Improving the Self-esteem of Young Adults with Scoliosis

woman standing confidently

Teens want to fit in with their peers. They want to wear the same clothes, listen to the same music, and watch the same television shows to gain acceptance from other people in the same age range.

It is not about vanity. These young people grapple with peer pressure, social anxiety, embarrassment, and humiliation in the hopes that they can blend in with the crowd because of how their brains are wired. Adolescence does not just cause acne breakouts and hair growth in weird places. It also alters the part of the brain responsible for personality expression and social behavior.

So, teenagers who are a bit different from their peers lose confidence.

Scoliosis Impact on Self-Esteem

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves from side to side. It alters the shape of a person’s back, rib cage, shoulders, and hips.

It affects 2 to 3 percent of the population across the United States.

While it develops from infancy or early childhood, onset does not happen until the person reaches 10 t0 15. In many cases, the curving of the spine is mild enough not to require treatment. However, if the curve increases through time, the doctor will require the patient to wear braces to prevent the condition from progressing or undergo surgery to diminish deformity.

Scoliosis is a medical condition that is, in no way, caused by the patient’s actions or behaviors. However, many people who have it do experience insecurity because of it.

Insecurity is common among teens, but it should not be. It can negatively impact their quality of life and deprive them of opportunities to make friends, explore their own interests, gain skills, learn about themselves and the world around them, and achieve their goals. Teens with scoliosis deserve to live confidently and be able to pursue any activity they desire.

three surgeons discussing results

Pursue Treatment

Scoliosis can lead to back pains, stiffness, and fatigue. The condition places stress on the spinal disk. Moreover, it strains the joints, resulting in inflammation. In addition, the curving of the spine stretches and, therefore, irritates the nerves.

Pain does not exactly inspire confidence, especially among young people. It can even make them more reclusive because of fear that it will negatively impact how they act around others.

Addressing the symptoms of scoliosis can help patients feel more at ease. Some patients found relief with physical therapy designed for those who have been diagnosed with scoliosis. It can reduce pain and loosen up stiffness and expand the body’s range of motions.

Many patients also reported gaining confidence after they have undergone surgery for the condition.

In one research, scientists assessed the self-esteem and overall life satisfaction among patients who had been diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The participants included those who have had orthopedic spinal surgery and those who have not.

The authors of the paper found that self-esteem and life satisfaction increased significantly post-intervention among those who have been surgically treated compared to those who did not.

Talk About Feelings

Patients need to understand their condition. At the same time, parents should not limit the talk to symptoms, treatments, and how they will impact their day-to-day activities. Patients should be allowed to also voice out how scoliosis makes them feel. Communicate without judgment because, sometimes, the opportunity to vent out and be understood can offer emotional release.

Unfortunately, patients with scoliosis are at a higher risk of depression. One paper warned that the risk of depression was more pronounced among middle-aged patients and young adults.

Being surrounded by a loving and supportive circle can definitely improve mental well-being. However, sometimes, the expertise of a professional is needed.

A mental health professional can help them navigate their emotions and guide them toward building more positive mental health. Therapy will address the issues that lead to low self-esteem and reshape negative thoughts into something more positive to build confidence. It can also equip the individual with techniques to block out negative thoughts, positive affirmations, and ways to approach situations where they feel ashamed or nervous.

Building confidence among young adults is not easy. It will take time and effort from the people around them and them.

Those who have scoliosis also have to work on their self-esteem. While the condition is not uncommon, it can be a source of insecurity, especially among young people. By pursuing treatment, being surrounded by a supportive circle, and speaking to a mental health professional, they can learn to live with the condition happily and with confidence.

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