Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve to the side. It can happen at any age, but it is most common in children and adolescents. Scoliosis can be mild, moderate, or severe. Mild cases often do not require treatment, but moderate and severe cases may need to be treated with a brace, physical therapy, or surgery.
Scoliosis is a medical condition that involves an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine. Instead of the spine's usual straight alignment, it takes on a C or S-shaped curve. This curvature can vary in severity and may affect any part of the spine, including the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), or lumbar (lower back) regions.
Scoliosis often develops during the growth spurt just before puberty, but it can also be caused by other factors, such as congenital disabilities, neuromuscular conditions, or spinal injuries. In most cases, the cause of scoliosis remains unknown and is classified as idiopathic scoliosis.
The cause of most cases of scoliosis is unknown. However, some cases of scoliosis are caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or spina bifida. Scoliosis can also be caused by a spinal injury or infection.
Some of the most common symptoms of scoliosis include:
- Uneven shoulders
- One shoulder blade that is more prominent than the other
- Uneven hips
- One side of the ribcage jutting forward
- A prominence on one side of the back when bending forward
- Back pain
Scoliosis is usually diagnosed during a routine physical exam. Your doctor will look for any signs of curvature in your spine. If they suspect scoliosis, they may order X-rays to confirm the diagnosis and measure the degree of curvature.
The treatment for scoliosis depends on the severity of the curvature and the individual's age and overall health. Mild cases of scoliosis may not require any treatment. However, moderate and severe cases may need to be treated with a brace, physical therapy, or surgery.
Benefits Of Treatment
Treating scoliosis can help to:
- Prevent the curvature from getting worse
- Reduce pain and other symptoms
- Improve posture
- Improve lung function
- Improve self-esteem
Risks Of Treatment
The risks of treating scoliosis vary depending on the type of treatment. The risks of bracing and physical therapy are generally low. However, surgery carries more risks, such as infection, bleeding, and nerve damage.
The recovery time from surgery for scoliosis depends on the severity of the curvature and the type of surgery performed. Most people are able to return to their normal activities within a few weeks or months.
There is no known way to prevent scoliosis. However, early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent the curvature from getting worse and causing complications.
We understand that scoliosis can be a scary condition, but want to assure you that there is help available. If you or your child has been diagnosed with scoliosis, please make an appointment so we can talk with you about the best treatment options for you.
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Corrective surgery to straighten the spine using rods
Patient:Miss S, aged 13
Treatment:Corrective surgery to straighten the spine using rods
Mr Rai's Notes
The importance of surveillance. Scoliosis often affects young children and it is important that they are reviewed on a regular basis to monitor their condition. Miss S presented to the scoliosis clinic at age 11 following examination by a school nurse. This first x-ray (1)shows a relatively mild curve and arrangements were made to see her regularly at 6 month intervals. The next x-ray (2) shows the progression of the scoliosis after one year. This is a significant scoliosis which would have caused problems in the future both in terms of increasing back pain and a highly visible deformity.
The decision to operate on Miss S was undertaken by a multidisciplinary team. The patient and her family were put in touch with other families who had undergone a similar operation. The operation was performed using titanium screws and rods (3) without any complication with a very pleasing result and the added advantage of Miss S gaining 2-3 inches in height. She is now leading a normal life but is reviewed in clinic on a yearly basis.
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