What Is Scoliosis?

a person lying on a bed with a towel on the head

Scoliosis is an abnormal curve of the spine, which can occur at any age and due to a number of reasons, most of them without a known cause (idiopathic). This spinal deformity is divided into different types, and treatment may be necessary depending on the severity of the curve.

Types Of Scoliosis

Among the most common types of scoliosis are:

Congenital Scoliosis: a birth defect or underdevelopment that causes a spinal curve.

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis: growth spurts during puberty change the curvature of the spine.

Neuromuscular Scoliosis: conditions like cerebral palsy and spina bifida can be responsible for NMS.

Potential Causes

When scoliosis isn’t a result of any of the above conditions, it can also be caused by uneven leg length, poor posture (from constantly hunching or carrying heavy backpacks), osteoporosis, and connective tissue disorders.

Symptoms To Look For

Mild scoliosis is usually asymptomatic. However, more severe cases may cause pain, as well as visible changes such as uneven shoulders and asymmetrical rib cages. This physical disproportion can be more or less noticeable depending on the type and severity of the spinal curve.

Long-Term Effects

  • Pain: when the spine is curved enough to affect vertebrae and joints, pain could become a long-term effect.
  • Debilitated organ function: this happens when poor spinal alignment reaches a critical stage and affects the functions of the lungs and heart, for example.
  • Degeneration: joints and bones can begin to degenerate due to the stress that misalignment puts on them.

Treatment Options

Scoliosis patients can seek chiropractic care to ease the pain in severe cases.

Bracing is a great option for children. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, braces can prevent curve progression in 80 percent of cases.

Surgery is recommended when the patient has a spinal curve that’s still progressing and could compromise vital organs.

Preventing Scoliosis

Doctors who specialize in scoliosis work with advanced programs that prevent the progression of a curve. The Scoliosis Systems team is an ideal example.

Scoliosis can’t be foreseen, and not even maintaining a good posture can revert it. People suffering from the condition should seek specialized care to avoid the worsening of the spine curvature.

Final Slide: Although scoliosis is a common spinal disorder that affects up to nine million Americans, its occurrence may affect a person’s daily activities and physical appearance if left untreated. When diagnosed earlier, there’s a higher chance to prevent further damage to the spine, and consequently the resulting symptoms.

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