Scoliosis is an abnormal curve in the spine that occurs mostly during the growth spurt. Although most patients report a mild offset, in some cases, the deformity might worsen with age. In severe cases of scoliosis, the deformity reduces the amount of space within the chest cavity, interfering with the functioning of lungs, which may lead to breathing problems. Scoliosis surgery is the final resort for patients with a severe curve in the spine. Read on to learn more about the problem, including its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment. Let’s begin.
Types of Curves
The spine can curve in following ways:
- Two curves in the spine shaped like letter S
- Spine curves to the side (to the right) in the shape of backward letter C
- Spine curves to the side (to the left) in the shape of letter C
Note: The spine might twist or rotate in case of severe scoliosis.
- Uneven shoulders
- Uneven waist
- One hip appears higher than the other
- One shoulder blade appears more prominent
Types and Diagnosis
Bone abnormality at the time of birth causes congenital scoliosis
Traumatic bone collapse because of osteoporosis or major back surgery causes degenerative scoliosis
Abnormal nerves or muscles cause neuromuscular scoliosis
The most common type with no specific identifiable reason.
A doctor performs a careful bone examination and prescribes an X-ray for diagnosis and determination of the type of scoliosis. The test helps in evaluating the magnitude of the curve in the spine.
Severe cases of scoliosis may lead to the following complications such as:
Damage to heart and lungs
The rib cage might press against the heart and lungs, making it difficult for the person to breathe. The abnormal curve also makes it harder for the heart to pump.
Adults who had scoliosis at an early age are more likely to experience chronic back pain.
Scoliosis might cause noticeable changes in the appearance such as uneven hips, unlevel shoulders, shift of waist and trunk to one side, and prominent ribs.
Doctors recommend braces to adolescents with a spinal curve between 25-40 degrees. The treatment is beneficial only if bones are still maturing and the bones will need a minimum two years for complete development. Bracing halts the progression of the curve and corrects the problem on a temporary basis. The curve gets the original magnitude after the removal of braces.
Individuals with spinal curve beyond 40-50 degrees may need to undergo surgery to ensure that the problem doesn’t get worse. The surgery, however, doesn’t straighten the spine. Metallic implants are used to correct the curve and hold it in the right position till the time the bone graft creates a rigid fusion. The objective of the surgery is to join the vertebrae together. A doctor may recommend a patient to wear braces after the surgery in most cases.
Must Read: A Brief Guide to Scoliosis Surgery
The doctor recommends a treatment plan for Scoliosis, based on the skeletal maturity of the patient and the severity of the curve. If a patient has a small degree of curve and is nearing skeletal maturity, there’s a likelihood the doctor may not prescribe any treatment. Although exercise does not prevent or reduce curvature, patients with scoliosis and non-scoliosis should make it a part of their routine to keep back muscles flexible and strong. If you wish to learn more about Scoliosis and its treatment, schedule an appointment with the consultants at Texas Health Spine & Orthopedic Center. Simply call 1-888-608-4762 or click here.