Scoliosis is a medical condition that refers to curvature and deformity of the spine to the side or rotation. There are many different types and causes of scoliosis. Congenital scoliosis is a condition that develops after birth, while idiopathic scoliosis develops as a secondary symptom of another condition. Scoliosis can affect anyone, and severe cases can be debilitating.
Scoliosis causes the spine to grow or curve in a C shape or in other directions. It is usually painful, but some conditions during adolescence do not cause too much discomfort except for an obvious physical or skeletal imbalance. Celebrities who have been diagnosed with scoliosis include Isabella Rosellini, Renee Russo, Liza Minelli and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
To get an accurate diagnosis, a person must consult an orthopedist who specializes in spinal diseases and bone abnormalities. An orthopedist will typically ask patients to undergo the following exams:
Physical exam – Your doctor will examine your back, chest, hips, legs, and even your skin. Your doctor will look for imbalances or structural abnormalities in your shoulders, legs, and chest. Specifically, your doctor will look to see if your head is centered over your shoulders and the opposite sides of your body are equal. Another easy way to detect scoliosis is to check if your pant legs are the same length.
X-rays – If you have unusual and persistent low back pain or a large curvature of your spine, your doctor will ask you to examine an X-ray. An X-ray of your back will give a more detailed picture of your spine and curvature.
Curve Measurement – Using X-ray images, the doctor will measure the curve and determine the type of therapy or treatment needed based on the degree of curvature. Curves greater than 20 degrees require immediate medical treatment, which may include surgery.
Types of Scoliosis Treatment
There are different approaches to the treatment and management of scoliosis as listed below:
Braces – This approach is recommended for children or adolescents years with a progression curve of 30 degrees or more. The brace helps keep the spine in a straighter position and prevents the progression of the curve.
The brace will not straighten your spine but it will help improve posture and reduce curvature. The commonly specified brace known as the Milwaukee brace consists of metal posts that attach to the spacer and are positioned over the hip, rib cage, and neck; and Underarm splints are made of plastic and placed around the rib cage, abdomen, and hips. The bracelet is also prescribed for other types of neuromuscular diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy.
Surgery – When braces don’t give the desired results, surgery is often considered the next option. Bracelets may not be suitable for everyone. The main purpose of surgery is to join your curved bones and realign the vertebrae. The surgical procedure is called spinal fusion.
Coping with Scoliosis.To deal with scoliosis, some patients receive massage or similar therapy that improves body alignment, flexibility, and posture. Water exercise can also improve the posture and balance of patients with scoliosis. Acupuncture is also used as an alternative to relieve pain and discomfort caused by scoliosis.
Your world doesn’t have to stop spinning just because you have a spine problem. Scoliosis patients can still live happy and active lives. People with scoliosis can still participate in sports and other physical activities. Remember that fitness is important for people with back and spine problems.