Scoliosis is a condition that usually affects children and causes the spine to have an abnormal sideways curvature. This is usually "S" or "C" shaped and occurs most often during the growth spurt before puberty. It can affect any part of the spine, but the most common regions are the level of the chest and the lower back.
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that usually starts to develop in children just before and during the puberty. Scoliosis is a three-dimensional spine deformity characterized by lateral (>10°) and rotational curvature of the spine. The most common form is called adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), which usually becomes evident in the early adolescent years in approximately 3% of children under age 16 and has a genetic tendency. Less common scoliosis types are sometimes caused by cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, neurological diseases, birth defects, or spinal injuries.
Age is the most important risk factor as scoliosis generally develops during the period of adolescence. While girls and boys are equally at risk, girls are at a higher risk of the condition worsening and needing treatment.
Signs & Symptoms:
Scoliosis symptoms include the following:
There will be a change in the appearance of the child suffering from scoliosis.
The shoulders will become uneven, and one may become more prominent than the other.
The waist may become uneven or one hip may become higher than the other.
In some cases, the spine twists, causing the ribs on one side to stick out.
The doctor will conduct a physical exam of the child and check for the spinal curves (may use a scoliometer), muscle strength, sensation and reflexes. In order to assess the spinal curvature, the spine specialist may advise x-rays (scoliogram). If the doctor wants to investigate an underlying condition, MRI and/or CT scan scans may also be advised.
Speak to the spine specialist at Medcare to understand the available treatments for scoliosis.
Effective treatment of patients with scoliosis should be able to reduce the risk of a curve progressing to a point where surgery is indicated or, for severe curves, to be able to identify patients who would benefit from surgery before the deformity progresses to a degree that increases the risks associated with surgery.
Brace treatment for adolescent moderate scoliosis (25-40°) has been the most prescribed non-operative method of treatment. Other means for non-operative treatment of scoliosis have also been studied. Specific exercises used to supplement brace wear or prevent progression in mild curves have been reported.
A randomized clinical trial of patients with mild scoliosis of 10-20° has shown that scoliosis specific exercises may prevent progression to the level of deformity that would result in brace treatment. High-quality studies have established that non-operative treatment with bracing and exercises may reduce the number of patients progressing to a surgical level.
To be effective, however, these treatments need to be applied to smaller curves prior to skeletal maturity. This places emphasis on the need for earlier detection of scoliosis.
Cases of severe and progressive spinal deformities, despite conservative treatment, can be treated thorough different surgical techniques, including the use of the new magnetic growing rods device for early-onset scoliosis, anterior, posterior or combined spinal approaches for spinal correction and fixation, among others. If detected and operated at the appropriate timing, at the specialized center, the surgery can achieve better correction of the deformity, with less risk of complications.
A: A brace is generally worn until the child’s bones stop growing. For girls, this happens about two years after menstruation starts. For boys, when they need to shave daily. In both cases, there should be no further increase in height. Then you can discontinue the brace.
A: Yes, scoliosis in adults can occur, although this is much rarer than among children. You may have had an undiagnosed condition as an adolescent. Or you may have developed scoliosis in later life due to age related degeneration of the spine.
A: Exercise is beneficial to children with scoliosis. Exercise strengthens the core muscles that support the spine. It keeps the body agile and prevents stiffness. Sports are good for your child, too, though you may need to show her how to prevent excessive pressure on her spine. Scoliosis exercises could include stretching, swimming, cycling and strength training.
A: Actually, it’s very unlikely that scoliosis will go away on its own. Once your child has been diagnosed as having scoliosis, you should meet a specialist and explore all the non-surgical options before you.
With the right treatment, further progression of scoliosis can be halted. On the other hand, left untreated, it could trouble your child in the future due to pain, deformity and difficulty in breathing. At that time, surgery may be the only option.
A: While some people are born with scoliosis, most of the patients develops their spinal deformities during the growth spurt of the adolescence, being the most common form called “adolescent idiopathic scoliosis”, which affects approximately 3% of children under age 16 and has a genetic tendency. Scoliosis may also appears at older age, although not so commonly, usually associated with other spinal disorders. Some of the first symptoms of scoliosis are a marked difference in the height of each shoulder, the head not looking aligned with the rest of the body, uneven hips and a slight bump in the mid or lower back, sometimes accompanied by back pain.
While these are just a few signs and symptoms of scoliosis, it’s best to get yourself tested by a specialized doctor to be completely sure if you suffer from it.
Wondering if your symptoms could mean scoliosis? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today for diagnosis.
A: There are several kinds of scoliosis that you can be diagnosed with. Depending on your condition, the right treatment will be recommended to you. For instance - children are mainly treated through exercises and regular monitoring which help the spine become normal with time. However, for more severe curves, braces can also be recommended to try to stop the progression of the spine curvature during the adolescence. If the condition progresses rapidly, then we may even consider surgery, to insert internal implants and rods to correct the spinal deformity. Spinal fusion surgery is one of the most common surgical treatments for this condition, which improves the curve and helps prevent further problems.
Need a safe treatment for your scoliosis? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.
A: Most people tend to think that the primary reason for scoliosis is bad posture. Scientifically speaking, bad posture refers to a position in which the body structures work hard to balance the body due to undue pressure on it.
However, when we talk about scoliosis, the most common type: adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, is a condition in which the spine becomes abnormally curved due to genetic influence or unknown reasons. The most common postural spinal deformity is called “kyphosis” (hump at the back region when you see from the side view), which can be caused due to bad posture in some cases. However, it can usually be reversed with the proper physiotherapy while the child or adolescent is still growing.
Want to know how to take care of your scoliosis and prevent it from worsening? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.
A: Many of our patients ask us whether the position in which they sleep has resulted in scoliosis. The truth is that an improper sleeping position does not cause or worsen your scoliosis, but it can aggravate the discomfort you feel if you do have the condition.
Someone who already has scoliosis may find certain sleeping positions to be more uncomfortable as it can trigger the pain or cause a pinching sensation while they are asleep. Also, people who have been advised to use braces for scoliosis might find sleeping in different positions uncomfortable as parts of the brace may dig into the skin. Investing in a good quality mattress and pillow can help provide relief to such patients.
Need the best care of your scoliosis? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today
A: There are many ways to fix scoliosis. For some patients, we only recommend specific exercises and stretching along with physiotherapy to reduce the pain and improve the condition of the sciatic nerve. However, for those suffering from moderate to severe scoliosis, we recommend special braces, and even surgery, according to the severity of the case.
So, if your scoliosis is getting worse or difficult to manage, consult a specialized doctor for the right treatment.
Not sure which treatment is the best for your scoliosis? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.