Your spinal column is made up of several vertebrae, discs and joints that are positioned in a straight, vertical line. When there is an abnormal curve in the spine, this could be because of the medical condition scoliosis. Scoliosis is a physical deformity that affects millions of people around the world. It is more common in girls than in boys and usually occurs during the teenage years. A spinal column that is curved poses a threat to the functions of the body and your overall well being. The degree of the curvature can help to determine the recommended course of action.
There are several causes of scoliosis. Scoliosis can be noticeable at birth due to vertebral abnormalities. It can also occur because of an injury or conditions like osteoporosis. Injuries that result in scoliosis are usually very traumatic. Scoliosis stemming from trauma is considered to be degenerative scoliosis. A more common cause of scoliosis is centered on neuromuscular problems that involve the nerves or muscles that are not operating normally. This kind of scoliosis is often related or associated with medical problems that deal with the back. These conditions include spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and kyphosis. By far the most prevalent type of scoliosis is idiopathic scoliosis. Strangely, scientists have been unable to pinpoint one particular cause that is consistent in those who are diagnosed. Idiopathic scoliosis occurs mostly in adolescence and could be related to genetic makeup.
The symptoms of scoliosis can vary from person to person. Most of the symptoms or signs can be visually detected without too much inspection. The main symptom is a curved spine. Many schools test and screen for scoliosis by requiring that students bend over while the spine is physically inspected. Scoliosis can also be recognized by imbalances in the body. Since your body is very symmetrical, any shift can be noticeable. Scoliosis can cause the head, hips, shoulders, waist and legs to appear off center. It can also cause parts of the body to appear larger than normal. The most severe symptoms of scoliosis can cause serious problems with parts of the upper respiratory system. If you are short of breath or have frequent pain in the chest, this could be a sign. Scoliosis can limit the types of activities you can be involved in, especially those that are physical.
There is no cure for scoliosis but there are treatments that can help to manage different stages of this condition as best as possible. Based on the intensity and severity of your scoliosis there are different treatment methods that are recommended. Sometimes scoliosis can be treated with physical and occupational therapy. This is in cases where the scoliosis isn’t very severe. In more severe cases the use of a brace might be necessary. If there is a curve of 25 degrees or more, bracing can be beneficial, especially in teenagers that haven’t fully developed. Bracing prevents the curve from getting worse but must be done continuously to sustain results. In the worst cases, where the curve is past 40 degrees, surgery is the only option to correct the curved spine.
Written By: Updated: June 30,2011