Scoliosis affects nearly 9 million people in the world today. Scoliosis is characterized as an abnormal curvature of the spine. If you look at a skeleton, you will notice that the spine naturally curves. The natural curve of the spine is front to back. Those with scoliosis have a side to side curvature. This curvature causes a lot of discomfort as well as pain and other complications. Many different people suffer from scoliosis. A lot of times it starts in childhood. The symptoms range from mild to severe. Some things make the condition worse and enhance the symptoms. If you are suffering from scoliosis, you should seek treatment now.
The spine is an important part of the body. It travels from the base of the neck down to the pelvic region. It is a structure that has many functions. The most important function is stability and the distribution of weight. The spine is one of the major structures of the top of the body. It is because of the spine we can sit up straight and are not falling over. When it comes to the lower part of the body, we focus on the legs as the structure that keeps us up and stable. The spine is very strong and has natural curves. The spine curves in three places total. The curves give the spine an S shape. The purpose of the curves is to keep unnecessary stress off the spine. If the spine were an exact 90 degrees, there would be too much stress on the spine, and you would be in a lot of pain.
There are different types of scoliosis. Scoliosis can be described based on the location of the curvature as well as the age at the onset of the condition. Scoliosis can start during early childhood, during elementary age, or during teenage years. Infantile scoliosis is the onset of scoliosis from birth to the age of three. Juvenile scoliosis starts from the age of 3. It is considered juvenile scoliosis until the age of 9. After the age of 9, scoliosis is called adolescent scoliosis. From age 10-18 you may get the condition. After 18, the skeleton has developed. It is rare for anyone to develop scoliosis after 18. It is important to understand where the spine is curving and which direction it is curving. The spine may curve to the right or left. This is called dextroscoliosis and levoscoliosis, respectively. Dextroscoliosis (right side curvature) typically happens in the thoracic region of the spine. Levoscoliosis (left side curvature) is common in the lumbar region. There are three regions of the spine, and each is susceptible to abnormal curvature. The names of these abnormalities are as follows:
Thoracic Scoliosis– abnormal curvature in the middle of the spine
Thoracolumbar Scoliosis – abnormal curvature in the middle and lower part of the spine
Lumbar Scoliosis – abnormal curvature in the lower part of the spine
There is not just one type of scoliosis, so there is not just one cause either. There are genetic factors that cause scoliosis. If you have family members with the condition, you are at a higher risk of having the condition as well. Birth defects that involve the spine and spine structure is a common cause of infantile scoliosis. Neuromuscular function diseases like cerebral palsy and others cause the disease in most children. An injury is another cause of the condition. Certain injuries and spinal infections will also cause scoliosis; this is common in adolescent scoliosis. Age is a major risk factor. It is not about getting older; it is about hitting puberty. At this point, many children start to develop the condition. Girls have a higher risk than guys, unfortunately.
The symptoms of scoliosis show abnormalities in areas along the spine. The shoulders are uneven and sometimes it is very evident. Other times it is mild and not noticeable to others. When the shoulders are uneven, it may also make the shoulder blades look uneven as well. The shoulder blade may seem more prominent on one side. The waist may also be even. If the waist is uneven, the hip will also be uneven. One hip tends to be higher than the other. The problem with scoliosis is that the symptoms tend to worsen over time. As the condition worsens, the symptoms may also worsen. Pressure can be put on the heart and lungs. Along with that pressure, you will also have back pain, and you can look more and more deformed.
In mild cases of scoliosis, you will not need any treatment at all. Doctors will monitor you to make sure that your condition is not getting worse. When scoliosis is severe, the first step is braces. Braces are popular forms of treatment for young children. Braces are not so popular for those who have adolescent scoliosis. If the bones have finished growing, braces will not help. A popular surgery is a spinal fusion. The doctor may fuse together certain bones of the spine as a way to prevent further curvature. Doctors may also add a rod to help. The surgery is sometimes risky and only done in extreme cases.
Scoliosis affects many people. It may affect you either because you have it or know someone who does. Scoliosis should be monitored. In most cases, it is diagnosed during a physical with your doctor. It is best to get diagnosed early so that you can get treatment. The earlier you receive treatment, the better your prognosis is.
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