For many scoliosis sufferers, diagnosis and treatment occur during adolescence, so it's fitting that this up-to-date look at the subject comes from Lyons, an 18-year-old Yale freshman and national teen spokesperson for the Scoliosis Association. Lyons joins forces with Boachie-Adjei (chief of scoliosis serivce at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery) and psychologist Podzius to exhaustively cover all the relevant ground. They begin by defining the problem: scoliosis is a deviation in growth, possibly genetic, which causes "a three-dimensional curvature of the spine." While lateral curvature causes a noticeable bend to one side, rotation of the spine also rotates the rib cage, which causes compression of the organs within. The authors describe various types of scoliosis (some straighten by themselves, with physical maturity; some, if left untreated, will progress throughout adulthood) and diagnostic techniques. They then cover treatment: bracing and surgery are the choices, depending on type and severity of the disease. The authors look in detail at surgical complications, pain management techniques, "How to Cope with Physical Challenges and Stigma on a Daily Basis," and the search for a genetic cause. All of this material is interwoven with details of Lyons's own story and those of others. The nuts and bolts of scoliosis: from surgery to social concerns, comprehensive, current advice in the sympathetic and realistic voice of a fellow sufferer.
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