Scoliosis is a condition that occurs when one or more of the spinal vertebrae curves are out of place. The term “scoliosis” derives from the ancient Greek word “skolios” meaning crooked or curved. It changes the spine’s shape and alignment, which may result in discomfort and pain.
Scoliosis is the most common spinal disorder in children and adolescents. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), it affects about 5.2 percent of children and young adults. It’s more prevalent in girls than boys.
The disorder can be classified as idiopathic (meaning it has no known cause) or secondary to another condition, such as obesity or osteoporosis. With scoliosis, as with many other medical conditions, the earlier it is caught and treated, the better the chance for a successful outcome.
This article will discuss the importance of an early diagnosis and treatment for scoliosis. Let’s start by looking at the different types of scoliosis:
Types of Scoliosis
There are four main types of scoliosis:
1. Idiopathic scoliosis
Idiopathic scoliosis is when there is no obvious reason for the condition. It can include cases of congenital or postural, or structural type.
2. Structural Scoliosis
Structural-type scoliosis involves a defect in the spine that causes it to bend, twist, and/or kink over time. It can be caused by trauma (such as an accident), genetics, or congenital disabilities such as spina bifida.
3. Postural Scoliosis
Postural types of scoliosis occur when the body's ability to correct itself slowly weakens over time due to injury or illness; this may cause one side of the spine to curve more than another side due to its position in relation to other joints throughout your body's structure (i..e., hips).
Kyphoscoliosis refers specifically to those who suffer from curvature along their thoracic area. It may also refer specifically to those with curvature along their lower back area.
What Are The Symptoms of Scoliosis?
A scoliosis patient may have a visible spine curvature on chest height (anterior) X-rays. This kind of curve is called "lateral" or "dorsal" because it runs along the side where it curves rather than down towards the feet, as would happen if someone had flat feet (posterior). In some cases, there will also be pain and tightness in muscles around joints near these areas where they're most likely located.
While scoliosis is often a silent disease, there are common early symptoms you can look out for and take steps. They include:
How is Scoliosis Diagnosed?
A doctor can diagnose scoliosis by examining the patient’s spine, looking at X-rays, or performing a scan. If someone has a spinal deformity or has curves in the spine greater than 5 degrees, then it may be time to get a diagnosis.
Some people with scoliosis may not need any medical treatment at all and will just live with their condition for the rest of their lives.
However, some people may need surgery to correct the curve or even a full spinal fusion (where bones are fused together). Surgery is usually recommended if scoliosis causes pain from excessive pressure on nerves in the lower back area or legs while walking or sitting down too long.
Complications of Untreated or Improperly Treated Scoliosis
If untreated, scoliosis can lead to:
How Can Early Scoliosis Diagnosis and Intervention Help?
Early diagnosis and intervention for Scoliosis can greatly improve a child’s health and confidence.
As a progressive condition, scoliosis is one of the most common childhood disorders. If left untreated, this condition may cause permanent damage to your child's spine, affecting their ability to walk or sit comfortably throughout life.
Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of this fact until it's too late: by then, it's already too late for treatment options such as surgery or physical therapy. And even then, there may be complications such as pain or breathing difficulty after surgery.
Early diagnosis and intervention for scoliosis can improve your child's quality of life today and make sure it doesn't get worse.
If your child has back pain and abdominal cramping, it's important to get them evaluated by a doctor. There are many types of scoliosis, so it's best if you see an expert who can determine if this is the type of scoliosis your child has or not. The sooner you start treatment for scoliosis, the better!
Treatments for Scoliosis
Treatment for scoliosis depends on your age, how severe the curve is, and whether it's likely to get worse with time. Most patients don’t need any treatment; only a tiny number ever need spinal surgery.
For babies and toddlers, the condition may improve over time. At best, they may need a scoliosis brace fitted to their back to prevent the curve from worsening as they grow. Older children may also need to wear a brace until they stop growing, but sometimes need surgery to control the growth of the spine until an operation to straighten it can be done.
Adult scoliosis patients occasionally need surgery to correct the curve, and a doctor may prescribe painkillers and spinal injections to relieve the pain.
Physical exercise can also help improve scoliosis, but it’s advisable to consult a doctor on the correct type of exercise.
Need more information on how to deal with scoliosis? Reach out to our scoliosis experts today.
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