At age 20, he bolted through New York to set a world record—running the 100-meter sprint in just 9.72 seconds. The next year he shattered his own record and won his first of nine Olympic gold medals. Now, a decade later, Usain Bolt is considered the fastest runner ever timed.
Having a S-shaped spine hasn’t stopped him from becoming the world’s swiftest sprinter. Although scoliosis made him more prone to injuries early in his career, he’s learned a lot about managing his condition since then.

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Chronic back pain a fact of life for many people, but it is almost TWICE as likely if you have scoliosis according to a 50-year follow-up study of adults with scoliosis. Patients often describe their scoliosis back pain as burning, intense achiness, stiffness, spasms, and even breathtaking in some cases. It becomes more than a nuisance; it becomes the focal point of their lives every. single. day.

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Scoliosis is defined as a curvature on x-ray greater than 10 degrees when measured using a Cobb angle. While the spinal curvature characteristic of idiopathic scoliosis is the hallmark symptom of scoliosis, research performed over the last 2 decades has shown that scoliosis is much more than just a spine curvature.

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How many times have you been to doctor after doctor for yourself or your child seeking an answer for the nagging chronic neck pain you are positive is related to scoliosis, only to be told scoliosis doesn’t cause pain? Most patients find this response very frustrating — and even insulting — because they are positive scoliosis and neck pain are related.

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The management and treatment of children diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis has historically been and continues to be dictated (or at minimum heavily influenced) by the orthopedic surgeons not just in the US, but worldwide. The orthopedic actual treatment scope and specialty focuses almost exclusively on the advancement of surgical techniques and outcomes in the United States but treatment focus can vary greatly in other countries within the orthopedic specialist communities where there is specific focus on the advancement and outcomes of rigid spinal orthotics, otherwise known as scoliosis braces.

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“Scoliosis is going to crush her lungs!” is the great fear of every mother of a child with scoliosis as they stare at an x-ray with the spinal curvature intruding into what appear to be the patient’s lung fields.

Adult patients fear this for themselves, as well.

The concern is certainly genuine and real, but is it scientifically accurate? We hope to expose the truth behind this pressing question, as well as explore other possible causes of severe shortness of breath if you or your child have scoliosis.

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Surgical intervention for idiopathic scoliosis dates all the way back to 1865 (France) and resulted in one of the first medical malpractice cases (which later paved the way for the concept of evidence-based medicine). From its controversial beginnings, the discussion has continued on through the decades as newer surgical techniques and hardware became available — with the Harrington rods in the 1960s through the mid 1980s, and the Cortel-Dubousset (C-D) hooks and rods instrumentation as its current predecessor.

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Believe it or not, in this day and age of advanced technology and information, “Should I use ice or heat for my scoliosis pain?” is still one of the most common questions our ScoliSMART doctors are asked by their patients. One of the reasons for this is because patients tend to lump all “pain” symptoms into one category, when in fact treating acute pain (recent and short term) and chronic pain (long term and constant) with ice and heat are very different.

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Surgical intervention is the greatest fear of parents and patients suffering from the scoliosis condition and should always be a last resort after all non-conservative approaches have been exhausted. Recently, a robust interest in fusionless scoliosis surgery has encouraged progress in the development of a variety of new surgical approaches, innovation, and devices.

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Did you know idiopathic scoliosis was first described as a “serpent like disease of the spine” by the Greeks over 3,500 years ago? Fortunately, the “science of scoliosis” has come a long way since then but seems to have plateaued at some point back in the 1970s and 1980s. However, recent breakthroughs in the fundamental nature of idiopathic scoliosis have spurred on new and innovative progress into a more in-depth understanding of the condition.

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