Many wonder if someone with scoliosis can even have a baby safely.

The reality is that risks are a natural part of pregnancy, whether you have an abnormal spine or not. But just how does the scoliosis affect the entire process, from conception to delivery? Below are answers to some of the most common questions women ask about pregnancy and scoliosis.

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When scoliosis starts causing pain, many patients find relief through stretching.

Stretching with scoliosis can help alleviate back by releasing tension in the muscles surrounding the spine. It also increases blood flow and lubrication in the joints, which helps keep the body limber.

While a normal spine moves from side to side (e.g. while walking), “people with scoliosis can bend only in one direction and are unable to access movement in the opposite direction,” says Rocky Snyder, a personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist. As you determine which side of your body lacks elasticity, you can focus your stretching on that area to help relieve discomfort, improve flexibility, and increase your range of motion.

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We often speak to prospective patients who have tried other non-surgical exercise-based treatments for scoliosis to no avail. Below, we highlight salient differences between ScoliSMART and Schroth:

Established

ScoliSMART

Developed in the 2000s.

Schroth

Developed in the 1920s in Germany. Only recently introduced to practitioners in the United States.

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Sports and scoliosis often go hand in hand. As many as 24 percent of young athletes have it.

While many parents express concern over allowing kids with scoliosis to participate in athletics, exercise is pivotal to any successful treatment plan.

  • It strengthens the core muscles that support the spine
  • It keeps the body nimble and prevents stiffness
  • It supports overall health and boosts self-esteem

Specific exercises can even stop scoliosis progression and help reduce curvature by retraining the brain to correct the spine’s posture.

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Adults with scoliosis often feel they have nowhere to turn.

Bracing, surgery, wait and see — the typical treatment options focus on adolescent scoliosis, despite the fact that a greater percentage of adults than children have the condition. As many as seven in 10 adults over the age of 60 have scoliosis, compared to just 3 to 5 percent of adolescents — and some doctors believe the number will increase over the next 20 years as people live longer.

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According to data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), over 25 million American adults experience chronic pain – pain that occurs daily for at least three months. Some of the most common causes of chronic pain include arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, headache, post-surgical or post-trauma pain, and lower back pain.

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Scoliosis is like any other illness: the sooner you identify it, the better your chances of treating it. Since the spine becomes more rigid as a person gets older, the sooner someone is diagnosed with scoliosis, the sooner they can begin a proper course of treatment that can control — or even reverse — the effects of scoliosis.

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Detecting scoliosis can be tricky.

Symptoms are often subtle during the early stages, which can make them easy to dismiss.

In children, developing scoliosis often goes unnoticed until they reach adolescence and enter a rapid growth phase. In adults, it can be even harder to spot. One study found that the condition remained undetected in 67% of adult back-pain patients with scoliosis — particularly when the spinal curvature was mild. Even patients with moderate to severe curvature went undiagnosed more than 10% of the time.

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After years of scoliosis treatment, 16-year-old Rachel Rabkin Peachman’s curves had stabilized and her spine had fully grown. At 45 degrees, she had narrowly escaped surgery. Her doctor told her she was done.

But she wasn’t.

“I’ve discovered in the years since that scoliosis is not something you endure and outgrow, like pimples and puberty. Now, at the ripe age of 38, I find myself with a 55-degree upper curve, a 33-degree lower curve, consistent pain — and no standard treatment to follow.”

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According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), scoliosis affects between 2% and 3% of the American population, or about six to nine million people. It is characterized by an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine and there are many different forms. The various types of scoliosis are classified by cause and age of onset; the speed and mechanism of progression also plays a role in determining the specific type of scoliosis.

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