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A DATE FOR YOUR DIARY – JUNE 26th IS SCOLIOSIS AWARENESS DAY & JUNE IS SCOLIOSIS AWARENESS MONTH…

International  Scoliosis Awareness Day (ISAD) falls on the last Saturday of each June. It’s a very special day for all of your calendars – save the date 26th June 2021.

SAUK launched ISAD in 2013 to unite people across the world to create positive public awareness of scoliosis, promote education, and bring together those affected by the condition.

Every year people affected by the condition bake, blog, run, sing, dance, and cycle their hearts out to speak out about scoliosis.

One of SAUK’s main aims is to raise awareness of scoliosis among health professionals and the general public. They are always on the lookout for people who can help us raise awareness in their local community by putting up posters and distributing leaflets. It really helps if people distribute information to their local schools, doctors surgeries, hospitals and community centres. They are particularly looking for people to get involved around International Scoliosis Awareness Day in June each year.

If you are keen to have more of an impact in your local area SAUK are happy to support you doing a talk at a school about scoliosis or approach the media.

By running events, meet-ups, or getting involved in local community groups, you can also help to raise awareness of scoliosis while raising money for SAUK or SCF. You can find out more about organising your own event through their fundraising pages.

They have various different materials that you can use, please contact the office if you would like to be sent some on 0208 964 5343 or email: info@sauk.org.uk

Scoliosis is when the spine curves to the side. The spine can also twist at the same time. This twisting can pull the ribcage out of position. It is important that a person with scoliosis sees a scoliosis specialist. SAUK can tell you about your nearest specialist if you contact them.

Scoliosis is not a disease. It just means that in an often otherwise healthy person the spine is curved or twisted. It is not infectious or contagious. It does not develop because of anything a person did or did not do.

Although many people have not heard of scoliosis it is not rare. 3 to 4 children per 1000 need specialist supervision.

Scoliosis can affect people at different points in their lives. It can happen:

In most cases the cause is unknown (idiopathic). Sometimes the scoliosis is because of a neuromuscular condition, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. Scoliosis can also develop as part of a syndrome, such as Marfan syndrome.

Scoliosis can affect a person’s appearance because when the spine bends to the side, the small bones that make up the spine (called vertebrae) can become twisted. The twisted vertebrae can pull the ribs round with them, which sometimes causes a lump to form on the person’s back or for their back to appear rounded. Other possible signs of scoliosis are a shoulder blade that sticks out or an uneven waist.

The spine can curve to the left or the right. The curve can happen in different parts of the spine. It might be in the chest area, which is called ‘thoracic’ scoliosis. It might be in the lower, ‘lumbar’ area of the spine. A large thoracic curve can affect how well the lungs work.

Sometimes there are two curves and the spine may look like an S shape from behind. This is called a ‘double curvature’. When the curve is S-shaped a person’s spine can appear quite straight because the two curves cancel each other out.

Most cases of scoliosis should be checked regularly by a scoliosis specialist. The SAUK team can let you know where to find your nearest specialist centre.

Spotting and treating a curve early may allow a patient to try non-operative treatment like bracing. If curves are discovered late, when they are already severe, treatment can be more difficult and sometimes work less well. It is important that if you, or your child, are found to have scoliosis you ask your GP for a referral to a scoliosis specialist as soon as possible. A specialist will be able to assess the curve. They will tell you how big it is and discuss the best treatment options.

National Scoliosis Awareness Month takes place yearly in June with the goal of highlighting the growing need for education, early detection and awareness to the public about scoliosis and its prevalence within the community. The campaign also unites scoliosis patients, families, physicians, clinicians, institutions and related businesses in collaborative partnerships of local activities, events and grassroots networking throughout the month.

