Scoliosis or curvature of the spine affects many people. However, it appears to affect boys more than girls and people aged above 10 years are more likely to be affected. The spine curves abnormally and will interfere with the posture. This may make walking, sleeping, and carrying out other activities a bit of a challenge. The sad fact is that the condition has no cure and the best way to deal with it is by managing it. Early diagnosis helps to combat its effects before they get out of hand.
What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a disorder that leads to the spine or backbone curving abnormally. In a normal situation, it should look straight when viewing from the front and a bit curved when looking at it from the side. However, in a person suffering from scoliosis, the spine will look curved or bending forward from the side view instead of straight. It may also curve at different areas, lower spine (lumbar), in the middle spine (thoracic), or upper spine (cervical) and may appear C or S shaped depending on the curve or area affected. Whichever the curve it will affect posture, ability, and in rare instances may cause pain.
Forms of scoliosis
The condition is normally categorized depending on the age of the afflicted person: This classification is generally termed as idiopathic.
– Infantile idiopathic scoliosis- When the victim is aged below 3 years
-Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis.
– When the person is between 3 and 10 years.
– Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; When the person is between 10 and 18 years.
Symptoms of Scoliosis
Usually, the symptoms of scoliosis will be noticeable from infancy. They age at which it is e more prominent varies from person to person. Some will experience the full effect at infancy whereas others will develop the symptoms in their adolescent years. Common symptoms include the following:
-The head will asymmetrical and will appear to be more on one side instead of a central position
-The ribcage will be asymmetrical. One side of the ribs will be higher or lower than the other
-The hips won’t be symmetrical and one hip will be higher or lower than the other
-The shoulders are not symmetrical with one seeming higher or lower than the other does
-The Length of the legs may be uneven
-Clothes will hang or droop improperly
-One side of the chest may bulge more than the other
What causes scoliosis?
-Neuromuscular: Occurs when bones in the spine develop unevenly or fail to separate from one another.
-Functional: The spine will be fine but another part, for instance, the leg and hip is not or the person has muscle spasm. This will tend to interfere with the spinal balance hence leading to a curve.
-Marfan syndrome: This is a hereditary connective tissue condition that makes the spine form a C shape. The curve is noticeable right from birth and requires a more aggressive approach to deal with.
-Degenerative: While most types of scoliosis affect kids and teens, this one is common among adults. Weak tissues and ligaments, vertebral compression fractures, osteoporosis, arthritis and disc degeneration among other effects cause it.
Best treatments for Scoliosis
Currently, there is no cure for this condition. However, there are a number of ways that will help to manage the conduction. One of the most common and recommended treatment options is spine physiotherapy. This prevents the situation from getting worse as it provides targeted therapy to the specific region being impacted. Moreover, it helps the person lead a better and more fulfilling life.
-Lumbar spinal fusion: this surgical procedure fuses the bones of the spine (Vertebrae) with the lower back. In so doing, it makes the region more rigid and stronger and this prevents the spine from continuing to curve.
-Removal of bone spur or intervertebral disc: Bone spurs may grow and exert excessive pressure on the spine and this may causes pain and discomfort. Removing them as well as the intervertebral disk helps to alleviate the pain.
-Tumor removal: osteoid osteoma is a tumor that causes the spine curvature. A surgical procedure will get rid of the tumor or growth.
About the Author
Tim Adams is a leading musculoskeletal physiotherapist bondi junction who specialises in both headache and spine treatment. With over 20 years’ experience, Tim is referred to by some of Australia’s leading neurosurgeons to help with post-operative rehabilitation from his boutique spinal physiotherapy clinic.