Scoliosis is a condition indicating abnormal curvature of the spine. The spine, or backbone, is not one bone at all but many, and those bones form a natural curve, front to back. In cases of scoliosis, however, the spine curves not front to back but side to side, forming a “C” or “S” shape. In some cases, the spine even twists.
Scoliosis often begins between the ages of 10 and 15 and can be associated with puberty. Most cases are mild and do not need treatment, but however severe the case, Rock Creek Spine and Rehabilitation will have you standing tall in the face of scoliosis.
The different forms of scoliosis are designated by their cause and the age at which they were discovered:
Idiopathic scoliosis – The cause of idiopathic scoliosis is unknown. It is usually discovered during childhood or adolescence. If discovered after complete skeletal growth, the condition is called adult idiopathic scoliosis.
Degenerative scoliosis – Degenerative is the most common adult form of scoliosis. It occurs as the spine curves with age. Pediatric scoliosis undiscovered, symptoms may develop and need to be addressed
Congenital scoliosis – Congenital scoliosis is present from birth. It is not treated as the curvature may resolve naturally as an infant grows. If not, it can be treated later on.
Neuromuscular scoliosis – Neuromuscular is a compounded condition, caused by muscular conditions like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.
Scoliosis cannot be caused by bad posture or carrying heavy things.
If you are concerned you might have scoliosis, you can make an appointment with your healthcare provider. Family history is generally considered during diagnosis as idiopathic scoliosis has been shown to run in families. Practitioners may also track changes in the spine through earlier x-rays. In rare cases, bladder or bowel dysfunctions may indicate nerve damage or pinching caused by scoliosis.
Mild scoliosis, with a curve of less than 20 degrees, rarely causes discomfort or requires treatment. People with moderate spinal curves (between 25 and 40 degrees) may appear to lean to one side or have uneven shoulders, and spine curvature may result in height loss, but often it is not so obvious. Severe scoliosis, with curves more than 50 degrees, can shift the alignment of the pelvis and hips, causing the ribs to rub against the pelvis, resulting in pain.
Pain can also develop if compounded by arthritis or an associated loss of conditioning. Natural degeneration of the spine may lead to other complications. Back pain is more common in adults than in children.
Scoliosis cannot be prevented, but if treated when young or soon after discovering the condition, discomfort can be lessened early on. At Rock Creek Spine and Rehabilitation, we are here to ease you through the discomforts of scoliosis, from back pain to teenage self-consciousness. There are a few guidelines for treating scoliosis:
Stretching and adjustments. Our chiropractors work with the specific curvature of your spine, making adjustments to reverse your body’s unhealthy countermeasures and assist in the rehabilitation of your spine. The process is methodical and conservative.
Low-impact exercises. We recommend working with healthcare professionals to find an exercise program tailored to you. Look for exercises and stretches that strengthen your core and improve posture. Low-impact exercises like swimming can avoid the danger of exacerbating the problem and can help ameliorate pain.
A back brace. Your healthcare provider may recommend a back brace if it looks like your case may be severe. The hours and type are determined by your healthcare provider.
In very serious cases (if the pain is too debilitating and the quality of life is severely impacted), a healthcare provider may suggest spinal fusion surgery. In these cases, a surgeon straightens the spine and secures it with rods and screws, and bone graft.