What is Scoliosis? How come this is the first time I’m coming across the term? Those were some of the questions I had the day a friend on Twitter retweeted Abimbola’s tweet to my timeline. I quickly engaged her in a discussion where she talked about Scoliosis and B.A.C.S, an NGO she co-founded with Abby Oni. I then went through the Twitter profile of B.A.C.S and got to know more about their activities and steps already taken to spread awareness of Scoliosis.
After that day, whenever I would talk with friends, I’d ask if they knew what scoliosis was, the common response was no, I would then proceed to share the little knowledge I had on the subject. While also talking about B.A.C.S as my source. It was during one of these conversations I was having with friends that a particular friend of mine mentioned that her sister is a ScoliWarrior as we say at B.A.C.S. and then, scoliosis became more than just a term to me. I became interested in actively helping to increase awareness of Scoliosis. Luckily for me, around this time B.A.C.S was looking to host its first open house aimed at increasing awareness of, detecting, treating and living with Scoliosis. I signed up as a volunteer and when the time came for registration, I promptly did so and set about preparing for the event. The event was scheduled to hold at the 2nd floor of no 3, Obafemi Awolowo way, at 10:00am, but volunteers were required to be at the venue earlier than then.
Then came the day of the event and although it rained that morning, I arrived at the venue at about 8:45am, and was delighted to find that despite the rain I wasn’t the only volunteer on ground. We had little to do as the venue had already been set up prior to the day. At about 10am, the first set of attendees arrived and were duly welcomed by the B.A.C.S team. Shortly after the arrival of other attendees, the event kicked off with a heartfelt rendition of the second stanza of the national anthem led by Abimbola and Christian. Next on the agenda was an introduction to B.A.C.S, the journey so far.
The first resource person for the day was Dr. Obiodu of the National Orthopaedic Hospital Igbobi, with a topic he titled scoliosis 101-Idiopathic scoliosis. Dr. Obiodu’s session was thorough as he guided us through the meaning of Idiopathic Scoliosis, its causes, classification, symptoms, investigations treatment objectives and the operative and non- operative treatment of Scoliosis.
Dr. Obiodu taught us that idiopathic Scoliosis has no known cause, may be genetically transferred, it is more common in the female gender than in the male gender and that 80-90% of the time happens during adolescence. He also taught that idiopathic Scoliosis has no known cure but can be treated to arrest curve progression, correct deformity, maintain individual’s balance and preserve bodily functions.
Non-operative treatment techniques include observation, physiotherapy and bracing. Dr. Obiodu also stated that surgery as an operative treatment technique is reserved for high-risk cases.
Next to address the gathering was Mrs. Tinuade Olarewaju from PhysioCraft, she titled her talk Physiotherapy & Scoliosis. She spoke on physiotherapy as a non-operative treatment for Scoliosis.
Mr. Aguda from GreaterWalks titled his talk Scoliosis and Bracing: Bracing as a treatment option. Mr. Aguda talked about the degree of Curvature as mild, moderate and severe, goals of conservative treatment, types of Bracing and the cons of Bracing in Nigeria. We learnt that bracing doesn’t cure/remove the curve, but rather reduces the curve progression.
Dr. Michelle Neff of Physio Centers of Africa was the fourth resource person for the day and she titled her session Exercise for Scoliosis. Dr. Neff’s session was very hands-on, called for volunteers and her call was heeded by 2 ScoliWarriors who demonstrated the exercise under Dr. Neff’s guidance. We were also given massage balls courtesy of physio centers of Africa.
Next, we had 3 ScoliWarriors – Itunu, Christian and Zainab Dina share their experiences and it was a very touching moment as they took us on a journey of their experiences living with Scoliosis.
After the ScoliWarriors had shared their stories, it was now time for questions. Abimbola led the Q&A session, questions were entertained from the attendees and satisfactorily answered to by the resource persons. Some answers to questions asked include – Bracing shouldn’t prevent one from exercising, there’s no special diet for Scoliosis, there are no drugs to improve the curvature, Scoliosis doesn’t hinder participation in sports, but caution is advised if the curve is severe. With this, we came to the end of the Scoliosis Open House.
The event was well organized and within the time stipulated. I learnt a lot that I’ll be sharing with friends and I hope to continue doing my part in increasing the awareness of Scoliosis. Thank you to the resource persons – Dr. Obiodu, Mrs. Tinuade, Mr. Aguda & Dr. Michelle for the knowledge imparted, Abby & Abimbola for the idea and vision to found B.A.C.S. and also to the other volunteers, it was a pleasure serving with you.
Precious U is one of our Super-Star volunteers at Beyond A Curved Spine! You can find him on twitter @kulpresh