What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a progressive, lateral curvature of the spine. When viewed from the side, the spine should have curves. But when viewed from the front, the spine should be straight. Scoliosis is more than 10 degrees of curve, with rotation of the vertebrae

The most common type of scoliosis is “adolescent idiopathic scoliosis”. Idiopathic means “of unknown origin”. Research into the cause of scoliosis suggests that there may be a genetic factor which affects the control of the growth of the spine.

Scoliosis can affect both children and adults. In young children it is a very serious condition as it can rapidly progress as the child grows.

Scoliosis is usually first detected in children between the ages of 11 and 15. However, it can occur in younger children aged 3 to 10 years (juvenile scoliosis) and in babies (infantile scoliosis). Scoliosis can also occur in adults with no previous history, due to spinal degeneration and advancing age. This is called (De Novo Scoliosis).

The symptoms of scoliosis include: poor posture, shoulder humping, muscle weakness, and pain. In advanced cases, scoliosis can lead to heart and lung problems.

If scoliosis is detected and treated early, patients can avoid these symptoms in many cases. If left untreated, scoliosis sometimes requires surgery. In surgical cases, the bones of the spine are sometimes fused together and metal rods are inserted to try to straighten the spine. If the correct approach is used early enough, bracing is an effective treatment for halting the progression of scoliosis curves and reducing the need for surgery.

In adults, pain and poor posture are the most common complaints. Sometimes ongoing progression and spinal degeneration can also be an issue. Many treatments for the pain associated with adult scoliosis do not help, but fortunately new treatments such as adult scoliosis braces and scoliosis specific exercise rehabilitation offers these patients new hope.

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