Scoliosis: Understanding the Condition
Updated: Feb 18
Scoliosis is a medical condition that results in a noticeable sideways curvature of the spine. It is prevalent in the United States, affecting around 3 million people. While it is most common among adolescents, it can also occur at any age. Untreated Scoliosis can lead to severe complications such as limited mobility, chronic back pain, and respiratory issues. However, with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, those affected by Scoliosis can experience an improved quality of life. This article will provide an overview of Scoliosis, including causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options available.
Causes of Scoliosis
Scoliosis is caused by a curvature of the spine, which can occur due to several factors. There are two main types of Scoliosis: structural and functional. Structural Scoliosis is caused by a problem with the spine's bones, often resulting from a congenital disability or injury. Functional Scoliosis is caused by a problem with the muscles and ligaments around the spine, usually due to another medical condition such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.
Other causes of Scoliosis may include childhood habits such as carrying heavy backpacks, poor posture or sitting at a desk all day in school. Other conditions that can cause Scoliosis are tumors, spinal infections, and even inherited genetic disorders. Scoliosis is also more common during periods of rapid growth, especially during adolescence. People need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of Scoliosis so it can be diagnosed early on and appropriate treatment prescribed. If left untreated, Scoliosis can worsen over time which could lead to chronic pain and other health complications. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital in keeping the condition from progressing further.
In some cases, the cause of Scoliosis is unknown; this is referred to as idiopathic Scoliosis. Idiopathic Scoliosis can affect people of any age, but it typically affects children between the ages of 10 and 20. Other causes of Scoliosis include neuromuscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy or polio, genetic conditions such as Marfan syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, infection or tumors on the spine, and congenital disabilities that affect the bones in the spine. No matter what type of Scoliosis you have, there are treatments available to help reduce pain and improve your quality of life. Treatment may involve physical therapy exercises that strengthen muscles around your spine or a back brace that helps keep your spine straight when standing or walking. In some cases, surgery may be necessary if other treatments don't help enough.
Symptoms of Scoliosis
The most common symptom of Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that can be seen from the back. Other symptoms may include pain in the back or neck, fatigue, headaches, difficulty breathing, and difficulty with physical activity. It is important to note that some people with Scoliosis may not experience any symptoms.
In some cases, Scoliosis can affect the shape of other parts of the body as well. Some people with Scoliosis may have uneven hips or shoulders, one shoulder blade that is higher than the other, a rib hump on one side of their back, or their head may be positioned off-centre. If left untreated, Scoliosis can worsen over time and, in some cases, lead to more severe health problems such as decreased lung capacity and heart function due to compression from the curved spine. Early detection and treatment are essential for preventing the further progression of this condition.
Diagnosis of Scoliosis
Scoliosis is typically diagnosed through a physical examination, during which a doctor will look for signs of curvature in the spine. If Scoliosis is suspected, the doctor may order an X-ray to check the severity of the curve and rule out other potential causes of symptoms. In some cases, a CT scan or MRI may also be recommended to provide more detailed information about the curve in the spine.
Treatment of Scoliosis
Scoliosis treatment depends on the curve's severity and the patient's symptoms. For mild Scoliosis, treatment may not be necessary. Treatment options for moderate and severe Scoliosis include wearing a back brace, which can help prevent the curve from getting worse, and surgery to correct the curve.
Physical therapy can also help manage scoliosis symptoms and improve quality of life. Exercises may focus on strengthening the muscles surrounding the spine, improving posture, increasing flexibility, and reducing pain. Other treatments for Scoliosis include electrical stimulation designed to relax tight muscles in the back or chiropractic adjustments to realign spinal vertebrae. No matter what treatment is used, it's essential to have regular checkups with a doctor who specializes in treating Scoliosis so that any changes or progression of the curve can be monitored closely.
Living with Scoliosis
Living with Scoliosis can be challenging, as the condition can cause pain, fatigue, and difficulty breathing. Those with Scoliosis need to work closely with their doctor to develop an appropriate treatment plan, stay active, and maintain good posture. Physical therapy, exercise, and other lifestyle changes can also help manage the condition. In severe cases, Scoliosis can affect the heart and lungs, so it is essential to monitor the situation closely and seek medical attention if necessary.
It is also essential to pay attention to posture and alignment, as this can help limit the progression of Scoliosis. Many people with scoliosis benefit from using a back brace or another corrective orthotic device. It is essential to remember that no two cases of Scoliosis are precisely alike, so it is crucial to find a treatment plan that works best for each individual. Those living with Scoliosis may experience mental health issues such as depression or anxiety due to the condition; if this occurs, seeking counselling and support can be beneficial. Living with Scoliosis can be difficult at times, but many treatments and ways of managing symptoms are available. With proper care and support, those with Scoliosis can live healthy lives full of meaningful experiences despite their condition.
At Inspine Therapy, we specialize in providing a comprehensive approach to managing Scoliosis using various techniques such as chiropractic, physiotherapy, acupuncture, active rehab, and Pilates. Our experienced professionals will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan to address your specific needs and goals. We offer examination and diagnosis, manual adjustments, exercises, stretches, manual therapy, acupuncture, active rehab, and Pilates to help improve posture, flexibility, and overall strength and prevent the progression of Scoliosis.