Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) was the medical diagnosis for my crooked spine. At that time I did not know what ‘idiopathic’ meant. I thought it was the biological term for a type of virus or bacteria that caused this ugly condition. And once you are rid of this offending organism with the right dose of antibiotic this corrosive organism would be destroyed and, lo, your spine would instantaneously straighten up.
After all, that’s what doctors and modern medicine is supposed to do. Zap the offending thing out of your system and you are good as new.
How wrong I was. I have learned a lot since then.
Facts About Idiopathic Scoliosis
On reaching home from the doctor’s I checked my dictionary. This was over 30 years ago before the advent of the wonderful invention of the internet and smartphone. I was perturbed to learn what idiopathic meant – any disease with an unknown cause or mechanism of apparently spontaneous origin. Further, 8 in every 10 cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown.
Tragically, the onset of scoliosis can be rather insidious, while its progression can be relentless, with disastrous outcomes. From a perfectly healthy girl, I was reduced to a hunchback. It was horribly traumatizing dealing with the shame of a curved spine.
No Progress In Scoliosis Research
Even today, medicine is still a long way off in finding the cause for scoliosis. (The medical community still don’t want to delve into the pre-ACEs life of a patient.) They still are busy trying to find that needle in the haystack. That physical entity which can be seen under their microscopes. They are busy trying to find that gene that causes this deformity. Other theories posited as the possible causes of AIS includes hormonal imbalance, asymmetric growth, and muscle imbalance.
Sadly, today 30 years later the damn affliction is still idiopathic in most cases. Furthermore, there is no cure for scoliosis. All we have is superficial prosthetics which are cumbersome and real confidence killers.
And if your curve is greater than the bench-marked 45°, surgery is the advised option. Moreover, surgery is usually not a onetime thing, repeat surgeries are more the norm rather the exception for those opting for surgeon’s knife.
ACEs and Scoliosis
The questions which doctors continue to grapple. Is scoliosis genetic? Hereditary? Caused by environmental factors?
When will someone bother to actually research and connect this painful, deforming and life-shortening affliction to ACEs or rather Adverse Childhood Relationships (ACRs) and Epigenetics? Will some of those highly credentialed experts do a little digging into the patient’s history and find out about their Adverse Pre-Onset Experiences (APOEs).
I know my pre-onset experiences were trauma loaded. At 11, I had to deal with the death of my mother, physical and emotional violence of my father, sexual abuse, being parentified,
Does Epigenetics Cause Scoliosis
Fatuously, medical research has been trying to pinpoint that specific gene causing scoliosis. Furthermore, they insist it runs in families.
I don’t remember anyone in my family having scoliosis. I had a straight spine till maybe around 12 years. Then the pain began and by the time I was 13 one shoulder was marginally higher than the other.
So what happened to my genes that till then kept my spine perfectly aligned. Has any researcher bother to check case histories of AIS. What was their ACEs story?
Approximately 30% of AIS patients have some family history of scoliosis. Does this indicate a genetic connection? Or is it the repetition of the same toxic relationship patterns? Intra-generational abuse being passed on.
No one in my family had scoliosis. And neither does my only progeny who is now an adult.
Without a doubt, epigenetics is the cause of my scoliosis.
Why Scoliosis Affects Girls More Than Boys?
The onset of AIS is between the ages of 10 to 15 and more girls than boys are afflicted. Why is it so?
Holistic healer Jon Burras explains the reason for this peculiarity. First, with the onset of puberty girls are chided and dissuaded from indulging in physical activities they must act like ladies. This enforced restrictions negatively impacts the natural stretching of the muscles along the spine. The muscles become dormant and have less opportunity to release any pent-up tension and stress.
The second reason is the changes a girl goes through at puberty is more drastic than what boys experience. Except for a few a few facial hairs and a deeper voice young boys passage is inconspicuous.
Furthermore, for girls, the changes are more than significant. Her hips enlarge and she develops breasts. There is no way to hide the changes that are occurring. The puberty experience is present for everyone to see.
Adding to this is our toxic culture where women’s bodies are often treated as objects to be glared at. This can be traumatic, embarrassing and highly confusing. More so, if like in my case she has to deal with repeated sexual abuse and the jealousy of a narcissist older woman who blamed me for her husband’s lust, you are simply too afraid to become a woman.
Jon Burras succinctly explains the cause of scoliosis: Nature is saying that it is time to become a man or a woman and leave the world of children behind. Due to many factors, the child may not want to leave childhood behind. He or she may not be emotionally ready for these changes that are taking place. As nature is attempting to push the body up and out he or she is trying to hold it back in. The end result is that the body, and especially the spine, begins to form a curve.
Scoliosis A Metaphor Of One’s Existence
In her book Off Kilter: A Woman’s Journey to Peace with Scoliosis Linda C. Wisniewski, states “ I’ve begun to think of scoliosis as a metaphor for my life. I’ve struggled to please teachers, employers, parents, boyfriends, husbands, twisting myself into someone I can’t be.”
Scoliosis became my protective armor against the destructive sexual environment I had to deal with. I curved myself to hide my developing body.
Recent studies have shown how a toxic childhood affects life-long health outcomes. Yet, western medicine still treats scoliosis as a disease arising due to physical causes.
My journey from having a noticeable hunchback to looking near normal has proved that the scoliosis is not idiopathic, it is indicative of your life situation.
I believe idiopathic scoliosis can be prevented. Parents and medical professions go beyond the mandatory school screening and find out what is really happening in a child’s life.
With a little bit of support, my spine is getting straighter and aligned even at 50. If only if I had received some support at 13 how different my life would have been.
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