Scoliosis is one of the most commonly occurring conditions related to the spine. It causes the spine to curve abnormally to one side. It’s important to bear in mind that the normal spine has a curve at the lower back and at the top of the shoulder. But in the case of scoliosis, the spine is curved in a “C” or “S” or from side to side shape. According to the AANS (American Association of Neurological Surgeon) stats, the cause of 80 percent of scoliosis occurring is unknown.
Scoliosis is most commonly diagnosed among children between zero to seven years of age, and the most common causes are:
- Genetic conditions
- Neurological abnormalities
- Birth defects
Most Common Types
As mentioned, in most cases, the cause of scoliosis is not definite, and it’s known as Idiopathic scoliosis. This type of scoliosis is broken down into the following age groups:
- Adults: More than 18 years
- Adolescent: 11 to 18 years
- Juvenile: 4 to 10 years
- Infant 0 to 3 years
Symptoms of Scoliosis
The symptoms of scoliosis vary from person to person, depending upon the degree of curve. However, the most common symptoms are:
- One of the shoulder blades is higher or sticks out more as compared to the other.
- Rotating spine
- Uneven hips
- Back pain
- Breathing problems because of the decreased chest area for the lungs’ expansion
Causes of Scoliosis
As discussed, most of the time, it’s not possible to determine the cause of scoliosis. The most common causes that doctors usually identify are as followed:
- Spinal infections or injuries
- Birth defects such as spina bifida that impacts the spinal bones of infants
- Genetic disorders such as muscular dystrophy that cause muscular weakness
- Nervous system disorders such as cerebral palsy affect thinking, seeing, hearing, learning, and movement
The scoliosis treatment depends upon multiple factors, and the most important one is the degree of curve. Other factors include:
- The type of scoliosis
- The type and amount of curvature
- The age of the patient
The most common treatment types are surgery and bracing.
Doctors usually go for this treatment type when the curve of the spine is more than 40 degrees. However, a person must consult with the doctor about surgery if s/he is suffering from discomfort and the scoliosis is disturbing her/his life. The most common type of scoliosis surgery is spinal fusion, where the surgeon fuses the vertebrae of the patient together by using screws, rods, and bone grafts. The bone graft is either made of bone or a similar material. This method keeps the spine of the patient in a straight position, but there are some critical risks that a patient must know before undergoing surgery.
- Nerve damage
- Severe pain
- Risk of infection
- Failure to heal
- Excessive bleeding
AANS (American Association of Neurological Surgeons) suggests that a person shouldn’t undergo surgery and opt for bracing if s/he is still growing and the spinal curve is somewhere between 25 to 40 degrees. It’s important to note that the bracing doesn’t straighten up the spine. However, it can keep the curvature from increasing. The following are the most common types of braces that are used to help people with scoliosis.
This type of bracing covers the patient’s entire torso (except arms and legs) by starting at the neck. It’s especially used for scoliosis conditions where the other type of bracing (Underarm) is not helpful.
This type of bracing is virtually invisible as it fits close to the patient’s body. It’s made of plastic, and the patient needs to wear it around the lower part of his/her body to treat lower spine curves.
There are certain types of therapies devised to help people with scoliosis to manage pain, such as:
- Chiropractic Treatment
Bear in mind that these practices won’t help the patient to correct/decrease curvature. Other than the therapies mentioned above, your doctor might suggest some advanced techniques deal with scoliosis pain which includes:
- Electrical stimulation
- Back braces
If you’re suffering from scoliosis, then talk to your doctor right away without wasting any more time. Remember, exercise can improve your back’s posture, flexibility, and strength, but you should only practice it if it’s advised by your doctor.