What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a spinal deformity where the spine curves sideways. When viewed from the back, a healthy spine normally appears straight. But in people with scoliosis, the spine can look like an S or C shape. Most often, this curvature of the spine occurs during the growth spurt just before puberty. If the deformity is mild enough, it may not require treatment. However, sometimes it will continue to get more severe as the child grows. Severe cases of scoliosis can be disabling. It can prevent the lungs from functioning properly by reducing the amount of space inside the chest.
What Causes Scoliosis?
The cause of scoliosis is unknown. But a few risk factors have been identified. That includes:
- Family history
- Gender: Girls have a higher chance of scoliosis becoming more severe
- Age: Signs and symptoms usually begin right before puberty
There are some cases where less-common types of scoliosis arise from a known condition, such as:
- Injuries or infections of the spine
- Birth defects
- Degenerative joint conditions like arthritis
- Neuromuscular conditions like cerebral palsy
Signs and Symptoms of Scoliosis
In mild cases of scoliosis, the curvature may appear so gradually that the signs are difficult to spot. But here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Uneven shoulder blade heights
- Uneven hip heights or positions
- The head doesn’t look centred with the body
- The appearance the person is leaning to the side
If the scoliosis curve gets severe enough, it will also cause the rotation of vertebrae which makes the ribs on one side of the body stick out farther than the other side.
How is Scoliosis Treated?
The treatment options depend on the severity of the condition. When mild cases (a spinal curve of less than 20 degrees) are diagnosed in children, the usual approach is to simply watch and wait to see if any treatment will be required.
For more severe cases, possible treatment options include:
Scoliosis bracing: Can stop the curve from progressing. The most common types of braces are made of plastic and designed to conform to the body and be worn under the clothes. This treatment usually continues until the child’s bones stop growing.
Spinal surgery: Can be used to reduce the severity of the curve. The most common scoliosis surgery is spinal fusion, where surgeons connect bones in the spine so they can’t move independently.
Physiotherapy for Scoliosis
Physiotherapy can help with scoliosis treatment in several ways. Firstly, it can involve personalized exercise and stretching programs for improved strength, mobility, flexibility, and pain relief. In addition, when scoliosis requires surgery, physiotherapy can help with rehabilitation.
Our physiotherapists can create custom treatment plans that include a comprehensive range of treatments, such as:
- Functional retraining
- Massage therapy
- Custom orthotics
How to Prevent Scoliosis
Since the causes of scoliosis are unknown, there is no way to prevent it. However, early diagnosis makes the treatment more effective. So taking your child to the doctor once a year for a regular check-up (especially as puberty begins) is the best preventative measure.
Book an Appointment
At Activa Clinics, our expert healthcare providers can help you overcome whatever issues or limitations scoliosis may be causing you. We use advanced diagnostic imaging tools to help us get to the root of your condition and find the best options for treating it.
If left untreated, scoliosis can lead to more serious problems. The most common is chronic pain. However, if the patient’s scoliosis has reached an advanced degree of curvature, they may experience breathing problems, leg pain, cardiovascular problems, and lumbar stenosis. So, treating scoliosis should be done as soon as possible to prevent any major complications from occurring.
Scoliosis never goes away on its own. It is an incurable and progressive condition that does not fix itself without proper treatment. If you have been diagnosed with scoliosis, it is best to seek medical treatment to prevent it from worsening and causing complications that can prevent you from enjoying your life.
In some cases, scoliosis gets worse as they age. That is why it is important to follow a treatment plan immediately after being diagnosed with scoliosis. Depending on the severity of the scoliosis of the patient, a medical practitioner may suggest watchful waiting, bracing, or even surgery to fix the problem.