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Thread: anyone know about studies on psychological impact on development of IS?

  1. #1
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    anyone know about studies on psychological impact on development of IS?

    When I learned I had idiopathic scoliosis at age 26 when it was already 55/35, i was convinced i knew why. i had spent a lifetime under chronic stress from bad family dynamics. i felt alone, surrounded by hostile forces, not protected. i'm sure predisposition was there, but am convinced scoliosis developed to such a degree due to chronic tension. (now at age 55 it's 80/55). i have a theory that it may start as body's way of protecting vital organs, as if threatened by a physical danger - body starts curving in on itself. And if those perceived threats persist, causes permanent distortion to skeleton.

    just wondering how many others believe psychological factors played significant role in their idiopathic scoliosis.

  2. #2
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    Question Psychological stress causing scoliosis?????

    The progression you describe has occurred in many of us without any other stress. Research so far suggests curve progression might be genetically determined. Some curves do not progress especially if they are below 40 deg at skeletal maturity. Curves over 40 deg can progress 1-3 degrees a year over a lifespan.

    Keep reading the posts and educate yourself.
    Progressing curve have a psychological impact on the person as they increase.
    The National scoliosis Foundation has educational info.:

    http://www.scoliosis.org/info.php
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  3. #3
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    I'm not saying all idiopathic scoliosis has psychological component. Prevailing wisdom is there are probably different reasons people get idiopathic scoliosis. There can be a strong genetic component for some. But not for others. There was no known history of scoliosis in my family. I think psychological stressors can be one thread for its development. Several friends I know with scoliosis fit that profile of traumatic family dynamics. So does "Unwinding" author Martha Hawes. Just wondering how common it is compared to general population. There is also a tightly wound physical appearance to some with scoliosis, maybe that is related to another theory - problems with seratonin. Also wonder if there is an ethnic component. Based on my limited observations, which includes me and some friends, Eastern European Jewish women seem to be disproportionately represented.

    I was offended by your telling me to 'educate myself'. I have been reading quite a bit on the forum and elsewhere. Was it really necessary to throw that language in? Especially when you misinterpreted and jumped to a wrong conclusion. You didn't know me or what I had or had not read. You couldn't have communicated your point in a different way, such as 'were you aware that....? There is a lot of hurtful language on this forum -- diminishing of person vs. discussion of ideas.

    I don't want this to turn into another one of those threads that goes from disagreement to war. Just ask you to be sensitive to word choices. It matters and many of us are pretty vulnerable. We need hugs, not slaps.

    Laurie

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    Quote Originally Posted by lauriek View Post
    I'm not saying all idiopathic scoliosis has psychological component. Prevailing wisdom is there are probably different reasons people get idiopathic scoliosis. There can be a strong genetic component for some. But not for others. There was no known history of scoliosis in my family.
    My husband has one cousin with scoliosis. That is it for his entire side of the family. There is nobody known to have scoliosis on my entire side of the family. My daughters have scoliosis.

    Just as a point of information, about 25% of Marfan's syndrome patients, most of whom have scoliosis, have a de novo spontaneous mutation.

    Over time, I predict ALL idiopathic scoliosis cases will be mapped to genetic mutations.

    Quote Originally Posted by lauriek View Post
    I think psychological stressors can be one thread for its development. Several friends I know with scoliosis fit that profile of traumatic family dynamics. So does "Unwinding" author Martha Hawes. Just wondering how common it is compared to general population. There is also a tightly wound physical appearance to some with scoliosis, maybe that is related to another theory - problems with seratonin. Also wonder if there is an ethnic component. Based on my limited observations, which includes me and some friends, Eastern European Jewish women seem to be disproportionately represented.
    You are correct to wonder about the general population. You might find a control group has more stress and yet no scoliosis. Without a comparison group, it is impossible to be able to say stress is even a little bit related to development of scoliosis.

    Quote Originally Posted by lauriek View Post
    I don't want this to turn into another one of those threads that goes from disagreement to war. Just ask you to be sensitive to word choices. It matters and many of us are pretty vulnerable. We need hugs, not slaps.
    I suggest we ALL need high-quality scientific studies, not paranormal woo-woo.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

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  5. #5
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    Hi lauriek-- I don't know if you want input like this from some of us or not, but thought I'd let you know that I didn't have any psychological stress/trauma to attribute my scoli to. Take care.
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52° w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15°
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

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    No offense meant

    lauriek:

    No offense was meant. Sorry it came across that way.

    In my case I was so severely affected that I suffered emotionally from it(100 degrees as a 14 year old). Not walking for a year, in a series of body casts after my first surgeries in 1956---and a very limited correction which I lost by middle age.

    I am a medical professional and have read, in the scientific literature, that scoliosis incidence is spread pretty evenly all over the world in all ethnic and racial groups.

    In my particular family the major stress was from my scoliosis meaning my parents had little money and limited medical insurance to cover the year-long treatment at that time. My parents were very loving and always there for us three kids. One the maternal side: my sister, brother, mother and girl cousin all have scoliosis. My mom is now 92 and she always looked straight to me. In her old age she is really twisted. My brother and sister's curves are not noticeable even in bathing suits. My girl cousin has back pain and her curve is mainly lumbar while mine were a triple curves. Interestingly, my cousin on my father's side had a child needing scoliosis surgery. Why I had the great fortune to end up so badly affected is beyond me---unless I got the gene from both sides because it's in both sides of the family.

