Scoliosis is defined as an abnormal, sideways curvature of the spine. About 3% of the American population lives with this health condition and its numerous potential side effects. Ultimately, the effects it can have on someone’s life can vary a lot depending on many factors.
While most people are often concerned solely with the physical symptoms of a curved spine, the psychological side effects related to scoliosis can also be as harmful to one’s health. Today we will talk about how scoliosis can affect mental health and what can be done to address it.
How Scoliosis May Affect Mental Health
In most cases, scoliosis is first detected at an early age (adolescence). Since the diagnosis takes place in a time of life when children are extremely fragile regarding their mental development, scoliosis can affect their mental health as well. This includes what they think about their physical differences from other children. Luckily, most children learn quickly how to adapt to the new situation and live a fulfilling life with scoliosis. However, they may need some support!
Here is a short list of the common psychological effects of scoliosis:
- A feeling of being different from others, not belonging to anywhere
- Low self-esteem (because of wearing a brace or not being able to participate in activities such as sports)
- Depression or suicidal thoughts
- Poor relationships
- Lack of social connections due to isolation
- Higher risk of substance abuse
How Better Management of Scoliosis Can Help With Mental Health
Having a treatment plan that addresses both the physical and mental side effects is crucial for someone with scoliosis. By initially focusing on the physical symptoms, they can gain more self-confidence and feel better mentally as well. Thus, let’s first review how to address physical symptoms before diving into treatment of less obvious mental symptoms.
Addressing the Physical Symptoms of Scoliosis
When it comes to the physical symptoms, the most common ones are pain and fatigue. Unfortunately, enduring these side effects in the long term can also be exhausting mentally. Thus, relieving or preventing these symptoms as a first step can be a great strategy for improving someone’s overall well-being. When addressing these, the primary focus will be on managing the side effects effectively, promoting better alignment and mobility, and preventing the further progression of the spine curvature.
Chiropractic care can help with easing the symptoms of scoliosis. This is because chiropractors, particularly those who are certified in evidence-based Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) are experts in spine health. The potential treatment options for scoliosis include the following:
- Custom scoliosis bracing
- Posture training
- Medication-free pain-relieving modalities
- Spine adjustments to restore the optimal alignment of the spine
- Exercise plan to restore the innate balance, provide better energy levels, and boost confidence
- Lifestyle recommendations regarding weight loss, diet, stress management, sleep habits, etc.
Looking After Mental Health
Although tackling the physical symptoms of scoliosis alone can help a lot with minimizing mental health issues, sometimes it’s simply not sufficient. Thus, it’s important to look after mental health as well.
Providing support for someone who is experiencing mental struggles secondary to scoliosis can be crucial. This is because once they understand that it is normal to have some mental issues, they will be more likely to recover and have a better quality of life. Regardless of the severity of the curvature and the physical symptoms, everyone can face some emotional struggles. Here are a few options that can help improve mental health and provide support:
- Finding a support group for scoliosis
- Promoting social interactions
- Addressing bullying
- Talking with others and getting support from friends, family members, etc.
If you are struggling with the mental side effects of scoliosis, or you know someone in your surroundings who is, don’t hesitate to ask for help or offer your help to them. Getting support is the key!
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, scoliosis can affect people’s lives in many aspects. But it doesn’t mean that nothing can be done. With the right treatment and care, it’s possible to ease both the physical and mental side effects of scoliosis. Guidance for a CBP certified chiropractor is one great tool for feeling your best no matter how your spine is aligned. Find one in your local area today.