Scoliosis is a condition that involves complex lateral and rotational curvature and deformity of the spine. In other words, scoliosis is a condition where people have spines that curve from side to side.
Scoliosis may begin in childhood, but often goes unnoticed until the teenage years. The condition of scoliosis is more common in girls than in boys.
Symptoms of Scoliosis
The key symptoms of scoliosis include:
• Spine curves abnormally to one side
• Shoulders or hips appear uneven
• Backache or low-back pain
Causes of Scoliosis
Scoliosis might occur because of one of the below conditions:
• Congenital scoliosis is a type of birth defect that affects the development of the vertebrae and occurs with other congenital problems. Scoliosis can also begin in a fetus during fetal development.
• An underlying disease that affects the neuromuscular system or a leg-length discrepancy might also cause scoliosis.
• Scoliosis is termed as idiopathic when the exact underlying cause is not known.
• The condition of scoliosis can also occur as a secondary symptom of another condition, such as cerebral palsy.
Growth is often the biggest risk factor that worsens the condition of scoliosis. Other factors that make it likely for a scoliosis curve to get worse include:
• Sex: Curves in girls are likely to worsen more often.
• Age: If the child is relatively younger, the curve will worsen faster.
• Angle of the curve: The greater the curve angle, the higher likelihood of its worsening.
• Location: Curves in the middle to lower spine are less likely to worsen.
• Spinal problems at birth: Children who are born with scoliosis are likely to witness a rapid progression of the curve.
A series of tests are carried out to confirm the existence of scoliosis. The main ones include:
i) Spine x-rays (from the front and the side)
ii) Scoliometer measurements (a device used to measure the degree of the curve)
iii) MRI (if either of these report something unusual)
The treatment options for scoliosis depend on the age of the patient and severity of the condition. The main options available for scoliosis include:
A) Observation: This option is generally followed when the curve is mild, which is less than 20 degrees or if the child is near skeletal maturity.
B) Bracing: This is done in order to prevent curves from worsening further. Bracing is highly effective if the child is still growing and the spinal curvature is between 25 and 45 degrees.
Two types of braces can be used. These include:
• Underarm or low-profile brace
• Milwaukee brace
C) Surgical Options: If the curve is more than 45 degrees, a surgery might be recommended. The surgery will require a bone graft from the hip, ribs or a bone bank.