Scoliosis treatment is changing all the time, as new research is conducted and gentler methods are introduced. With the help of epigenetics, doctors are finding new ways to help treat scoliosis through dietary changes – including the ever-important addition of collagen protein.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a medical condition that causes a person's spine to have a sideways curve. While some cases of scoliosis can be caused by disorders like muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, the root cause is widely unknown. There are many types of scoliosis. The most common types are congenital scoliosis, which is scoliosis that a person is born with, and idiopathic scoliosis, which typically sets in around puberty or after a significant growth spurt.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), scoliosis affects between 2% and 3% of the American population, or about six to nine million people. A diagnosis can be given either with observation or with an x-ray to measure the curve or curves in a patient's spine. No two cases of scoliosis look alike, which means that no two treatment regimens look alike.
Finding the Right Care
There are many forms of treatment for scoliosis, and which method a patient might be prescribed depends largely on their doctor's beliefs and experience, as well as the severity of the patient's case. While some doctors might recommend invasive surgical procedures, others opt for gentler methods, such as bracing and a combination of outpatient therapies.
Scoliosis treatment has changed dramatically over the past few decades, with one important addition to the journey: dietary health therapies. Surgery, bracing, and various forms of physical therapy can help change the structure of the patient's spine; but without proper nutrients to help build and strengthen muscles, these techniques may not work to their full potential.
Collagen is Key
Over the last fifteen years, the field of Epigenetics has emerged, shedding light on these less invasive methods of care. Epigenetics is the study of how genetics interact and are affected by our environment. What a person eats has been known to show strong epigenetic influence, which means that with proper diet, a scoliosis patient can slow the progress of their scoliosis while aiding their body along in the recovery process faster. One major change in treatment has been the addition of collagen protein into patients' diets.
According to Scoliosis Systems, a team of doctors and therapists who treat scoliosis with a multidisciplinary and widely non-invasive approach, "osteoporosis, osteopenia, and low bone density have been shown to be a risk factor for progression in scoliosis." This is why collagen protein is such an important part of treatment for scoliosis. Collagen is found in our organs, muscles, skin, and bones, and it is important to ensure our bodies get enough collagen as we age.
One way to ensure that a patient is including enough collagen in their diet is to recommend that they add a collagen protein straight into their diet in the form of powders, capsules, or tablets. Some powders, such as Makers Nutrition's grass-fed bovine collagen powder, are tasteless and highly soluble, so they can be easily mixed right into a shake or smoothie for easy intake.
Is Something Else Missing?
Since each case of scoliosis is just as unique as the patient receiving treatment, it is important to note that something that may provide amazing results for one person might not work as well (or at all) on the next person. However, there is a widely accepted diet that experts believe may contribute to spinal health and overall wellness of individuals with scoliosis if practiced with a well-balanced diet. Some tips include:
- Limiting caffeine intake, as caffeine can cause your bones to lose calcium
- Enjoying excessively salty or sugary foods, as these can inhibit your body's ability to absorb calcium
- Adding more healthy fats like avocados, egg, and nuts
- Limiting fast food intake
While treatment for scoliosis changes as new methods are introduced, there is no denying the importance of epigenetics and collagen protein when it comes to the future of orthopedic care.