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Scoliosis - A Disorder You Can Live With

Updated on May 4, 2011

What is Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a disorder that manifests itself in the form of an abnormal curvature of the spine.  It occurs during the pre-puberty growth spurt.  It also appears to be more prominent in females compared to males.  The precise cause is still unknown, although it is stated that there are hereditary factors, as it tends to run in families.

Types of Scoliosis

Here are two types of scoliosis namely, Functional Scoliosis and Neuromuscular Scoliosis. Functional Scoliosis: The spine seems normal, however, an abnormal curve develops as a result of problems occurring in another part of the body. Causes of this are usually muscle spasms in the back, or leg length discrepancies.

Neuromuscular Scoliosis: This problem develops as a result of spinal bones failing to separate from each other, or bones failing to form completely. Generally, persons with muscular dystrophy, birth defects and cerebral palsy are at risk. Curves that are observed at birth are called congenital scoliosis.

Signs and Symptoms

An abnormal curve of the spine, which can be observed by another person or doctor rather than yourself.  It is difficult for you to make such an observation.

  • Unevenness in the shoulders where one appears to be more prominent than the other.
  • One hip higher than the other which also prevents unevenness in the waist.

In severe cases, twisting and rotation of the spine also occur which results in back pains.  Some persons with untreated scoliosis may develop spinal arthritis.

Treating Scoliosis

At the first sign of irregularities in the shape of the spine or back pains, you should visit your doctor's office where a physical examination would be done. Your doctor would then advise on any further steps to be taken.

The curve pattern, location and perceived severity determine whether treatment options need to be explored. If treatment is needed, the options may include specialised exercises, physical therapy, using arch supports, wearing a brace or surgery.

Specialised exercises/physical therapy is recommended for persons who are a bit beyond mild but not severe. Arch supports help with supporting the back via the feet. A Brace is used for moderate scioliosis in children. The brace would not cure or reverse the curve, but it usually prevents further progression of the condition. Surgery may involve decompression, bone spur removal, or spinal fusion. The spinal fusion is done to stabilise the spine and if possible correct the abnormality.

People with scoliosis can lead a normal life. However, they may experience a bit more pain than others. They can work along with their specialist to explore the various treatment options which will be best suited to them. I have been leading a very normal life even though I have slight scoliosis. The pains used to be quite severe but with suitable exercises over the years, they have subsided. Doctors advised that I should not gain any exorbitant weight or have many children. I have two sons and maintain a healthy weight and am enjoying life to the fullest.


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