Scoliosis Overview:

Scoliosis is not a disease, but rather it is a term used to describe scoliosis-spine-shapedany abnormal, sideways curvature of the spine. Viewed from the back, a typical spine is straight. When scoliosis occurs, the spine can curve in one of three ways:

  • The spine curves to the side as a single curve to the left (shaped like the letter C), called levoscoliosis
  • The spine curves to the side as a single curve to the right (shaped like a backwards letter C), called dextroscoliosis
  • The spine has two curves (shaped like the letter S).whatis-scoliosis

Detection, Diagnosis, and Monitoring:-

Scoliosis most typically occurs in individuals 10 to 18 years old and is often detected by school screenings or regular physician visits. A medical professional will look for:

  •   Curvature of the spine
  •   Uneven shoulders, or protrusion of one shoulder blade
  •   Asymmetry of the waistline
  •   One hip higher than the other.

Once scoliosis is detected, a physician will continue to monitor the curvature (read more about scoliosis observation). The progression of spinal curvature is very well understood and is measured in degrees.

  •   Mild curvature that remains at 20 degrees or less will most likely require monitoring and observation, but further treatment is rarely needed.
  •   Curvature greater than 20 degrees may require non-surgical or surgical intervention, including treatments such as a back brace for scoliosis or scoliosis surgery, both of which prevent further progression of the curve.

Preventing severe curvature is important for the physical appearance and health of the patient. Curves greater than 50 degrees are more likely to progress in adulthood. If a curve is allowed to progress to 70 to 90 degrees, it will produce a disfiguring deformity.

A high degree of curvature may also put the patient at risk for cardiopulmonary compromise as the curve in the spine rotates the chest and closes down the space available for the lungs and heart.

Other Types of Scoliosis

While adolescent scoliosis is the most common, other common types of scoliosis include:

  • Congenital scoliosis, which is present in infants
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis, which is the results of neuromuscular conditions
  • Degenerative scoliosis, which occurs later in life

Scoliosis Symptoms:

In children and teenagers, scoliosis often does not have any noticeable symptoms. The curvature of the spine does not cause pain, and if it is mild, it can go unnoticed.

While a healthy spine, when viewed from the side, has natural curvature, when viewed from the back the spine appears as a straight line. A person with scoliosis, however, will appear to have a lateral (side-to-side) curve in their spine when viewed from the back.

Signs of Scoliosis

Without an X-ray of the spine, there are several common physical symptoms that may indicate scoliosis. One of the most common tests for detecting scoliosis is called the Adam’s Forward Bend Test, in which the individual bends from the waist as if touching the toes. The medical professional then observes for one or more of the following signs of scoliosis:

  • One shoulder is higher than the other
  • One shoulder blade sticks out more than the other
  • One side of the rib cage appears higher than the other
  • One hip appears higher or more prominent than the other
  • The waist appears uneven
  • The body tilts to one side
  • One leg may appear shorter than the other

Scoliosis Treatment:

Scoliosis treatment decisions are primarily based on two factors:

  1. The skeletal maturity of the patient (or rather, how much more growth can be expected)
  2. The degree of spinal curvature.scoliosis1

Although the cause of idiopathic scoliosis is unknown, the way scoliosis curves behave is well understood. In essence:

  •   A small degree of curvature in a patient nearing skeletal maturity is not likely to need treatment;
  •   Conversely, a younger patient with a bigger curve is likely to have a curve will continue to advance and will need treatment.

There are three main scoliosis treatment options for adolescents:

  •   Observation
  •   Back braces
  •   Scoliosis surgery

No exercises for scoliosis have proved to reduce or prevent curvature. However, exercise is highly recommended for both scoliosis and non-scoliosis patients alike to keep back muscles strong and flexible.