Understanding The Basics of Scoliosis
Scoliosis is an irregular curvature of the spine. Demonstrates, depending on its severity, scoliosis can affect a person’s posture, digestive system, and even heart and lung function, necessitating spine surgery.
Scoliosis can occur in both children and adults. Adolescent scoliosis may result from sporadic or sudden body growth. Adult scoliosis can stem from diseased musculature, partial paralysis, or bone degeneration. When abnormal spinal curvature is less than 40 degrees, an individual will often only show symptoms of irregular shoulder or hip height. As the abnormal curvature becomes more pronounced, patients experience more severe medical issues. In the most serious scoliosis cases, both cardiovascular and respiratory functions are affected.
Scoliosis is one reason why an individual might be referred to a spine specialist. With this condition, the patient’s spine curves in an abnormal manner from side to side. Often, scoliosis is diagnosed in children, in which case it is usually a genetic condition. However, adults can also develop scoliosis later in life, often because of the wear and tear of the joints of the spine. Treatment options typically include bracing if the patient is a growing child. For some patients, spine surgery may be recommended.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves sideways. Although it can appear during adulthood, it’s most common in children right before the onset of puberty. Some cases are mild, while others can lead to disability. Here is what you need to know about this condition, including how scoliosis surgery can help.
Causes of Scoliosis
The exact cause of scoliosis is unknown, but there is likely a hereditary component, as having a family history of the condition raises your risk. In some cases, scoliosis is associated with another medical condition, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, birth defects, or spinal injuries and infections.
There are different types of scoliosis, which are categorized according to the underlying cause. For example, neuromuscular scoliosis occurs when a patient has abnormal nerves or muscles. Patients with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, or conditions associated with paralysis are most likely to be diagnosed with neuromuscular scoliosis. Congenital scoliosis is present at birth and it is the result of a bone problem. When scoliosis occurs later in life, it is typically degenerative scoliosis. This can be caused by a traumatic bone injury, osteoporosis, or previous back surgery. Most often; however, patients are diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis, which means that the cause is not known.
Symptoms of Scoliosis
With scoliosis, the curve of the spine can cause the shoulders and waist to appear uneven. Additionally, one hip may be higher than the other or one shoulder blade may seem more prominent. In mild cases, these differences may be so subtle that you don’t notice them initially. As the condition progresses, other symptoms may occur, such as the ribs on one side sticking out more than those on the other side. When this happens, chest cavity space can be restricted and the lungs may be compressed.
The signs of scoliosis aren’t always apparent. Your healthcare provider may diagnose you with the condition during a routine physical exam. When symptoms are evident, they typically involve asymmetry of the body. You might notice that one of your hips is a little higher than the other or that you have unusual curves in your upper back. Some individuals with scoliosis experience lower back pain or discomfort. Complications may sometimes occur, such as breathing difficulties, spine or nerve damage, and persistent pain due to wear and tear damage.
Treatments of Scoliosis
Most cases of scoliosis are mild and don’t require treatment. When treatment is needed, the first step is usually a brace that is used to prevent the curve of the spine from getting worse. Children usually need to wear a brace until their bones stop growing. In severe cases, spine surgery may be needed. Spinal fusion surgery is usually the best treatment for scoliosis.
Typically, bracing is the first recommended treatment option, particularly if the patient is still in his or her growth years and the curvatures are between 25 and 40 degrees. A back brace can be custom made for the patient’s unique curvature. Sometimes, spine surgery may be appropriate if the patient has curvatures beyond 40 to 50 degrees. A spine surgeon can straighten the spine to some degree andprevent the abnormal curvature from worsening. Metallic implants and bone grafts are used to fuse the vertebrae together.