Scoliosis is a structural curve that appeared on the spine. It can appear at any age, but it often presents from the age of 10 to 12 years, or during the teens, but infants can sometimes have the symptoms. The cause of scoliosis often can’t be determined. Common causes that doctors may identify include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, birth defects, spinal injuries or infections. People with a family history of scoliosis are more likely to develop the condition. Also, girls are more likely to have a more severe form of scoliosis than boys.
What are the Scoliosis Types?
Scoliosis can also be categorized as either structural or nonstructural. In structural scoliosis, the spine’s curve is caused by a disease, injury, or birth defect, and is permanent. Nonstructural scoliosis describes temporary curves that can be fixed. So, what are the scoliosis types?
- Hereditary scoliosis, when the spine does not form correctly before birth
- İdiopathic scoliosis is the most common one. The spine may be curved as an ‘S’ or ‘C’ shape.
- Neuromuscular scoliosis is the second most common scoliosis type. One of the main reasons of its emergence is muscle or nerve diseases.
- Congenital scoliosis can emerge due to spinal anomalies that occur during the development of the unborn child.
How is Scoliosis Diagnosed?
Doctors identify a cause for an estimated 20 percent of scoliosis cases. These consist of different types of scoliosis. Your doctor will observe your back while you stand with your arms at your sides. They’ll check for spine curvature and whether your shoulders and waist area are symmetrical. Your doctor may also order some imaging tests to get a closer look at your spine. In order to have certain scoliosis diagnosis; x-ray, MRI scan, CT scan and bone scan can be used.
How to Treat Scoliosis?
The treatment can be done in various ways as the Scoliosis types and the patients age would be different. Also, it is important to observe whether the patient is likely to continue growing.
The primary treatment options are bracing and surgery. Bracing is used if the curvature is more than 25 to 40 degrees. Braces won’t straighten the spine, but they can prevent the curvature from increasing. This method of treatment is more effective for cases that are detected early. Those requiring a brace need to wear it 16 to 23 hours a day until they stop growing. A brace’s effectiveness increases with the number of hours they wear it per day.
The main types of braces are underarm and Milwaukee. Underarm braces, as we can understand from its name, are made of plastic and designed to fit around the body’s curves. It is not usually visible under clothing. The Milwaukee brace is a full-torso brace and has a neck ring with rests for the chin and the back of the head.
The second option for scoliosis treatment is having the surgery. Surgery is usually reserved for people with curves greater than 40 degrees. This surgery reduces the curve of the spine and prevents it from getting worse. Scoliosis surgery involves bone grafts, intensive care, and recovery. A surgeon will connect two or more vertebrae with new bone grafts.
Another option may be chiropractic treatment as it can improve the quality of life for a person with scoliosis. However, it is not a cure. Although it can help people with scoliosis feel better, it does not resolve the curvature of the spine.