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March 14, 2024

Scoliosis is a medical condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine. The spine, under normal circumstances, has a natural front-to-back curve. However, in scoliosis, the spine curves side-to-side, forming a “C” or “S” shape. 

While some cases of scoliosis are mild. They do not cause any significant problems. However, severe cases can cause significant health issues if left untreated.  

What are the causes and risk factors for scoliosis?

Most cases of scoliosis are unknown. Doctors refer to this type as idiopathic scoliosis. However, research suggests that it may be due to genetic factors. 

Other risk factors include age. Scoliosis is more likely to occur in the later stages of childhood or early teenage years. It is also more common in females than males. 

Certain neuromuscular conditions can also increase the risk of developing scoliosis. These include:

·      cerebral palsy

·      muscular dystrophy

·      spina bifida

What are the symptoms of scoliosis?

Scoliosis signs may include:

·      Uneven shoulders

·      Protruding shoulder blades

·      Head that is not centered above your pelvis.

·      Uneven waistline

·      The hips are elevated

·      Constant lean to one side

·      Uneven leg length

Over time, you might notice:

·      Height loss

·      Your pelvis and hips are not aligned evenly.

What are the different types of scoliosis?

Doctors classify scoliosis into several types based on the age of onset and the cause. These include:

1.  Idiopathic scoliosis: This is the most common type. It accounts for 80% of all scoliosis cases. It is further classified into three categories based on age: 

·      infantile (0-3 years)

·      juvenile (4-10 years)

·      adolescent (11-18 years)

2.  Congenital scoliosis: It is present at birth. It occurs due to abnormalities in the formation of the spine.

3.  Neuromuscular scoliosis: It is associated with neurological or muscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.

4.  Degenerative scoliosis: This type occurs in adults and is often due to wear and tear of the spine or osteoporosis.

What are the complications of scoliosis?

Severe scoliosis cases without treatment can result in:

·      Physical deformity

·      Long-lasting pain

·      Difficulty breathing

·      Organ damage

·      Arthritis

·      Nerve damage

·      Spinal fluid leakage

How is Scoliosis diagnosed?

Scoliosis is diagnosed through a complete physical examination. These include imaging tests such as:

·      X-rays

·      MRIs

·      CT scans

A healthcare provider may also review the patient’s medical history and family history, as well as conduct a neurological examination, to rule out any underlying causes.

How is scoliosis treated?

Mild scoliosis may not require treatment. Instead, your doctor may monitor your condition and take X-rays regularly to check whether it worsens. Some children outgrow scoliosis.

Other treatment options include:

·      Braces: Wearing a plastic brace around your torso during growth can prevent the curve from worsening. Children often wear them all the time, as they’re discreet underclothing and don’t interfere with regular activities.

·      Spinal Fusion Surgery: This procedure involves inserting bone fragments or similar material between spine bones. Hardware keeps the bones in place until they fuse. Thus, reducing spine curvature and preventing further worsening.

·      Spinal and Rib-Based Growth Surgery: This is done to correct more severe scoliosis among children.

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