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Bent backs and broken hearts – Physical and mental health considerations

Bent backs and broken hearts – Physical and mental health considerations

The human back is a pivotal part of the body; it carries and centers the body’s weight. Problems in this crucial body part could prove detrimental to mental and physical health. Scoliosis, a condition characterized by a curve of the spine, may present mental and physical issues that could prove difficult for some. Ryszard Tomaszewski, an orthopedist from Silesian Medical University in Poland and Magdalena Janowska, a researcher from the Department of Pediatric Orthopedics and Traumatology at the Upper Silesian Child Health Centre in Poland reveal the negative impact scoliosis may have on a patient and his or her support system.

Scoliosis affects 2 to 3 percent of 16-year-old teenagers in the United States. About 0.1 percent of these cases may require surgical intervention. More women than men are diagnosed with the medical condition. Treatments for most cases involve a brace.

Tomaszerski and Janowska highlight feelings of anger and anxiety as common reactions to a scoliosis diagnosis. Part of this is due to the strain of adjustment, as the patient may struggle to perform previously simple activities. Frequent doctor visits and other forms of medical care can feel disruptive and crippling to scoliosis patients, researchers find.

Physical appearance is a particular source of discomfort for the scoliosis patient, Tomaszerski and Janowska assert. Scoliosis patients often feel as though the condition is conspicuous and socially awkward. Teenage years can already feel uncomfortable and a physical deformity can compound the problem.

In a report written by Cyndi Walker, Ph.D., published by the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, Walker outlines a study of 95 female scoliosis patients and 49 controls. Several factors were considered, including “depression, health locus of control, body image, perception of being discriminated against because of appearance, and satisfaction with overall appearance.”

While depression and healthy locus of control ranked similarly between the two groups, scoliosis patients felt out of place and discriminated against because of their appearance.

Walker also cites the Adolescent Health Survey, which found male youths with scoliosis had increased perceptions of physical health problems, issues with peers, struggles with alcoholism and numerous suicidal thoughts compared to statistically normal bodies.

Experts such as Walker recommend one-on-one therapy with scoliosis patients. A family component can help as well, especially for adolescent scoliosis patients.

Sovereign Health Group strives to understand the complete mental and physical condition of each patient for the tailored approach to therapy. Call us today to learn more about our programs for mental and behavioral health.

Written by Nicholas Ruiz, Sovereign Health Group writer