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Scoliosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Scoliosis?

When viewed from behind, a normal spine may look straight. But a spine that has been affected by scoliosis will show a side-to-side curvature, with the spine looking like the letter "C." or "S". The vertebrae (back bones) could also be rotated. This may make it look like the person has been leaning to one side. Scoliosis by definition is a curvature of the spine that is measuring 10° or greater. Scoliosis is not the result of poor posture.

Spinal curvature from scoliosis could occur on the left, right, or even both sides of the spine. Both the lower (lumbar) and middle (thoracic) spine could also get affected by scoliosis.

Scoliosis and its causes

Generally in many cases, the reason that leads to scoliosis is unknown. This is known as idiopathic scoliosis. In several other cases, scoliosis could be the result of breaking down of the spinal discs. This may occur with osteoporosis or arthritis. Or it could also be due to hereditary conditions that run within families.

The abnormal curves of the spine are often defined based on their cause:

● Structural scoliosis. The probable causes of structural scoliosis include:

○ Abnormal growth

○ idiopathic scoliosis (Unknown)

○ Injury

○ Disease that is rheumatoid, metabolic, neuromuscular or other type

○ Infection

○ Birth defect

● Nonstructural scoliosis. This is also known as functional scoliosis. As seen in this condition, the normal spine becomes curved because of multiple problems. For instance, there may be an inflammatory problem or the lengths of legs may differ. Nonstructural scoliosis is usually short-term and it tends to wane away when the problems leading to it get treated.

What are the Symptoms of Scoliosis?

Here are few the most commonly reported symptoms of scoliosis:

● Difference in hip position or height

● Difference in shoulder position or height

● The sides of the back look different in height when bending forward

● Head is off-center from the rest of the body

● When standing upright, noticeable difference in the way the arms hang beside the body

● Difference in shoulder blade position or height

If you have leg pain, back pain, or changes in bladder and bowel habits, get medical care right away.

The symptoms of scoliosis may look similar to other health problems. Always visit your orthopaedist or doctor for correct diagnosis.

Diagnosis of Scoliosis

An orthopaedist will need to know your medical history. The orthopedist will then perform a physical examination. X-rays are the main tool used for diagnosing scoliosis. The orthopaedist will use the X-ray to measure the spinal curvature to the exact degree.

Other tests may also be recommended for congenital scoliosis, non-idiopathic curvatures, or abnormal curve patterns. These include:

MRI - MRI utilises a combination of huge magnets along with a computer to produce detailed images of structures and organs within the body.

CT scan - A CT scan utilises X-rays along with modern computer technology in order to develop detailed images of any part of the body, including the fat, bones, organs and muscles. CT scans are often more detailed than general X-rays.

Early detection of scoliosis is most crucial for successful treatment.

How is Scoliosis Treated?

The aim of treatment is to prevent deformity by basically stopping the progression of the curve. Treatment may include:

Observation in combination with repeated examination. This might be required to determine if the spine is continuing to curve. It's mostly used when a person has a curve in the spine which is less than 25° and is still growing.

Bracing. Bracing may be utilised if the curve measures more than 25° to around 30° on an X-ray, but skeletal growth continues. It might also be required if a person is growing and has a curve between 20°- 29° that is advancing or isn't improving. The amount of time spent in the brace and the type of brace will often depend on the severity of the condition.

Surgery. Surgery could be recommended if the curve measures 45° or higher on an X-ray and bracing hasn't been successful in slowing down the progression of the curve while the person is still growing. Certain symptoms, like loss of bowel or bladder control, might also require surgery.

There's no scientific evidence behind other methods for treating scoliosis (for instance, nutritional supplementation, electrical stimulation, exercise, or chiropractic manipulation) or even prevent the progression of the disease. Talk with your orthopaedist or doctor before starting any nontraditional treatment for scoliosis.

Key points about Scoliosis

● Scoliosis refers to a sideways curvature of the spine that measures 10° or even greater.

● In most cases, the reason behind scoliosis is unknown. In a few cases, scoliosis could be the result of breaking down of the spinal discs. This may occur with osteoporosis, arthritis, or even as a hereditary condition that runs in families.

● Symptoms include the head being off-center from the rest of the body, difference in hip height or position and a difference in shoulder height,

● In addition to a physical exam and a full health history check, X-rays are the main tools used for diagnosing scoliosis.

● Treatment can include observation along with repeated exams, bracing, and surgery.

If you’re looking for an orthopedist in Bangalore for consultation with respect to Scoliosis treatment, you can get in touch with 1Health Medical Center. Our expert Orthopedist will make the necessary observations, prescribe the right tests, and eventually use the test results to arrive at a treatment plan which will help you mitigate the problem.


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