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Scoliosis - Curvature of the Spine

Curvature of the spine most commonly refers to a scoliosis deformity.A scoliosis is a deformity that occurs in the side-to-side plane, forming either a “C” shape or an “S” shape when viewed from behind the patient.Curvature of the spine may also be present with spondylolisthesis, a common condition where one vertebrae shifts out of position relative to the vertebrae below it. Curvature of the spine generally does not require treatment. But in severe cases, Bracing or Spinal Fusion surgery may be performed.

Types of Scoliosis

The cause of scoliosis is usually unknown, or what doctors call idiopathic scoliosis, the most common type.

In children age 3 and younger, the condition is known as infantile scoliosis. In youth from age 4 to10, it is called juvenile scoliosis. And scoliosis in youth of ages 11 to 18, it is adolescent scoliosis. Other types of scoliosis:

  • Congenital scoliosis, which is present at birth and is the result of a baby’s ribs or spine bones not forming properly.
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis is caused by a nervous system problem affecting muscle function such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and polio.

Symptoms are rare but can include:

  • Backache or low-back pain
  • Spine fatigue after long periods of sitting or standing
  • Uneven hips or shoulders
  • A spine curvature more to one side than the other

Treatments for Scoliosis

Treatment depends on the cause and location of scoliosis, how big the curve is, and if the body is still growing.

Most people with idiopathic scoliosis do not need treatment. However, anyone with this condition should get a doctor’s exam twice a year.

Children still growing sometimes wear a back brace in order to prevent further curving. Back braces work best in people over age 10. Braces do not work for those with congenital or neuromuscular scoliosis.

The best kind of back brace depends on the size and location of the curve, and many back braces can be adjusted as the wearer grows.

Sometimes scoliosis surgery is the best treatment for severe or rapidly worsening cases in order to correct the curve as much as possible. In this procedure, the surgeon inserts one or two metal rods with hooks and screws to hold the spine in place until the bone heals together.

The surgeon may make an incision through the back, belly area, or beneath the ribs. The patient may wear a temporary brace after surgery.

Other kinds of scoliosis treatment may also include:

  • Emotional support – Some kids, especially teens, may be self-conscious when using a back brace
  • Physical therapy – Certain specialists can help explain the treatments and make sure the brace fits correctly.
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