Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature in the spine. It is often diagnosed in adolescents since it’s the time when the growth spurt happens. Most of the cases are mild, but some curves may worsen as children grow. While scoliosis can occur in people with certain conditions, the cause of most childhood cases is unknown.
Causes of Scoliosis
Hereditary. There are genes that can cause scoliosis, so it can be inherited. When a person has a relative who has scoliosis, he or she may also have it.
Infections or injuries to the spine. The most common cause of adult scoliosis is degenerative (spine curves as one ages). Osteoporosis causes the condition due to the breaking and weakening of bones, including the spine.
Neuromuscular causes. This type of scoliosis can be caused by a condition in the nerves and muscles. It is more common in people with poliomyelitis, muscular dystrophy, and cerebral palsy.
Osteoporosis. The most common cause of adult scoliosis is degenerative (spine curves as one ages). Osteoporosis causes the condition due to the breaking and weakening of bones, including the spine.
Birth Defects. Defects affecting the development of the bones of the spine.
Syndromic scoliosis. Having Neurofibromatosis and Marfan’s syndrome can also be the cause of this condition.
How is Scoliosis Diagnosed?
Scoliosis is diagnosed in several ways. Your doctor will perform a physical examination of your spine to determine if you have scoliosis. Your doctor may also request imaging tests to examine your spine more closely.
Physical examination. While standing with your arms at your sides, your doctor will examine your back. They will look for spine curvature as well as symmetry in your shoulders and waist. Your doctor will then ask you to lean forward and examine your upper and lower back for any curvature.
Imaging. Scoliosis imaging tests that your doctor may request include:
- Bone scan
- CT Scan
- MRI scan
Upon confirmation of the diagnosis, there are several factors considered before determining the treatment modality:
- Spinal maturity – if it is still growing/changing as it will determine the risk of curve progression.
- Degree and extent of curvature
- Location of the curve
- Gender – Females have a greater risk of progression than males.
Treatment options recommended to patients are:
- Observation – if the curvature is mild. Regular visits with the Orthopedic surgeon are recommended.
- Bracing – This is only effective in patients who have not reached skeletal maturity.
- Surgery – In children, it is recommended to stop the curve from progressing during adulthood and to diminish spinal deformity. While in adults, this is advised when the curve is more than 50 degrees, and the patient has nerve damage to their legs and/or experiencing bowel or bladder symptoms.
There are no specific activities that cause or are known to correct scoliosis. Despite this, it is still recommended to keep oneself fit and healthy.
- Maintain proper standing and sitting posture
- Get in the habit of stretching
- Avoid constant lifting, even carrying heavy objects
Talk to a specialist doctor from Medgate to be guided on how to take care of your spine or if you are experiencing any back pain. With Medgate, you can call Doc, Anywhere, Anytime, No Line.