Cave paintings made by members of prehistoric civilizations, usually dating back to the Upper Paleolithic age (around 40,000 BCE) depicted facets of their daily lives, such as hunting scenes or pictures of animals such as horses, bison, reindeer and cattle.1
However, did you know that there is a disorder that has already been said to appear in cave paintings? This is scoliosis, whose name is derived from the Greek word “skol,” meaning “twists and turns.”2 Scoliosis is a musculoskeletal condition where the spine curves to the side, affecting the chest area and lower section of the back.3 It’s linked to congenital, developmental or degenerative causes, although most cases are idiopathic, or have no known cause.4
History of Scoliosis Research
References regarding scoliosis didn’t stop with these cave paintings, since observations were well-documented by ancient Greek scholars. In fact, Hippocrates not only wrote about spinal curves in his works, but may have also treated early scoliosis cases by using braces in the 4th century B.C. He also developed treatment methods and devices for spinal correction, such as the Hippocratic ladder and Hippocratic board.5,6
In the 2nd century A.D., Galen, another Greek scholar, continued Hippocrates’ research. Galen was eventually considered the early pioneer of spinal research. Fast forward to the Renaissance era, Ambroise Paré, known as the “Father of Modern Surgery,” discovered that continuous bracing can be helpful as a scoliosis treatment, but at the same time realized that a brace wasn’t effective once the patient reached maturity.
Who Is Likely to Get Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is known to affect 2 to 3 percent of Americans, or roughly around 6 to 9 million people. The primary onset of scoliosis is said to manifest when a person is between 10 to 15 years old. As highlighted by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, it occurs equally among both genders. Generally, however, scoliosis tends to affect girls two times more compared to boys, and they are also eight times more likely to progress to a curve magnitude that would already require treatment.7,8
Yearly, around 600,000 visits are made by scoliosis patients to private physician offices, an estimated 300,000 children are fitted for a scoliosis brace and nearly 38,000 patients undergo spinal fusion surgery.
Is There Something You Can Do About Scoliosis?
Scoliosis, especially in children and teens, can cause physical and emotional consequences that may negatively impact their lives during their formative years. If you or someone you know is struggling with scoliosis and you want to know how you can help them address the condition, look through these scoliosis pages.
These pages can provide you with knowledge on the ways scoliosis can affect a person, various types of scoliosis that a patient can be diagnosed with, common indicators of the disorder, potential treatments and/or surgery that can be recommended and techniques and exercises that can help the patient relieve discomfort.