June is Scoliosis Awareness Month

With June being Scoliosis Awareness Month, there really is no better time to become educated on this disorder.

Wondering what the symptoms of scoliosis are, as well as what treatments are available? Read on to learn more!

Symptoms of Scoliosis

Characterized by an S- or C-shaped spine, scoliosis can appear at any age, with children between the ages of 10 and 12 years being most susceptible.

Due to the curvature of their spine, people with scoliosis often have trouble moving in a certain direction. Other signs and symptoms include having uneven shoulders, an uneven waist and/or hips and one shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other.

When infants develop scoliosis, a bulge can appear on their chest, and the baby may lie curved to one side.

What Causes Scoliosis?

Most often, scoliosis appears during a major growth spurt just prior to puberty. Females have a higher risk of getting scoliosis.

Although the cause is mostly unknown, scoliosis can be caused by certain neuromuscular conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, birth defects affecting spine development and spinal injuries. In addition, the disorder can involve hereditary factors. 

Often noticed by parents, teachers, friends and sports teammates first, scoliosis should be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible when symptoms appear. During their physical examination, the doctor will check out the spine, ribs, hips and shoulders and measure the degree of scoliosis.

To help further assess the curvature of the spine, imaging scans including x-rays and MRIs are normally completed. Depending on the severity, a referral may be given to an orthopedic specialist.

Treating Scoliosis

Fortunately, most cases of scoliosis do not require treatment as the spine corrects itself as the child grows. Other cases can be helped with physical therapy, Pilates and yoga, bracing and in a small number of cases, surgery.

Various complications can occur from scoliosis including chronic pain, lung and heart damage, decreased exercise capacity and noticeable changes in physical appearance.

Types of Scoliosis

Scoliosis can range in type from mild to severe. In its most mild form, scoliosis occurs where the curvature of the spine is less than 20 degrees. Mild scoliosis usually does not cause pain and is difficult to notice since the curvature changes slowly. It is best treated with exercise.

Moderate scoliosis develops when the spine curvature is between 40 and 45 degrees. Besides exercise, a medically prescribed brace is sometimes recommended to prevent scoliosis from worsening.  Braces are worn around the clock and do not normally restrict what the child can do. Although it prevents further curvature, braces cannot reverse the condition already present. Once the bones stop growing, braces are no longer used.

If severe scoliosis develops, scoliosis surgery or spinal fusion is typically needed to reduce the spine’s curvature and to prevent it from worsening.

Ask the Professionals!

Want more information about scoliosis? Stop by to speak to the friendly team at Brant Arts IDA Pharmacy today!