Happy Blogmas Day Eighteen everyone. How was everyone’s day? Today’s post will be about the history surrounding scoliosis. I love learning about the history of disorders and what led to the treatments and terms that we see today. I wrote two posts already discussing the history of cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Feel free to read those at your leisure by looking in the archives on the side or typing it into the search box.
Scoliosis is a disorder that has affected the human population for a large portion of history. There were ancient works of philosophy, religion, and myths that date back as far as 3500 BC describing people with spinal deformities. Hippocrates was the first individual to explicitly discuss scoliosis in the fifth century BC. He wrote about the magnitude of deformity and the knowledge of curve progression during the formation of the spine in human growth. He believe the cause was due to chronic poor posture and invented the first recorded treatment that included an extension apparatus to cause axial distraction which separated the joint surfaces without rupturing their binding ligaments and without displacement.
Claudius Galen is credited for assigning the different forms of scoliosis such as Kyphosis and Lordosis to the medical condition. He experimented with chest binders and jackets to correct the curvature of the spine along with the guidance of the treatment explained by Hippocrates. He thought that consistent exercise of the rib cage through singing and respiratory exercises was a remedy to correcting some of the disorder’s symptoms.
The Dark Ages prevented any development from continuing in the treatment of scoliosis and saw it as characterized by a curse of divine retribution because it appeared to be common among the heretics at the time. Patients were put in a device called “the rack” which mission was to correct the curvature through distraction.
The surgical attempts to treat scoliosis was not tried until the mid- to late- nineteenth century when Jules Guerin used percutaneous myotomies of the vertebral musculature as well as bracing. He experienced success with fifty patients but was challenged by many of his colleagues who found that revisions were necessary after looking it over.
Tomorrow I will be in the adult epilepsy monitoring unit for an eight hour EEG. Wish me luck. I will try to talk to you all tomorrow.