    Ethnically I am Russian, Estonian, Czech and Polish. My girl cousin is German, Polish and Estonian. The child, of he boy cousin, who had scoliosis surgery is Italian, Norwegian, Czech and Russian extraction. Go figure.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lauriek View Post
    I Based on my limited observations, which includes me and some friends, Eastern European Jewish women seem to be disproportionately represented.
    I've never heard that before, and it doesn't appear to be true in the group of people I know with scoliosis (which is probably considerably more than average, since I've been involved in running a scoliosis support group for about 20 years). There is a related condition, dysautonomia, which affects descendants of Ashkenazi Jews. And, while I've only gotten to know about 20-30 of my support group buddies well, I can't remember any of them talking about having bad childhoods. Like yours, however, that's just anecdotal evidence.

    Your theory is interesting, but I doubt that even if it were true, it could ever be proved. I understand what you're feeling in terms of thinking that you know what caused your scoliosis. In the past, I've convinced myself that something that happened to me, or something I was doing was causing a problem. In the end, I've never been correct. If you read all of the posts on these forums, you'll find people who feel that other unusual things caused their scoliosis, or caused their rods to break, etc. I guess it's natural to want to know there's a specific reason for everything, but in the end, it really doesn't matter.

    For the record, I'm one of 8 children, and the only one with scoliosis. My childhood was pretty normal.

    Good luck finding your answers.

    Regards,
    Linda

  8. #8
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    LaurieK,

    "Also wonder if there is an ethnic component. Based on my limited observations, which includes me and some friends, Eastern European Jewish women seem to be disproportionately represented."

    My family is Northern European, German/English/Scot/Norweigean with both sides having scoli. I had a happy childhood. I think with a bit more research you will find a strong genitic factor.

    SandyC
    SandyC

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    I am one of four siblings and the only one with scoliosis. As far as I know, there is no history of scoliosis in my family. I have a twin brother and when I look at old photographs of us together, I towered over him by the time I was 11. Today he towers over me. I think my scoliosis can be attributed to a rapid growth spurt that occurred between the ages of 11 and 13. By 14 I noticed my hip was out of whack and my grade school graduation dress just didn’t fit right. I had a normal happy childhood and was not subject to any psychological stress, but I am of Eastern European descent, all of my grandparents having emigrated from Poland.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karen Ocker View Post
    I am a medical professional and have read, in the scientific literature, that scoliosis incidence is spread pretty evenly all over the world in all ethnic and racial groups.
    I think I may have read that also at some point.

    Same situation with identical twinning... no pattern. Completely random as far as anyone can tell.

    ETA: The randomeness has to do with the original mutation(s). Clearly some scoliosis is heritable. So in that way, it differs from identical twinning which really is totally random as far as I know.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 12-15-2008 at 12:10 PM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  11. #11
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    I personally very much doubt that scoliosis is generally caused by pyschological stress (so many people suffer thus, without developing scoliosis) but I do think that there may be an ethnic component. I don't know about AIS, but Infantile Idiopathic Scoliosis is supposed to be much more prolific in Europe than in other countries, and especially amongst children with an Irish or Celtic heritage. I've read this in more than one medical journal and it has been mentioned to me by surgeons (I have IIS myself) but I'm afraid I don't have any online links.
    Last edited by tonibunny; 12-15-2008 at 04:42 PM.

  12. #12
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    Interesting you should say that/ask that.... I recently (need to read it again) read a book called "You can heal your life" by Louise Hay. Not to go through everything but in the back it lists a bunch of medical conditions and for scoliosis it says something like not certain in life or feeling weighed down/un-supported or not trusting life- something along those lines. Which, I would imagine one would feel that way if very stressed. My personality fits the outcome even though I did not have a "stressful" life persay.

    Let me know if you find it or read it or what you think.

  13. #13
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    Dear LaurieK,

    While it may or may not have anything to do with the development of scoliosis, the stress factor did cross my mind from time to time. My sister and I both have scoliosis. My curves were 95T and 70L degrees. We have very large extended families who are Irish and French Canadian, but there are no other cases of scoliosis in the family that we know of. However, in my immediate family, there was an extreme amount of chronic stress, and I carried myself with a great amount of muscle tension although part of that may have been to try to appear straight with my body fighting me all the way. I too wondered if severe chronic stress with resultant muscle tension may have contributed to the rapid severe progression which I experienced. However, I may just have to wonder! Also, my sister and I were sick as young children with fevers for about a month with a country doctor making house calls. We may not have been fully diagnosed. Also, fell down a flight of stairs at age 10 bumping every vertebrae in my back along the way. Also, stressed my back running at age 9. All I know is that I was diagnosed at age 10 1/2 and until age 14, I developed a very severe case of scoliosis. There may indeed be a genetic component.

  14. #14
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    My one daughter's curve moved ~5* (on average) per month for seven months.

    She leads a relatively comfortable, stress-free life.

    Put another way, if she is stressed, I don't know what unstressed is.

    I happen to have a control subject (her identical twin) who is leading a very similar, relatively comfortable, stress-free life. Her curve didn't move much at all during this identical several month time frame.

    I really think it's time to put this particular hypothesis to bed on the weight of evidence against it at this point.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 12-18-2008 at 07:14 PM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  15. #15
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    Um ... JIS/AIS.

    I = Idiopathic. There's no proof it's related to *anything, hence "idiopathic" = unknown.

    It's meant this since I was dx'd in 1978, and it still stands true.

    I was raised by the Cleavers, BTW, *and* I'm a mutt.
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
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    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
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