Signs, symptoms and treatment of scoliosis as Kerry Katona shares diagnosis

Watch: Kerry Katona has been diagnosed with scoliosis

Kerry Katona has revealed she has been diagnosed with scoliosis.

The former Atomic Kitten singer recently shared she had been left bedbound with pain in her back and hips, and after undergoing tests, has been told they stem from the condition.

According to the NHS, scoliosis is a back condition where the spine twists and curves to the side. While it can affect people of any age, it most commonly starts in children aged 10 to 15 to coincide with adolescence.

Writing in her weekly column for new! magazine Katona explains: "I was diagnosed with scoliosis last week, after having trouble with my back. I was in so much pain that I was in tears."

The star says she is now relieved to have a diagnosis as she's now got a "recovery plan" in place.

Read more: Kerry Katona reveals shock medical diagnosis, Bang Showbiz, 2-min read

Kerry Katona has revealed she has been diagnosed with lymphoedema. (Getty Images)
Kerry Katona has revealed she has been diagnosed with lymphoedema. (Getty Images)

Celebrities with scoliosis

Kerry Katona isn't the only celebrity to discuss their experiences of living with the condition.

Naomie Harris previously shared how childhood scoliosis had a profound impact on her health and Princess Beatrice also shared scars from the surgery she had after being diagnosed with the back issue.

The condition also made headlines this year after Barbie maker Mattel made history by introducing its first doll with scoliosis.

The toy company’s line for Barbie’s little sister, Chelsea, saw a new addition that features curvature of the spine and a removable back brace, aimed at normalising the equipment and encouraging children to celebrate inclusion.

It was news that was no doubt welcomed by the estimated 2-3% of the UK population living with scoliosis, including me.

I was diagnosed with the condition aged 10 after my parents spotted one of my hips was higher than the other and I had something of a "wonky" stance.

Signs of scoliosis

  • a visibly curved spine

  • leaning to one side

  • uneven shoulders

  • one shoulder or hip sticking out

  • the ribs sticking out on one side

  • clothes not fitting well

Tick, tick, tick and er, tick.

Mattel have introduced a new Barbie doll with scoliosis. (Mattel/PA Images)
Mattel have introduced a new Barbie doll with scoliosis. (Mattel/PA Images)

What causes scoliosis?

In most cases, including my own, the cause of scoliosis is unknown. This is called idiopathic scoliosis.

As the NHS points out, idiopathic scoliosis cannot be prevented and is not thought to be linked to things such as bad posture, exercise or diet, but your genes may make you more likely to get it, as it sometimes runs in families.

Less commonly, scoliosis may be caused by the bones in the spine not forming properly in the womb – this is called congenital scoliosis and is present from birth.

It can also be caused by an underlying nerve or muscle condition, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy – this is called neuromuscular scoliosis.

Read more: What causes back pain and how to deal with it, Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read

Scoliosis is most common in children aged ten to 15. (Getty Images)
Scoliosis is most common in children aged ten to 15. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, degenerative scoliosis, which affects older adults, is caused by wear and tear of the spine with age.

How is scoliosis treated?

Treatment of the condition can depend on your age, how severe the curve is, and whether it's likely to get worse with time, but can include plaster casts, back braces and in some cases surgery to control the growth of the spine until an operation to straighten it can be done when the patient stops growing.

While doctors were undecided whether my own curved spine required surgery, my parents were keen to try less severe treatments first.

So, aged 11, and in my first few months of secondary school I was fitted with a plaster cast, or 'jacket' as it was described by doctors then.

Read more: S Club 7's Jo O'Meara shares 'very painful' back op recovery, Yahoo Life UK, 3-min read

A little like the casts you'd have fitted for a broken leg, the jacket was something of an oversized hard vest and was pretty difficult to hide under my smart, new uniform.

After three months, it was replaced with a plastic back brace, which I was to wear for 23 hours a day until I stopped growing, which in my case was just after I turned 17.

Apart from in hospital, when I was with other children with the condition, I never met anyone else living with scoliosis.

And I'd be lying if I said I didn't sometimes feel alone in my struggles: attempting to hide my brace under clothes (I found shellsuits to be the best, remember them?), trying to concentrate on lessons and not the itch right at the bottom of my brace and wanting to do everything my friends could do.

The condition is thought to affect 2-3% of the population. (Getty Images)
The condition is thought to affect 2-3% of the population. (Getty Images)

So I have to admit I was overjoyed when I learned Mattel were introducing a Barbie doll with the condition.

Back then, I would have loved the idea of a doll who was just like me and hearing news of the launch sparked a stark reminder of the importance of representation, something Mattel seem particularly good at in their ongoing drive to introduce inclusive ranges of their popular toys.

Ditto it is always comforting to hear a celebrity raising awareness about the condition via the sharing of their own experiences.

So a big round of applause to both Mattel and Kerry Katona from me. You've made this "wonky" girl very happy!

For further information about scoliosis visit Scoliosis Association UK.

Additional reporting PA.