The medical condition scoliosis exists when a person’s spine is curved from side to side, as opposed to a normal straight alignment. This condition usually begins in people whose spines have not reached skeletal maturity because it occurs most often during growth. The condition usually affects adolescent children and young adults; however it can affect people of all ages. The causes of most scoliosis cases are unknown, though scoliosis may occur as a result of an existing muscular condition such as muscular dystrophy.
Symptoms of scoliosis are visibly present and can be recognized by leaning posture, prominent shoulder blades and uneven hip and shoulder alignment. The condition has been known to run in families, however in the case of what is referred to as idiopathic scoliosis, the cause may be related to genetics, but is still unknown. Girls are more prone to scoliosis than boys and not all cases of scoliosis need to be treated, but in some cases a back brace may be necessary, and in severe cases surgery may be required.
Adults diagnosed with scoliosis may have developed the condition due to a degenerative change of the backbone or other spinal deformity. Some spinal curvature in children will eventually correct itself and only requires periodic check-ups to assure the condition is not worsening, while other cases of pediatric scoliosis require treatment. If you feel your child or you may have scoliosis, it is best to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist to properly diagnose and treat the condition. Your primary physician will likely be able to give you an initial diagnosis and referral if scoliosis seems to be present.
Treatment of scoliosis in mild cases will require regular check-ups with your doctor to observe any changes in the condition. If the condition seems to increase over time, bracing is recommended for moderate scoliosis. Early detection is essential in a patient requiring bracing, and the patient must still be growing for bracing to be effective. A variety of brace types now exist for scoliosis patients to choose from.
Another treatment for moderate to severe scoliosis is called spinal fusion. In this process a surgical procedure is used to correct the curvature of the spine through the small bones it is comprised of. The procedure acts to realign the bones through fusion, making the spine straight again.
Though scoliosis can be a very serious condition, there are a variety of options available to patients suffering from the condition. Catching scoliosis early is vital to successful treatment, so have your doctor check for scoliosis if you feel there may be need for concern.