Scoliosis is an unusual curvature of the spine. Usually, a spine is curved in the top and the lower back, but when it is curved towards one side, it is scoliosis. People suffering from conditions like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy can get scoliosis, but in most cases, the cause is unknown.
While most cases are mild, sometimes it worsens when the child grows. In severe cases, it can make the person disabled or decrease the space available within the chest, which makes difficult for the lungs to work correctly.
Common Symptoms of scoliosis
An individual suffering from scoliosis might get symptoms like
- Irregular shoulders
- One shoulder blade is more noticeable than the other
- Irregular waist
- One side of the rib cage coming forward.’
- One side of the hip is high than the other side
- While bending in the forward direction, one side of the back comes forward
In many cases, the spine also rotates or sometimes twists, making the ribs or the muscles come out farther than the one on the opposite side. You should consult a doctor if you see any symptoms of scoliosis in your child. Sometimes minor curves start developing, which your child may not know as the curves create very slowly without causing pain.
What causes scoliosis?
The exact cause of scoliosis is yet to be known, but it is believed to be because of hereditary factors as it runs in families. Some of the common kind of scoliosis is caused because of
- Some neuromuscular disorders like cerebral palsy or even muscular dystrophy
- Certain congenital disabilities
- Any surgery on the chest
- Infections in spine
- Abnormalities of the spinal cord
Diagnosis of scoliosis
Your doctor diagnoses scoliosis through physical examination and imaging tests to closely examine the spine.
Your doctor will see your back when you are standing by keeping your arms at your sides. They will check if there is any curvature present in the spine and whether or not your waist and shoulder areas are symmetrical. Then your doctor might tell you to bend forward to see if there are any curves in the upper or lower back.
Your doctor might advise some imaging tests such as X-Ray, MRI scans, bone scans and CT scans. In a bone scan, some radioactive solution is injected into the blood that will concentrate on areas with more circulation, highlighting abnormalities in the spines.
How is scoliosis treated?
Treatment options for scoliosis depend on several factors, such as the degree of curvature of the spine, age, kind of curvature, scoliosis type, etc. Some of the standard options for treatment are surgery and bracing.
A person with scoliosis can use braces when their curvature is 25–45 degrees, and they are in their growing stage. Braces will not make the spine straight but can prevent further curvature.
Surgery is recommended when the degree of curvature is more than 40 degrees. One of the standard scoliosis surgeries is spinal fusion, where the doctor fuses the vertebrae using screws, bone grafts, and rods. The bone graft includes bones or the same material as bone, while rods help keep the spine straight, and screws help hold them in one place.
Some of the standard methods for decreasing pain and uneasiness in scoliosis are
- Pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen
- Chiropractic treatment
How scoliosis is going to affect purely depends on the curvature severity. While mild to moderate cases might not cause any interference with daily activities and tasks, severe cases might offer some physical limitations. A person must consult a doctor if they think they have scoliosis. Getting treatment on time assists in preventing all future difficulties.