Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine which may have its onset in infancy but is mostly seen in adolescence. It is more common in females than males. Individuals with Scoliosis have a spine that may look more like an “S” or a “C” than a straight line.
The cause of scoliosis is unknown. It is believed to be genetic. Scoliosis often worsens during the adolescence growth spurt.
Some severe cases of Scoliosis can lead to diminished lung capacity, put pressure on the heart and may cause the person to restrict physical activity.
Symptoms can include any one or more of the following:
- Uneven musculature on one side of the spine
- A prominent rib or shoulder blade which is caused by rotation of the rib cage in thoracic Scoliosis.
- Uneven hips / leg lengths
- Asymmetric size or location of breast in females
- slow nerve action
Diagnosis of this condition may include one or more of the following:
- Physical examination
- Detailed medical history
- CT scan
- Bone scan
Surgery for Scoliosis is usually indicated for curves that have a high likelihood of progression, curves that would be cosmetically unacceptable as an adult, curves in patients with spina bifida and cerebral palsy that interfere with sitting and care, and curves that affect physiological functions such as breathing.
The most common procedure performed for patients with Scoliosis is a spinal fusion. Learn more about this and other surgical procedures by clicking here.
In children with immature skeletons and future growth potential, physical therapy is used in combination with a brace, not only to prevent progression of the abnormal curvature, but also to train and strengthen patients in holding their bodies in the corrected position after completion of the brace treatment.
Does Scoliosis hurt?
Generally, there is no significant discomfort with Scoliosis in children. However, with the adult patient, it is common for patients to experience pain which can be debilitating.
Can Scoliosis be fatal?
Not likely. Scoliosis is not fatal unless it progresses to a very severe case where there is compression of organs (like the lungs and heart).