National Scoliosis Awareness Month Campaign Objectives:

  • Using the results from the BrAIST Study, highlight the importance of early detection and the effectiveness of bracing as early, non-operative care. To read more on the BrAIST study results, click here.
  • To have every state, district and commonwealth to officially declare by proclamation their observance of National Scoliosis Awareness Month during the month of June.
  • Increase public awareness of scoliosis and related spinal conditions through educational and advocacy campaigns of local activities, and community events during the month of June and throughout year
  • Unite scoliosis patients, families, physicians, and clinicians in a collaborative partnership that educate, and advocate, for patient care, patient screening, patient privacy, and patient protection
  • Build networks of community collaborations and alliances to help sustain and grow the campaign
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    SCOLIOSIS – WHAT IS IT AND WHERE CAN YOU GET HELP?…

    Scoliosis is a condition where there’s an abnormal curvature in the spine. Most people’s spine runs straight down their back (from the neck down to the lower back). However, scoliosis patients have a backbone that curves to the side. When this happens, the spinal column may be twisted.

    While this may sound excruciatingly painful, the truth of the matter is that most scoliosis sufferers feel no pain. Only the structure of their upper body gives an indication that they have scoliosis.

    While the condition itself is not painful, due to the curvature, back pain may occur. It all depends on the degree of the curvature… and the type of scoliosis.

    Congenital scoliosis
    This occurs prior to birth and children born with it will still be able to engage in sports and other activities like their peers. However, as they get older, the condition will become more visible if the curvature is progressive. This will cause the body to compensate and other muscles, ligaments and joints will take up the slack.
    This can stress them out over a long time. The back may be inflamed and painful. There may be numbness and weakness in the area too.

    In the early stages, braces can be used to correct the curvature and they’re very effective. Of course, there will be the embarrassment that many kids feel at having to wear these braces/casts. However, this early treatment will save them a lot of pain in future.

    Degenerative scoliosis
    Like its name suggests, this condition worsens over time. The problem escalates because the curvature keeps getting worse. If the patient has osteoporosis, this can be a very serious situation which may result in vertebral collapse.

    Chronic back pain usually accompanies degenerative scoliosis because the constant pressure on the spine makes it inflamed. Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or use injections to help relieve the pain. The patient will also need to lose any excess weight to help with the healing process. Osteopathic manipulation, acupressure and even acupuncture may also be used as complementary holistic treatments.

    Neuromuscular and syndromic scoliosis
    While these are two different types of scoliosis, they have one common trait. Both are the result of other illnesses in the body. Neuromuscular scoliosis usually occurs at an early age, and as it progresses the curve will worsen.

    Braces and surgery only have limited effectiveness. This condition is linked to neurological disorders and should be assessed on a case by case basis. Most often, you’ll need to consult a specialist in the field to treat this type of scoliosis.

    Syndromic scoliosis occurs when there are genetic disorders. Here too, it’s best to seek the advice of a professional. Very often, syndromic scoliosis can be detected during childhood and monitored closely. Surgery or braces can be used to correct the curve but it all depends on the individual.

    The back pain that one may get from scoliosis can be treated with medication, hot and cold treatments, massage, etc. All these will help to mitigate the pain, but for long term relief, it’s possible that one may require surgery. Your doctor will be the best person to advise you on this matter.

    The Scoliosis Association (UK) (SAUK) aims to provide advice, support and information to people with scoliosis and other spinal conditions, including kyphosis and lordosis.

    SAUK has a variety of ways to support you – they run a dedicated helpline and you can get further support by becoming a member, allowing access to the scoliosis contacts network, local support through Regional Representatives, access to the online members’ forum, and our magazine, Backbone.

    Ailie Harrison and Stephanie Clark formed the Scoliosis Self-Help Group, the forerunner of the Scoliosis Association (UK), in 1981 to help people with scoliosis and their families. The group started out in a small way with about 200 members, all of whom were past or present patients of Dr Phillip Zorab at the Brompton Hospital, London. Dr Zorab was an eminent chest physician with an interest in scoliosis, and as his work grew a need for support for scoliosis patients was identified and the charity set up.

    The group changed its name in 1986 to conform with its sister organisations in the USA and Canada, but its aim of self-help remained. The formation of the British group has stimulated interest all over the world and self-help groups modelled on SAUK have now been set up elsewhere. These groups exchange newsletters, and many members from different countries correspond with each other.

    Over the past years membership subscription has grown into the thousands.

    The organisation is run by a few dedicated staff and with the help of volunteers from among the membership. In November, 2006, SAUK became officially affiliated with the British Scoliosis Research Foundation (BSRF). SAUK remains the only national support group for children and adults with scoliosis in the UK and there are no signs that the need for the service has decreased since it was established.