Scoliosis is a common spine deformity affecting 2-3% of the population. The deformity might be common, but facts about it certainly aren’t common knowledge. There seem to be a lot of myths about the spinal disorder.
These myths keep a large number of the population away from the correct diagnosis and eventual treatment of their symptoms.
Can you develop Scoliosis later in life? That seems to be one such scoliosis-related fact that has the public divided. Many people believe that Scoliosis is a hereditary spinal condition diagnosed in adolescence. While it’s true that most cases of Scoliosis are present at birth and the disorder becomes more prominent as the child steps into young adulthood, it’s not always the case.
Understanding scoliosis and its symptoms can help you detect the disorder early in yourself and those you love. Early diagnosis means the availability of more treatment options for you or your loved one. Here are the two main types of Scoliosis:
Idiopathic Scoliosis is diagnosed during adolescence, with some cases becoming visible at an even earlier age. It's usually present at birth and is diagnosed when the child reaches teenage years. Some idiopathic scoliosis cases can remain undiagnosed until adulthood, especially if there are no symptoms. Sometimes, other diseases can also hide its indications.
Degenerative Scoliosis occurs later in life. While heredity can certainly affect a person’s chances of developing scoliosis, it’s not the only reason a person might develop it. The aging body goes through normal wear and tear, resulting in many bone and spine-related ailments. Scoliosis is one of them.
The cartilage between the spinal bones gets worn down over time, resulting in them rubbing against each other. This friction causes slight dislocation of the bones resulting in Degenerative Scoliosis. Sometimes, other ailments such as Osteoarthritis can also contribute to developing scoliosis later in life.
Knowing the symptoms to look out for can arm you with a better understanding of the disorder. Here are some Degenerative Scoliosis signs and symptoms to be wary of
1. It Might Cause You to Lose a Few Inches of Height
Been feeling shorter than usual lately? Don’t ignore that symptom! Height loss could be an indicator that your spinal curvature is changing, often for the worst. A normal, healthy spine has three natural curves in it. It's what makes our backbone bendable and adaptable to the different poses of the human body.
Any changes in these curves disrupt the delicate balance of our backbone and adjacent muscles. Height loss is one of the symptoms that occurs when this natural balance gets out for any reason. How much will your height be affected? That depends on the severity of your condition and the treatment options your doctor recommends.
2. It Affects Your Posture and Walk
As discussed earlier, changes in the spinal curves can cause a host of issues. Imbalanced alignment of the pelvis and hips is another symptom you should never ignore. Scoliosis can affect the way you walk and carry yourself, even the way you sit.
Some of these changes are, at times, subconscious, driven by stiff back muscles or pain. Other times, it’s the curvature of your back that changes the way you poise. Just as Degenerative Scoliosis can cause changes in gait, bad posture habits can also make the deformity seem worse than it is.
Physical therapy is recommended for scoliosis patients as it’s an effective way of re-learning good posture and sitting positions.
3. It’s Not Always Painful
Who would’ve thought the absence of pain could also be a silent alarm bell? But with Degenerative Scoliosis, no pain isn’t always good news. Pain is an indicator that something is unwell in our bodies. It’s often the top reason people seek medical treatment and get diagnosed with Scoliosis.
It’s important to understand that back pain doesn’t necessarily accompany scoliosis. If you have other symptoms or are at risk because of your family history, you should get checked out regardless.
An early diagnosis can give you leverage over your condition and keep it from eventually becoming painful. If you’ve been diagnosed with other orthopedic conditions, ask your doctor about your chances of developing Scoliosis later in life.
4. Your Upset Stomach Might Be a Symptom
Just like your spine, your digestive tract is another intricate system within your body that’s connected to your overall health. As your Scoliosis progresses, it can cause stomach issues as well. Here are some common problems associated with degenerative scoliosis:
The reason is simple: your spine does more than just keep your body erect. It's your body’s message transmission system. Any imbalance in the spinal curvatures hinders the timely delivery of these messages from different body parts to your brain.
Advancing scoliosis could also affect the efficiency of your stomach in digesting food properly. So while scoliosis doesn’t directly affect your bowel, these symptoms could be related to scoliosis.
5. It’s Not Just Your Back That Hurts
While back pain is the most well-recognized symptom of scoliosis, it’s not the only part of your body that might hurt. If you have pain running down the backs of your legs and thighs, don’t ignore it. That can be a symptom of degenerative scoliosis as well.
Numbness, sharp pain, dull achiness, or inflammation in the lower half of your body can all be caused by scoliosis. You might experience leg pain for two reasons:
Recognize and Overcome Scoliosis
Scoliosis can look and feel very different for various patients. The correct diagnosis is the first step for you to overcome the condition and lead a healthy life. Feel free to reach out to one of our experts if you experience any signs or symptoms of Scoliosis.
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