About Scoliosis - Scoliosis and Health Discussion Forum
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28 Nov About Scoliosis

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is an abnormal curve in the spine. The bones of the spine of a person with scoliosis twist sideways, forming a “C” or “S” shaped curve.

About 2-3% of Americas have scoliosis by age 16 (according to WebMD). People of all ages have scoliosis, although it most often occurs during the growth experienced right before puberty, causing pre-teens and teenager (between ages 9 and 15 years) to be impacted more than other age groups. In most of these cases, the curvature is mild. However, some children develop spine deformities that increase in severity as they grow up.

Mild backbone usually doesn’t need to be treated. However, some people have such a severe curvature of the spine that their lungs can’t function adequately. Girls are more likely than boys to develop scoliosis.

Man with backache. Pain in the man's body. Black and white photo with red dots

Causes of Scoliosis

Here are some of the types of scoliosis, and their causes:

  • Idiopathic scoliosis: The term “idiopathic” refers to a disease, condition or disorder where the cause is unknown. This majority of scoliosis cases are idiopathic.
  • Congenital scoliosis: The disorder is present at birth, due to bone abnormalities.
  • Degenerative scoliosis: The disorder results from bone trauma due to an illness, injury, back surgery or a bone disease such as osteoporosis.
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis: The disorder results from medical conditions relating to the muscles or nerves, such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy or spina bifida.

Scoliosis can be caused other medical conditions, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. But for the majority of scoliosis cases, the cause of the disorder is unknown.

The disorder can run in families.

Symptoms of Scoliosis

There are some physical indicators of scoliosis, including:

  1. Uneven shoulders
  2. Uneven waist
  3. One shoulder blade that is more prominent than the other
  4. One hip that is more prominent than the other
  5. One side of the rib cage sticks out more than the other
  6. The spine / body tilts or twists to one side

Although severe scoliosis can cause back pain and difficulty breathing, there is generally no pain associated with the mild curvature of the spine, and so often the disorder goes unnoticed.

Diagnosing Scoliosis

A routine checkup by a pediatrician or family doctor may lead to the detection of spine curvature. A physical examination of the bones and an x-ray of the spine are then made to determine the type of scoliosis.

Treatment for Scoliosis

Adolescents diagnosed with scoliosis are monitored regularly, usually with physical exams and X-rays. In most cases, no treatment is necessary. For cases with the spinal curvature is between 25 and 40 degrees, the patient may be required to wear a brace to prevent the curvature from getting worse.

But if the condition worsens over time, surgery may be recommended to both reduce the severity of the curvature and prevent it from worsening further.

Although studies have shown that exercising won’t prevent scoliosis from progressing, people with scoliosis should stay active for their overall health.

More information about the types of braces and surgery for scoliosis can be found at mayoclinic.org.