Sunday, 17 April 2016


The world of professional dance is both artistic and physically grueling.

Imagine taking on that challenge while living with what can often be a crippling condition.

At one time she had trouble even walking. But now she is dancing on the international stage. And this eloquent and elegant young lady is doing what she believes she was born to do and she's living her life-long dream.

You may have seen her visually dazzling Intel spots during the Super Bowl or the Grammys. But what you may not know is that this amazing artist lives here in Chicago and she was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 12.

"I remember going to the doctor and him taking an x-ray of my spine and telling me that there was a curve and that the best alternative would be surgery. And the way they described that was two metal rods would be put in my back and that just terrified me as a 12-year-old," says Paige Fraiser.

Paige has been dancing since she was four. After the diagnosis, she was afraid her dreams of a life in the dance world would be over. But back in New York she and her parents decided against the surgery opting instead for chiropractic treatments and a more holistic approach.

"So in high school, I wore a back brace which was plastic and it went from here to here and that just reminded me of my posture and everything but with scoliosis, it's not curable, unless you get the surgery, which isn't always guaranteed," she says.

She says she was lucky enough to work with a dance teacher who was also living with the condition who taught Paige how to control her body. She learned to dance again.

"What helps me is seeing some of my other co-workers do it and then taking a minute to process it and not saying 'Oh no, I can't do it,'" Paige says.

And the determined young lady has indeed done it very well. She eventually landed a spot with the prestigious Alvin Ailey Company before moving to Chicago to become a founding member of Visceral Dance Chicago, an innovative and groundbreaking company where Paige plays an integral part.

"It's the attitude, it's the attitude of working with it and still be able to fully be the artist that she it," says Laura Wade of Visceral Dance Chiacgo.

As for that national Intel commercial, shot in L.A., the technology company wanted to showcase people who are overcoming obstacles. Paige Fraser, dancing beautifully with a curved spine, fit that bill perfectly.

"You know, it's something I have to live with, but it's not a death sentence and I'm able to do such wonderful things with my body so I am very fortunate," Paige says.

Paige also teaches dance in Chicago and in Houston. If you'd like to see her perform in person, Visceral Dance Chicago has major show coming to the Harris Theater on April 9. Some outstanding artistic works will be presented there.

Watch her dance at : http://abc7chicago.com/society/scoliosis-is-no-barrier-for-chicago-dancer/1273365/

Harris Theater

Family health: Scoliosis makes backs curve the wrong way

When you look at the profile of a normal back, you see gentle curves. Spines are shaped this way for flexibility and balance. But if a spine curves from side to side, the person could have a common condition called scoliosis.

scoliosis stockimage

Who gets it?

About 3 percent of people in the U. S. have some degree of this abnormal curvature of the spine.
Anyone can have it, and your risk is higher if a close family member has it.
Signs and symptoms usually begin between the ages of 9 and 15, during the child’s growth spurt. Girls are more likely than boys to develop scoliosis.
Some babies are born with congenital scoliosis, which happens when one or more vertebrae don’t form properly. Adults with scoliosis have usually had it since childhood, though it sometimes develops later in life.

What causes it?

Most cases of scoliosis are idiopathic, which means that the cause is unknown. However, it’s sometimes caused by an injury or by conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or spina bifida. Adults with arthritis of the spine or degeneration of spinal discs sometimes develop scoliosis.

What are the symptoms?

Scoliosis is usually mild and often causes no pain or discomfort. Some children with scoliosis may have a backache or their backs may feel tired after sitting or standing for a long time.
Since scoliosis develops gradually, the abnormal curvature of the spine may not be obvious. Instead, parents, teachers or coaches may notice these signs in a child:
  • Shoulders or hips that are uneven.
  • One shoulder blade that is higher or protrudes more than the other.
  • Rib cages that are at different heights.
  • The entire body leans to one side.
  • The head is not centered over the pelvis.

How is scoliosis diagnosed?

If you think your child may have scoliosis, schedule a visit with your doctor. He or she may start with a simple screening exam called forward-bend test. With this test, the child bends forward 90 degrees with feet together and arms dangling. Viewed from behind, this position can reveal irregularities in the spine.
Your doctor may also ask about symptoms, do a physical exam, and ask if anyone in the family has been diagnosed with scoliosis. If he or she suspects a problem, the next step may be an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis and find out how severe it is.

How is it treated?

There is no cure for scoliosis. However, for most children with this condition the abnormal curve in their spine is mild and doesn’t need treatment. Doctors may recommend regular checkups to see if there have been any changes in the child’s condition.
In some cases, such as a more severe curve or one that is S-shaped instead of C-shaped, treatment may be necessary. Doctors also consider the location of the curve and the age of the child when deciding how to treat scoliosis. Babies born with congenital scoliosis are more likely to need treatment.
For younger children, whose bones are still growing, wearing a brace can help prevent the curve from getting worse. Kids who wear these braces have few activity restrictions, and can take off the brace to participate in sports. They stop wearing the brace when they reach the age when bones are no longer growing.
For severe scoliosis, surgery may be necessary to keep it from progressing. Surgery may involve fusing several vertebrae together so the spine doesn’t continue to curve, and attaching metal rods to hold the bones in position while they heal.

What is the outlook for people with scoliosis?

People with mild scoliosis don’t usually have long term problems, though some back pain is possible as they get older. The more pronounced the curve, the more likely it is for other symptoms to occur, such as persistent pain or nerve damage. Some people with severe scoliosis have trouble breathing. Treatments can help relieve these problems.
Children and teenagers who are diagnosed with scoliosis may feel angry or fearful, and self-conscious if they wear a brace. They do better with strong support from family and friends. A support group for parents and kids with scoliosis is a good place to start.
Treatments for scoliosis have improved over the years – braces are lighter and more comfortable, and surgeries are more effective. Most people with this condition can be as active as they want. In fact, exercise – including sports – is important for keeping bones strong and staying fit.
To learn more about scoliosis, visit the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons at orthoinfo.aaos.org.

