Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves to one side. The upper and lower back are the most commonly affected areas, but the curvature can occur anywhere along the spine.
Scoliosis is most common in late childhood or early adolescence and is more prevalent among females. It can occur at any age but is most frequently diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 12 or throughout adolescence. Infantile scoliosis is a type of scoliosis that affects children under the age of three.
Scoliosis may not always be visible to the naked eye, but it can cause a person to lean to one side or to have unbalanced shoulders or hips. It’s characterized by a curvature of the spine that is either C-or S-shaped. For someone to be diagnosed with scoliosis, their Cobb angle, which is a measure of how curved the spine is, must be at least 10 degrees.
In most situations, no therapy is required because the curve doesn’t advance substantially. Doctors may, however, advise a combination of physical therapy and back bracing, depending on the child’s curvature and age.
Scoliosis surgery is only required in a small percentage of cases. Complications of scoliosis may include chronic pain, breathing issues, and a reduced ability to engage in physical activity.
Most of the time, the cause of a person’s scoliosis is unknown. This is referred to as idiopathic scoliosis by medical professionals. Some occurrences of scoliosis are associated with other conditions such as muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, or cerebral palsy. It’s also possible that it’s the result of a congenital abnormality
Spinal curves can be structural or nonstructural. Structured curves are defined as permanent curves and they’re caused by injuries or a medical condition. When the curve is nonstructural, it means that the structure of the person’s spine is normal, and the curve is only temporary.
Scoliosis in children and adolescents is typically mild and does not require treatment. When a person has a curve ranging from 10 to 25 degrees, their doctor will usually recommend regular checkups at three, six, and twelve months to see how the condition progresses.
If their curvature ranges from 25 to 40 degrees, their doctor may advise bracing. Doctors may also recommend surgery, usually when the curvature is higher than 40 degrees and if the patient’s skeleton is still developing.
The following are some of the factors that doctors consider when developing a treatment plan:
- Curve severity: The curve’s severity and type can affect its evolution. S-shaped curves are more prevalent in individuals with idiopathic scoliosis, whereas C-shaped curves are more prevalent in individuals with neuromuscular scoliosis.
- Curve location: The curve is more likely to worsen if it’s located in the middle of the spine rather than in the lower or upper spine.
- Bone maturity: If the person’s bones have finished developing, the risk of their scoliosis worsening is lower. Braces are a more effective treatment option if their bones are still developing.
In infantile scoliosis, a doctor might use plaster casting instead of braces to help the child’s spine grow into a normal shape. This cast needs to be worn at all times and changes regularly since children in this age group grow very quickly.
A brace may be recommended if a patient has moderate scoliosis and their bones are still developing. While the brace can help prevent additional curvature, it cannot cure or reverse scoliosis.
The brace will likely need to be worn 24 hours a day, including at night. The wearer’s range of motion is not significantly hampered by the brace. They can remove the brace if they want to engage in physical exercise.
A brace is no longer required once the bones have stopped developing.
The most commonly prescribed type of brace is the TSLO (Thoracolumbosacral orthosis). It’s made out of plastic and designed to fit comfortably around the body’s curves. It can be hidden relatively easily underneath clothes.
The Milwaukee brace is usually prescribed only when the TSLO is either ineffective or unsuitable. This type has a neck ring with rests for the back of the head and neck. It’s full torso, so it’s more noticeable and difficult to wear.
Some people go to a chiropractor to get relief from scoliosis pain and discomfort. Chiropractors treat patients by manipulating their spines and offering alternative treatments.
Chiropractic scoliosis treatment in Lincoln is based on spinal realignment, which can help people get better and improve their quality of life. If you want to see a chiropractor, make sure you find one specializing in scoliosis. Non-specialist chiropractic treatment can worsen your scoliosis symptoms.
According to the authors of a 2016 study, there is emerging evidence that exercises can help correct scoliosis. They did point out, however, that further research is needed to determine which exercises are the most helpful. Currently, doctors recommend a variety of scoliosis exercises to realign the spine and help patients achieve a normal posture.
Scoliosis may be caused by any of the following:
- Neuromuscular conditions: Neuromuscular conditions include muscular dystrophy, poliomyelitis, and cerebral palsy. They affect the nerves and muscles.
- Congenital scoliosis: As we mentioned earlier in this article, the term “congenital” refers to a condition that’s present from birth. Congenital scoliosis is rare, but it can happen if the bones in the spine don’t develop the way they should while the fetus is growing.
- Genes: At least one gene is thought to play a role in the onset of scoliosis, according to researchers.
- Leg length: Scoliosis can occur when one leg is longer than the other.
- Syndromic scoliosis: A person can develop scoliosis as a result of another medical condition like Marfan syndrome or neurofibromatosis.
- Osteoporosis: Bone degeneration caused by osteoporosis can result in secondary scoliosis;
Other factors that contribute to spine curvature include poor posture, the use of backpacks or satchels, connective tissue problems, and certain injuries.
The doctor will examine the spine, ribs, shoulders, and hips. They can measure the degree of the curve inclinometer, also known as a scoliometer. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs can help determine the curve’s shape, position, and angle.
A primary physician or pediatrician may refer you to an orthopedic doctor for further investigation.