To avoid chronic back pain and other problems, it is important to maintain good posture. The spine should be straight when standing, sitting and sleeping. Practicing good posture is easier on your backbone, but it also helps avoid chronic back pain conditions like scoliosis.
Scoliosis is a disorder that causes a person’s spine to develop in a curved (usually S- or C-shaped) pattern rather than a healthy, straight, vertical pattern. Scoliosis can range from mild to severe. If you develop scoliosis, your doctor’s treatment recommendations will depend on the severity of your curves.
Symptoms of Scoliosis
Scoliosis does not develop overnight; it develops gradually as the spine grows. The most noticeable symptoms of scoliosis are:
- Uneven shoulders.
- Off-center head.
- Body sides are not level to each other.
- Rib cage is higher on one side when bending forward.
- Chronic back pain and chronic neck pain
If your spine is developing a curvature, your doctor will probably begin by taking your medical history to determine if there is an underlying medical condition causing the curvature and then conduct a physical examination. You’ll probably be asked to stand straight and then bend at the waist with arms dangling loosely to look for telltale symptoms of scoliosis. If your doctor suspects scoliosis, an X-ray will probably be taken to measure the degree of spinal curvature.
CAUSES OF SCOLIOSIS
In most cases, scoliosis develops without any known cause. While scoliosis can develop in males and females of any age, it usually develops in children between the ages of 10 and their early teens, just before puberty. This type of scoliosis (called idiopathic scoliosis) is more common in girls than in boys.
Sometimes, scoliosis is caused when a normal spine temporarily becomes curved due muscle spasms, appendicitis, or differences in leg length that causes someone to have constant poor posture, Other causes of scoliosis include
- Birth defect
- A spinal tumor
People who have had a close relative with scoliosis are more likely to develop it themselves; however, most people who develop the condition do not have a family history of scoliosis.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR SCOLIOSIS
The treatment approach for scoliosis usually depends on the severity of your spinal curvature. If your curvature is mild and your spine is still growing, your doctor may take a wait-and-see approach and monitor you regularly. If you develop a mild case of scoliosis that does not continue to worsen, you may not need any treatment.
If you have a moderate curvature of the spine, your doctor may recommend wearing a back brace so your scoliosis doesn’t become worse. Braces are customized for the individual patient and usually worn around the clock for an extended period of time. Braces won’t cure or reverse scoliosis, but they may prevent the condition from getting worse. Once the spine has stopped growing, braces are no longer effective.
In severe cases of scoliosis that are becoming worse, the best treatment approach may be spinal surgery. A spine doctor may treat severe scoliosis by fusing together bones in the spine or implanting a metal rod or other device to keep the spine straight. In patients whose spines are still growing, the rod implanted will adjust to keep pace with normal spinal growth. Spinal surgery is usually recommended only in the most severe cases of scoliosis.