Source: Missoulian,11th April 2016 

Titanium vs. cobalt-chrome for scoliosis growing rods: 5 key notes

A new study published in Spine examines implant failure among early-onset scoliosis.
The study compares titanium versus cobalt-chromium growing rods for early-onset scoliosis. There were 13 patients included in the study with 42 lengthening surgeries. The procedures took place in 2007 and patients either underwent the procedure with titanium rod plus titanium connector groups or the cobalt chromium rod plus titanium connection group.

The researchers found:

1. There were implant failures in three patients in the titanium rod group because of rod fracture in two patients and connector fracture in one patient.

2. There was implant failure in six patients in the cobalt-chromium rod plus titanium connection group due to rod fracture in one patient and connector fractures in seven patients.

3. The fracture occurred twice in two patients.

4. In the study, the rod fracture rate decreased for the patients in the cobalt-chromium rods but the rate of connector fracture increased.

5. The metallic strength caused the rod to fracture when titanium rods were used and connectors fractures were most common when cobalt-chromium rods were used in a stress distribution analysis.

"Rod fractures occurred more commonly with titanium rods and connector fractures with cobalt-chromium rods," concluded the study authors.

Source : Beckers Spine , 22th March 2016 

Low-dose X-rays curb radiation risks for scoliosis patients

About 3 percent of children are diagnosed with scoliosis or a curvature of the spine, and many of those children will need corrective braces and frequent X-rays.
A new low-dose X-ray greatly reduces health risks from all that radiation.
For 22 hours a day, 8-year-old Ellie Garman wears a custom body brace.
She has a special name for it.
"It hugs me, like a turtle shell hugs a turtle, so I decided to call it my turtle shell," Garman said.
More than a year ago, during a doctor's visit,Garman's pediatrician noticed a curve in her spine and referred her family to Duke University Hospital orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert Lark.
His goal is to avoid surgery by using a series of corrective braces.
"As (Garman) grows, she's going to outgrow these braces the same way she outgrows her clothes," Lark said. "So, she'll have to be refitted for a new one roughly once a year."
New braces require new X-rays—many of them.
If done with conventional X-rays, the radiation doses increase future health risks, such as breast cancer. Garman's family already has a history of breast cancer.
"It was important for us as a family to minimize that risk," said Katie Garman, Ellie's mother.
Now, Duke has EOS, a low dose, 3D imaging system that scans patients as they stand still.
"(The system) allows for weight-bearing load (to be) applied through the spine," Lark said.
EOS does the job at just one-tenth the amount of radiation as a conventional X-ray, and provides a more detailed image of the spine.
"So, I can measure the height of each vertebral body down to a millimeter or tenth of a millimeter," Lark said.
That data helps in the design of new braces, which Ellie Garman will need to wear until she stops growing.
Ellie Garman now carefully plans two or three hours on days when she can leave her "turtle shell" off, such as when her grandparents visit.
"Because I like to hug them and feel them when they hug me," Ellie Garman said.
Lark says that although scoliosis in children occurs just as much in boys as girls, girls are much more likely to require surgical correction if early detection leading to corrective brace therapy isn't achieved.

Source : WRAL ( 15th April 2016 )

Read More at : http://www.wral.com/low-dose-x-rays-curb-radiation-risks-for-scoliosis-patients/15641962/

Keep scoliosis symptoms at bay with yoga


Have you been told you have scoliosis? Many people, myself included, have been told they have scoliosis at some time in their lives. What is scoliosis? Dr. Edward Kahn is a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in spine and seeing patients here in Crossville. I asked Dr. Kahn about scoliosis and here are some of his thoughts.
Dr. Kahn: Adult scoliosis comes in two flavors: degenerative scoliosis that develops as one gets older and adolescent scoliosis that first develops in the teenage years. The degenerative scoliosis usually involves the lumbar spine and its underlying cause is arthritis. It therefore tends to be painful and a frequent reason for seniors to seek medical care. Adolescent scoliosis may have been mild or major and may or may not be symptomatic in adulthood.
A lot of people are told in their youth that they have scoliosis and they carry it with them for years. It may have been told to them during a school screening when they were told to bend over and a nurse looked at their back. In truth most people have a small curve to their backs and while that may technically be called a “scoliotic curve,” in truth it is just a minor variation of a normal spine and is not likely to cause any pain or problems. Yet some people grasp this diagnosis as the cause of their back pain when in truth it may have nothing to do with it.
For many adults it is the degenerative or arthritic curvature of their back which is the pain generator. If bad enough it can cause pinched nerves and spinal stenosis and require surgical intervention. However for most people it can be managed by maintaining flexibility of the spine, core strengthening and anti-inflammatory medication. Yoga is an excellent way to maintain the flexibility and muscle tone needed to keep the symptoms of this problem at bay.
Cat: Yoga can help people who suffer with scoliosis and the resultant back pain. Many yoga poses focus on lengthening and strengthening the spine and core. This lengthening and strengthening will create more balance in the spine and release tension in the back muscles. A strong core is vital for back challenges. Most yoga classes have a strong focus on the core. In my yoga classes there are always poses and flows that work the mid-section. Creating a strong core helps when you have pain but it can also help prevent pain. 
It is important to work with a trained yoga practitioner who can give you modifications to help with these poses. Yoga is not a cure-all but yoga can give you mental and physical exercises that can help with the challenges that scoliosis present.

Source : Cross Ville, 17th April 2016