Scoliosis: Causes | Types | Symptoms | Tests | Treatment
The word scoliosis has come from Greek word “skol” which means curvature. In medical words, scoliosis is longitudinal or lateral deviation of the spine in varying degrees. In laymen terms, we can say that scoliosis is a curvature that occurs in the spine, which is accompanied by a rotation of the vertebral bodies, which causes the appearance of a hump. Interestingly this hump or curvature looks perfectly normal or straight when viewed from the rear position but not from the front. In general, there are various causes of scoliosis. Scoliosis is not limited to a unique age group and can occur at different stages of life. Scoliosis is common in people with lack of muscle tissue or poor muscle ratio in the lower back. Usually, the lumbar and abdominal muscles are required to maintain rigid and correct positioning of spine.Weakness of these muscles causes scoliosis, thereby, forming a curve in the form of “S” or “C” shape. In very few cases of spinal curvature, patients do not require any long-term treatment. The curvature is so minimal that they are required to just visit their spine or back specialist once a year or every six months to measure the curvature for any changes but maximum cases of scoliosis require long-term care and treatment.
CAUSES OF SCOLIOSIS
- Congenital spine deformities which occur when the fetus is developing inside the womb and takes birth with this disorder. This condition comes under idiopathic scoliosis (scoliosis of unknown cause).
- The other possibility is neuromuscular or muscular weakness of the lower back and abdomen accompanied with dystrophy of muscles.
- Other cause of scoliosis is limb length inequality or discrepancy in which one leg is shorter than the other.
- Cerebral palsy or paralysis of some parts of brain that control body movement, posture, and balance.
- Spina bifida or incomplete development of spinal cord in baby at the time of birth.
- Genetic disorders.
- Hereditary disorders. Most patients having scoliosis have a family history of scoliosis.
TYPES OF SCOLIOSIS
- Infantile scoliosis from age 0 to 3.
- Juvenile scoliosis from age 3 to 9.
- Adolescent scoliosis from age 9 to 18.
- Adult scoliosis from age 18 to end.
SYMPTOMS OF SCOLIOSIS
- Uneven positioning of ribcages.
- Curvature of entire body to one side.
- Dimples, color changes, and hairy patches over the spine.
- Discrepancy in shoulder height.
- Uneven positioning of waist.
- Prominent or raised hip.
TESTS FOR SCOLIOSIS
- Adam’s Forward Bend Test – Bending 90 degrees at the waist for measurement of scoliosis.
- Cobb Method – Measuring various degrees of curves - 25 to 30 degrees, moderate curve - 45 to 50 degrees, severe scoliosis.
TREATMENT OF SCOLIOSIS
- A spine specialist measures the degree of scoliotic curvature of spine, assesses the spinal curve according to location, and checks the potential for future progression of curve.
- Orthopedic spine specialist prescribes orthopedic bracing in order to the stop the progression of curve but it is not 100% effective in young patients due to skeletal immaturity.
- In cases of severe spinal curvature that is growing constantly, a spine specialist performs surgery for scoliosis which is the most complicated procedure performed on humans, especially children.
Scoliosis is a really debilitating condition and needs to be tackled with rest and proper care. A scoliotic patient needs special attention from the caretakers. Kinesiological taping is a conservative approach for treatment of idiopathic scoliosis of a low degree but severe scoliosis can be only treated with proper observation, care, orthopedic bracing, and surgery.
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