Scoliosis is a spinal deformity affecting approximately 2 to 3 percent of the American population during their growth years, after the onset of puberty. The disorder, however, is also common in adults more than 50 years old, with many requiring back or neck pain treatment after 60. The deformity causes a sideways curvature in the spine, and a mild degree of roundness in the upper back. A healthy spine is straight, whereas a spine affected by Scoliosis is curved if observed from the back. The “S” shaped curve can result in a poor alignment and balance of the spine, leading to increased pressure on the spinal discs and the ligaments, causing a shooting pain. Shedding more light on the disorder, in this brief post, we discuss the causes, types, symptoms, risk factors, complications and the possible treatments of Scoliosis. Let’s begin.
A deformity or structural abnormality of the spine at the time of the birth.
A type of scoliosis, frequently observed in people with neuromuscular disorders such as Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy.
Spinal deformity arising due to a physical trauma, major back surgery or a medical condition such as Osteoporosis, which causes thinning of the bones.
It is the most common form of Scoliosis with no concrete evidence to support the underlying cause. However, a few medical theories believe it to be an inherited disorder.
There are a few risk factors that may contribute towards this spinal deformity such as:
Major cases of Scoliosis are observed during the growth spurt of an individual, especially just before or after the onset of puberty. A few cases may be visible in adults after they cross the age of 50.
Although both males and females can develop a mild problem of spine curving during adolescence, the latter are at a higher risk.
As Scoliosis causes the misalignment of the spine, it may result in a visible posture anomaly, and the patient may also experience increased pressure on the spinal discs and ligaments. Scoliosis may, however, also result in more serious issues, such as:
Severe instances of Scoliosis can result in a debilitating neck pain, accompanied by stiffness and discomfort.
As Scoliosis affects the whole spine, individuals can experience a chronic back pain in addition to the neck pain which radiates to the arms and even the lower limbs.
Uneven Shoulders and Waist
Scoliosis causes a visible disproportion in the alignment of shoulders and waist. Moreover, it can also cause one shoulder blade to look more prominent than the other.
Rotation Of the Spine
Scoliosis can also cause a rotation or twisting of the spine, which can aggravate neck pain and cause the ribs to protrude more on one side as compared to the other.
Lung and Heart Damage
Severe scoliosis can cause the ribs to exert pressure on the heart and the lungs, impairing their functional abilities.
A doctor may diagnose Scoliosis starting with a physical exam to assess the range of motion and looking for structural abnormalities in the spine. Additionally, X-rays can further help in assessing the exact location of the curve along with the degree of curvature and degenerating changes in the spine.
The medical treatment of Scoliosis varies depending upon the degree of curvature of the spine and the intensity of neck and back pain. Typical neck pain treatment methods include:
Over the counter medications and analgesics can help in relieving Scoliosis pain. If neck pain aggravates and becomes unbearable, nerve blocks and epidural steroid injections may also be suggested by a spine doctor.
Exercises can help ease neck pain due to Scoliosis along with improving the spine mobility.
Braces are effective means of treating Scoliosis if the degree of spine curvature lies between 25 to 40 degrees. The aim of braces is to stop the progression and misalignment of the spinal curve but acts only as a temporary solution.
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Surgery is a last resort for those people where the spine curvature exceeds 50 degrees or the pain is hampering everyday activities. Such patients need to undergo a surgical procedure called “Spinal Fusion”, that corrects the curvature of the spine through metal implants. In some cases, the surgeon may also a bone graft to join the vertebrae in a permanent fashion, creating a rigid fusion in the area of the curve to provide long-term support to the spine. The surgery is highly effective, and in most cases, patients can expect a notable improvement within a few weeks.
In addition to a worsening neck pain, Scoliosis, being a visible disorder, may also affect the morale of patents due to a visible posture anomaly. Whichever may be the case, Scoliosis can have a crippling effects on the lives of patients. If you or someone you know is suspecting Scoliosis and require an effective, long-term neck pain treatment, we, at Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center, can help. We are an alliance of spine experts possessing extensive experience in treating Scoliosis, through both non-surgical and surgical treatments To book an appointment with one of our spine experts, give a call at 1-888-608-4762 or click here.