Scoliosis is a condition where the spine grows unevenly, which causes a sideways curvature and an abnormal posture. It primarily occurs in children and adults with a genetic predisposition.
However, it can also skip a generation, and even occur in patients with no scoliosis in their family history.
There are three main types of scoliosis:
When someone has congenital scoliosis, it means they’re born with it due to improper spine development in the womb. Neuromuscular scoliosis occurs due to nerve or muscle disorders, such as cerebral palsy.
Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis, the cause of which is unknown. There’s no one definite factor that can contribute to it. After years and years of research, a direct cause still eludes us.
However, there are certain habits that may accelerate its progression, even if you have no genetic markers for developing it.
So, can you develop scoliosis later in life? Sadly, yes, but let’s not lose all hope. You can prevent scoliosis, or at least slow down its progression, by avoiding the following habits.
1. Bad Posture
To make things clear, bad posture alone cannot cause idiopathic scoliosis. It may be able to speed up the progression of scoliosis in patients with a genetic predisposition.
However, slouching or slanting the body while sitting isn’t nearly enough to cause a sideways curvature of the spine.
What it can do is cause neck and back pain, and other more serious back problems. But why is it on this list then?
Because it can cause the so-called postural scoliosis, a condition where the spine curves just a little due to the tension in the muscles from sitting improperly.
It’s far from being a bone deformity, and it’s entirely reversible. With proper exercise and posture, you can get your spine back to normal.
2. Poor Nutrition
According to research, nutrition is an important risk factor for scoliosis too. Again, it can’t cause scoliosis but can affect its development or progression if there exists a scoliosis gene.
So, how can poor nutrition lead to idiopathic scoliosis?
Neurotransmitter deficiencies, together with hormonal imbalances, can accelerate the progression of scoliosis.
Neurotransmitters consist of amino acids, peptides, purines, and monoamines, such as serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. They also contain some B vitamins.
When your diet doesn’t provide your body with enough of these nutrients, there’s less production of neurotransmitters. When there’s a neurotransmitter deficiency, the brain doesn’t receive proper signals for “realizing” that there’s an issue that needs fixing.
So, with proper nutrition, you can regulate any imbalances in the body, thus keep scoliosis at bay. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as organic meat, are the key to a healthy diet for scoliosis.
What to Eat and What to Avoid?
You should avoid any food that doesn’t provide your muscles and bones with the necessary minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients.
The most crucial foods to avoid are fried foods, pork, and chocolate. The food ingredients to avoid include white flour, refined sugar, salt, food additives, and artificial sweeteners.
Keep in mind that dark chocolate is a superfood, so you can eat it every once in a while. When it comes to salt, you might want to switch to sea salt, which is much healthier than table salt.
3. Low Body Weight
Research shows that low body weight increases the risk of scoliosis. That’s because low weight causes bone density reduction. That makes it easier for the spine to curve when there’s a genetic predisposition for scoliosis.
Another study researched the correlation between bone density and bone metabolism in adults with scoliosis. The researchers found that 65% of study participants with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis had osteoporosis or osteopenia.
Furthermore, 59% of the patients had high values of certain bone metabolism markers. Those who had low bone density showed higher levels of bone resorption.
4. Exposure to Chemical Toxins
Certain chemicals may also be able to speed up the progression of scoliosis. Once again, we can’t know for sure whether they cause its development, but we know them to be risk factors.
According to studies on environmental factors for idiopathic scoliosis, there’s a link between a scoliosis gene and environment.
One of them suggests that heated indoor swimming pools may have an impact on the development of scoliosis in infants. That’s because the chlorine in those pools releases certain toxins that may negatively impact the central nervous system in infants.
It may also cause delayed bone deformities that may stay hidden until later in life, mainly adolescence. That means that a scoliosis gene may not express itself at all before adolescence.
There’s definitely a need for further research when it comes to chemical toxins speeding up the progression rate of scoliosis. Still, staying away from any toxins certainly wouldn’t hurt.
To summarize, can you develop scoliosis later in life? You can, but only if you’re not careful, and you have a genetic predisposition for it. That’s what idiopathic scoliosis is.
If you’re lucky not to have a scoliosis gene, you may develop postural scoliosis. But that’s only if you have really bad posture, and you sit improperly for years.
What if you already have scoliosis? Then it’s good you’re here because Align Clinic offers the best orthotics for scoliosis. We have high-quality scoliosis braces for adults, which we design by custom-tailoring them to each patient.
Proper scoliosis bracing can help you slow down the scoliosis progression, as well as reduce pain. We’re here for you for any questions you may have, or to devise the right treatment for your needs.
Feel free to contact us anytime to schedule your free consultation.