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Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that happens most frequently during the growth spurt just before puberty. While scoliosis can be caused by conditions like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, the cause of most scoliosis is unknown.
Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but few kids develop spine deformities that continue to get more severe as they grow. Severe scoliosis could be disabling. An especially severe spinal curve could reduce the amount of space within the chest, making it difficult for the lungs to function properly.
Signs and symptoms of scoliosis could include:
1) Uneven shoulders
2) One shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other
3) Uneven waist
4) One hip higher than the other
If a scoliosis curve gets worse, the spine will also rotate or twist, in addition to curving side to side. This causes the ribs on one side of the body to stick out farther than on the other side.
The physician will initially take a detailed medical record and could ask questions about recent growth. During the physical test, your physician could have your child stand and then bend forward from the waist, with arms hanging loosely, to see if one side of the rib cage is more prominent than the other.
Your doctor could also perform a neurological test to check for:
1) Muscle weakness
3) Abnormal reflexes
Plain X-rays could confirm the diagnosis of scoliosis and reveal the severity of the spinal curvature. If a physician suspects that an underlying condition like a tumor is causing scoliosis, she or he could recommend additional imaging tests, like an MRI.
Most children with scoliosis have mild curves and probably won’t want treatment with a brace or surgery. kids who have mild scoliosis may require checkups each four to 6 months to see if there have been changes in the curvature of their spines.
While there are tips for mild, moderate and severe curves, the decision to start treatment is forever created on a personal basis. Factors to be considered include:
1) Sex. girls have a much higher risk of progression than do boys.
2) The severity of the curve. Larger curves are a lot of seemingly to worsen with time.
3) Curve pattern. Double curves, also referred to as S-shaped curves, tend to worsen more frequently than do C-shaped curves.
4) Location of the curve. Curves located in the center (thoracic) section of the spine worsens more frequently than do curves in the upper or lower sections of the spine.
5) Maturity. If a child’s bones have stopped growing, the danger of curve progression is low. That also means that braces have the most effect on kids whose bones are still growing.
If your kid’s bones are still growing and he or she has moderate scoliosis, your physician may suggest a brace. Wearing a brace won’t cure scoliosis or reverse the curve, but it ordinarily prevents further progression of the curve.
The most general type of brace is made of plastic and is contoured to conform to the body. This close-fitting brace is almost invisible below the clothes, as it fits below the arms and around the rib cage, lower back and hips.
Severe scoliosis typically progresses with time, so your surgeon might suggest scoliosis surgery to reduce the severity of the spinal curve and to prevent it from getting worse. The most general type of scoliosis surgery is called spinal fusion.
In spinal fusion, surgeons connect two or more of the bones in the spine (vertebrae) together, so they can not move independently. Pieces of bone or a bone-like material are placed between the vertebrae. Metal rods, hooks, screws or wires typically hold that part of the spine straight and still while the old and new bone material fuses.
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