What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. The normal shape of a person’s spine includes a curve at the top of the shoulder and a curve at the lower back. If your spine is curved from side to side or in an “S” or “C” shape, you might have scoliosis. Scoliosis is not always noticeable.
This condition is most common in the later stages of childhood or the early teenage years when the person is still growing fast. It is more common in females than in males. Moreover, studies also show that scoliosis may cause osteoporosis and osteopenia.
In most cases, the person who has this does not need treatment. Why? Because the curve often does not progress a significant amount. However, doctors may still recommend a combination of back bracing and physical therapy. This all depends on the degree of curvature and the age of the child. Furthermore, this condition is often diagnosed during the first 7 years of a child’s life.
- Birth defects
- Neurological abnormalities
- Genetic condition
Symptoms that may show depends on how severe the condition is. Some most common symptoms associated with scoliosis include:
- One shoulder blade that’s higher than the other.
- One shoulder blade sticks out more than the other.
- Uneven hips.
- A rotating spine.
- Problems breathing because of a reduced area in the chest for lungs to expand back pain.
In most cases, childhood and adolescent scoliosis is mild and does not need treatment. If needed, the following would be the treatment recommendations the doctor might give the patient:
In childhood scoliosis, a doctor may use plaster casting to help the infant’s spine grow into a typical position. The cast attaches to the outside of the infant’s body, and they will wear it at all times.
Bracing is recommended if a person has moderate scoliosis and the bones are still growing. The brace will prevent further curvature. However, it will not cure or reverse scoliosis. The person will need to wear the brace at all times, even during at night. Its effectiveness depends with the number of hours per day the person wears the brace.
Some people visit a chiropractor to relieve the pain and discomfort of scoliosis. Chiropractic doctors manipulate the spine and provide alternative treatments. They maintain that realigning the spine help promote healing and well-being. However, again, this is not a cure. It does not resolve the curvature of the spine. Research has not proven any chiropractic manipulations that directly benefits scoliosis.
Surgery is usually reserved for people with curves greater than 40 degrees. It is important to talk to your doctor about this option if you’ve been diagnosed and feel the curvature is interrupting your daily life.
Spinal fusion is the standard scoliosis surgery. In this procedure, the doctor fuses your vertebrae together using a bone graft, rods, and screws. The bone graft consists of bone or a material like it.
A person should speak to a doctor if they suspect scoliosis. An early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent future complications.