Sunday, June 3, 2012

National Scoliosis Awarenss Month

As always, June is Scoliosis Awareness Month.  There is a busy, informative website (http://sites.google.com/site/wwwscoliosisorgawareness/Home) which describes events and has some useful resources.

Like many health processes, Scoliosis is a condition that many people know about.  With a prevalence of 1-2% or more, it is most likely that everybody knows somebody with a spinal curvature.  Why then is a National Awareness Month so important?

Simply put, Scoliosis is one of those things that folks know exists but just don’t talk about.  And that is a shame, because there are many myths and misconceptions about the condition which never have a chance to be corrected.  People who get scoliosis are already among the most secretive and insecure of demographics, teenagers.  They are far less likely to open up about their concerns and ask the vital questions about any medical condition, let alone one that makes them stand out even more as ‘different’.

What helps most is reaching out to teens with scoliosis and encouraging them to talk with other teens with similar problems.  Outreach groups, like our own Backtalk or the National Scoliosis Foundation, are extremely successful in establishing peer interactions so that teens can find their own way in dealing with their curvature.  Teens with scoliosis need guidance and knowledge to be sure, but mostly they need a friendly face of someone who has been through the same issues, and maybe needs a helping hand and some guidance of her own.  It is astonishing how often people will respond to others’ requests for help when they will not seek it themselves.

Scoliosis Awareness Month is also about letting people without Scoliosis know about the workings of the spine and know that even a crooked spine is not a damaged one.  It is about acceptance of spinal curvatures in the same way we accept red hair or left handedness.  Most of all, it is about giving information to those with spinal curvatures and those without, so that we can demystify the process and let the kids get on with other far more important aspects of their developing lives.

This month I urge everyone at some point to say out loud, “I love someone who has Scoliosis!”  The vast likelihood is that you do and it will do her endless good to hear it.