Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options of Scoliosis
Scoliosis happens when the spine suffers a sideways curvature. The condition typically manifests in adolescents. Whereas individuals with muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy have a higher risk of developing scoliosis, the cause remains unexplained for most childhood scoliosis.
The condition typically starts as mild. However, it worsens as the child grows. When at severe levels, it can greatly disable most movements. Additionally, an extreme case of scoliosis poses a risk to the individual. For instance, it may reduce the space available in the chest, interfering with the normal functioning of the lungs.
Doctors closely monitor children that have mild scoliosis through X-rays. They aim to understand the development of the curve and whether or not it is getting worse. In most cases, the child may not have to undergo treatment. In other situations, the child could get a brace to help curb scoliosis from worsening. Severe conditions require surgery to straighten the curves.
Symptoms of scoliosis
The typical signs and symptoms of scoliosis include:
One part of the rig jutting forward
One shoulder blade appears more prominent
One side of the back is more prominent when bending forward
Clothes failing to fit well
Visibly uneven spine
When you have scoliosis, the spine could rotate or twist besides curving sideways. As a result, muscles or ribs on one side of the body tend to stick out farther than the opposite ones.
Causes of scoliosis
Different studies cannot pinpoint specific causes of scoliosis. So far, it appears to be a hereditary factor since the conditions tend to run mainly in families. Additionally, the issue seems to be more prominent in adolescents.
Scoliosis could arise from:
Spinal cord abnormalities
Infections or injuries to the spinal cord
Birth defects that affect bone development
Neuromuscular conditions such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy
Childhood surgeries on the chest wall
Furthermore, common types of scoliosis could develop due to particular risk factors:
Family history – The condition appears to run in families
Sex – The potential of mild scoliosis developing in girls and boys is the same. However, girls have a higher risk of it developing into severe stages
Age – The symptoms of scoliosis typically begin manifesting in adolescence
Complications and treatment of scoliosis
Scoliosis often leads to mild disorders. However, it could worsen over time to cause more complications such as:
Noticeable changes in one’s appearance like uneven shoulders and hips, waist shift, and prominent ribs
Back problems for those who develop scoliosis in childhood. This mainly happens when the abnormal curves grow bigger
Breathing problems when the rib presses against the lungs
The doctor performs a detailed diagnosis by first looking into your medical history and inquiring about any recent growth. A physical examination is also done to determine how both sides of the rib cage balance.
Moreover, where necessary, the doctor could perform a neurological exam to determine numbness, abnormal reflexes, and muscle weakness.
The treatment option for scoliosis varies depending on how severe the condition gets. Mild curves in children do not require any treatment. However, they may require regular checkups to ensure the issue does not get worse.
Moderate to severe scoliosis requires surgery or bracing. Doctors decide on this by looking at maturity, sex, and severity of the curve.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best treatment for spinal stenosis?
The best treatment for spinal stenosis is chiropractic. It is non-invasive, non-toxic, and all-natural and has an excellent track record for efficacy.
Can a chiropractor fix spinal stenosis?
Research shows chiropractic care to be the #1 treatment for spinal stenosis.
When is surgery needed for spinal stenosis?
Surgery should only be considered after you have first tried every conservative treatment first.
What activities should you avoid with spinal stenosis?
You want to avoid any high-impact activities (like running, plyometric exercises, aerobics, etc..), and focus on low-impact activities (like swimming, walking, and resistance training).
What causes spinal stenosis?
Stenosis can be caused by arthritis, herniated disc, infections, thickening of the ligaments, and gradual narrowing of the vertebral canal.
How do you test for spinal stenosis?
After reviewing the medical history, the next step is to do a thorough neurological examination. The doctor should check vestibular (balance) function; assess the sensory pathways and the motor pathways. The doctor will consider risk factors such as cigarette smoking, obesity, and muscle tone. After this, an imaging study (x-ray, MRI, CT Scan) is often warranted.
What is the prognosis for spinal stenosis?
The prognosis of spinal stenosis depends on the severity of the problem, if it is affecting neurological function, complicating factors, the patient’s age, and their own innate recuperative powers of recovery. There is one rare occasion where surgery is needed. It is called cauda equina syndrome. This results when the spinal cord is so badly compressed, it affects bowel & bladder function. However other than that, stenosis can be managed through conservative non-surgical means.