What is Scoliosis? Scoliosis is a medical condition where an individual’s spine is abnormally curved. Normally, a person’s spine is straight with a very slight curve but a person with scoliosis has a spine curved side to side in the shape of a C or S. Depending on its severity, scoliosis can affect the body in numerous ways. The abnormal curve in the spine can result in a person’s hips to sit at different levels which may affect the way stand and walk. This can cause a limited range in motion and result in a stiff gait.
The abnormal curve can also cause damage to the joints between the vertebrae which can lead to painful back arthritis that may be difficult to treat. If scoliosis goes untreated, the spine can become so severely curved that it actually becomes twisted. This is known as kyphosis and can cause permanent deformity and pain. As the spine become twisted it can alter the position of the rib cage, preventing the lungs from fully expanding and making it difficult to breathe. Scoliosis is generally classified by three main types: congenital, idiopathic, and neuromuscular.
What causes scoliosis?
Approximately 65% of scoliosis cases are idiopathic and most often affects females. Idiopathic scoliosis has no known cause, although it tends to run in families. Congenital scoliosis is caused by a malformation of the spine during the third to sixth week in utero. Congenital scoliosis is thought of in three groups, failure of formation, failure of segmentation and combination’s of failure of formation and segmentation. Most cases of failure of formation are caused by a growth imbalance in the spine that causes the spine to grow crooked. Failure of segmentation is what happens when the spine’s vertebra become blocked or form unilateral bars. The combination of failure or formation and segmentation can cause the scoliosis to progress very rapidly. Neuromusular scoliosis develops as a secondary symptom to another condition, such as physical trauma, cerebral palsy and spina bifida.
Common treatments for scoliosis:
The most common treatments for scoliosis are physical therapy, bracing and surgery. Bracing is usually done on individuals who still have bone growth remaining such as children and teenagers. Braces are used to hold the curve of the spine where it is as the bones continue to grow so that the scoliosis does not progress to the point where surgery is needed before the bones are done growing. Bracing is usually prescribed to cases of idiopathic scoliosis. In most cases, surgery may not be able to completely straighten a spine with scoliosis, but significant corrections are often achieved. The two main types of surgery for scoliosis cases are anterior and posterior fusion. More than one surgery may be required to achieve optimum results and each surgery can take up to eight hours to complete.