WHAT IS SCOLIOSIS
Scoliosis is a medical condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine, which can occur in three dimensions. The spine can curve side to side (lateral curvature), rotate around its axis (axial rotation), and tilt forward or backward (sagittal curvature), often taking on an “S” or “C” shape. These three-dimensional movements can vary in severity and are typically measured using the Cobb angle, on X-ray, which is the most common method of quantifying scoliotic curvature.
Scoliosis can occur at any age, but it is most commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents during their growth spurt. This is also the time that conservative non-surgical treatment is the most effective.
There are several types of scoliosis, including idiopathic scoliosis (of unknown cause), congenital scoliosis (caused by a birth defect), neuromuscular scoliosis (caused by a neuromuscular condition such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy), and degenerative scoliosis (caused by wear and tear on the spine due to aging).
TREATMENT OF SCOLIOSIS
How your condition is managed depends on your age and how much growth you have left, the type of scoliosis you have, the measurement of your back’s curve, and other medical conditions. We also take into account any other symptoms you have that can be caused by severe curves, like pain, limited body function, and breathing problems.
Treatment is divided into non-surgical and surgical treatment.
- Non-surgical treatment
- Generally, if a scoliosis curve is small with angels less than 20 degrees, we might just prescribe exercises, postural corrective movements and chiropractic
- Curves between 20 degrees to 50 degrees might be braced in conjunction with exercises and chiropractic treatment. Various braces might be considered based on the type of curve, age and progression potential. At My Chiro Doc we mostly make use of a dynamic scoliosis brace called the SpineCor brace. SpineCor brace treatment will slow down or stop the progression of a child’s scoliosis during the remainder of growth i.e. bracing provides support and stability to the spine, it may even reduce the size of the curve. SpineCor treatment is appropriate for children from 5 years old. In adults SpineCor treatment may reduce pain associated with adult scoliosis and Hyperkyphosis.
- Scoliosis curves above 50 degrees, are usually referred for surgery. Generally, this involves spinal fusion.
COMPLICATIONS OF SCOLIOSIS
Progression of Curvature: In some cases, scoliosis can worsen over time, leading to an increasing curvature of the spine. This can result in more pronounced deformity and potential health issues.
Respiratory Impairment: Severe scoliosis can affect lung function by reducing the space available for the lungs to expand. This can lead to breathing difficulties and decreased lung capacity.
Cardiovascular Issues: Severe scoliosis can also impact the position and function of the heart, potentially leading to cardiovascular problems.
Cosmetic Concerns: Scoliosis can cause noticeable changes in body shape, leading to self-esteem and body image issues, particularly among adolescents.
Pain and Discomfort: Scoliosis can cause back pain and discomfort, especially as the curvature increases.