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Scoliosis Feature

Scoliosis

What Is Scoliosis?

When looked at from the side, a human’s spine has a natural s-curve. When looked at from behind, a spine should be relatively straight. Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine with a curvature angle of more than 10 degrees. Scoliosis may cause either an S-curve or a C-curve in the spine.

Severe scoliosis can make it harder for the heart and lungs to function properly.

Scoliosis Symptoms

While the primary symptom of scoliosis is a curvature of the spine, that curvature may not be obvious unless you notice symptoms like:

  • Uneven shoulders
  • Uneven waist
  • One shoulder blade sticking out or up farther than the other
  • One hip higher than the other

Scoliosis Causes

There is no identifiable cause for around 80% of scoliosis cases. Doctors call this idiopathic scoliosis. Causes that doctors can identify include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Infections of or injuries to the spine
  • Tumors
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Birth defects
  • Neurological abnormalities
  • Genetic conditions like Down syndrome or Marfan

Idiopathic scoliosis can be broken down into different categories based on the patient’s age:

  • Infant scoliosis affects children 0-3 years old
  • Juvenile scoliosis affects children 4-10 years old
  • Adolescent scoliosis affects children 11-18 years old and is the most common
  • Adult scoliosis affects adults over the age of 18

Risk Factors for Scoliosis

Scoliosis can strike just about anybody; however, some people are at a higher risk than others. Risk factors for scoliosis include:

  • Age. Scoliosis occurs most commonly when adolescents are going through puberty between ages 9 and 15.
  • Gender. Girls and boys develop mild scoliosis at similar rates, but girls are much more likely to have severe forms of scoliosis.
  • Family history. While many people with scoliosis don’t have a family history of it, family history can increase the likelihood of scoliosis.

Scoliosis Complications

Mild scoliosis often has no complications, but as the severity of the curvature of the spine increases, so does the likelihood of complications, including:

  • Back problems. Adults who had scoliosis as a child are more prone to back problems than adults.
  • Altered appearance. Moderate to severe scoliosis can cause noticeable changes to a person’s body, such as uneven hips, prominent ribs, unlevel shoulders, and a shifted waist.
  • Heart and lung damage. Severe scoliosis can make it more difficult for the lungs to inflate and the heart to pump blood.

Diagnosing Scoliosis

A doctor can often diagnose scoliosis with a family and medical history along with a physical exam. During the physical exam, the doctor may ask the patient to bend over to see the spine more clearly.

Imaging tests may be required to confirm the diagnosis and assess the degree of curvature. Diagnostic tests could include x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or bone scans.

The doctor may also want to rule out other causes by checking for numbness, muscle weakness, or abnormal reflexes.

Scoliosis Treatment

Treatment for scoliosis will vary depending on the severity of the spinal curvature and the age of the patient. There is no cure for scoliosis. The goal of treatment is to prevent or minimize future curvatures. Treatment may include:

  • Wait and see. In children with mild to moderate curvature of the spine, a wait-and-see approach is sometimes best. Regular testing will determine if or how much the curvature is worsening before a doctor suggests more aggressive treatments.
  • Bracing. A brace can help prevent the curvature from getting worse. Braces often need to be worn 24 hours a day (apart from showering or participating in sports) to be effective.
  • Surgery. Severe curvatures may need to be straightened using surgery, which often involves placing rods and pins in the spine.

Chiropractic Care For Scoliosis

While chiropractic care can’t cure scoliosis, it may slow the progression and improve pain and other symptoms. one study showed improvements in pain, levels of disability, and the curvature of the spine. Most studies are more mixed, but chiropractic care can often relieve pain and other symptoms associated with scoliosis.

Chiropractic care is safe for children and may involve several different types of therapies for best results.

Click here or call Southside Chiropractic Car Injury Clinic today at 904-497-0823 to schedule a consultation to see if we can help improve the symptoms of your scoliosis.

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