Scoliosis And Its Treatment

An individual whose spine is curved to one side is suffering from Scoliosis. It can affect any part of the spine, but the most common areas are the chest and the lower back. In most of the cases, it occurs during the growth spurt in puberty period.

Over 80% of people with scoliosis have idiopathic scoliosis.  It’s a type of scoliosis in which the real cause is unknown. This scoliosis is divided into three categories.

If the person is of age;

  • Less than 3 years old, it’s infantile idiopathic scoliosis.
  • Between 3-10 years old, it’s juvenile idiopathic scoliosis.
  • Over 10 years old, it’s adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Cause of Scoliosis

Some of the known causes of scoliosis are:

  • Neuromuscular conditions – This condition affects the muscles and nerves of the body, leading to scoliosis.
  • Specific genes: You’re at a risk of scoliosis if anyone in your family had suffered from scoliosis.
  • Osteoporosis: It can lead to secondary scoliosis due to bone degeneration.
  • Leg length: If your one leg is longer than the other, you may have a risk to develop scoliosis.
  • Congenital scoliosis (present at birth): This happens rarely. It occurs in a baby during mother’s pregnancy, when the fetus is growing inside the mother.
  • Other causes: Carrying backpacks or satchels, bad posture, connective tissue disorders, and some injuries can lead to scoliosis.

Risk factors

The most common risk factors of scoliosis are:

  • Age – You can experience signs of scoliosis during the growth spurt that occurs just prior to puberty.
  • Gender – Girls have a much higher risk of the curve worsening and requiring treatment. Scoliosis affects approx. 0.5% of males and 2% of females.
  • Family history – Scoliosis can run in families, but most children with scoliosis don’t have a family history of the disease.

Complications of Scoliosis

Most of the people experience a mild form of scoliosis, however, in the worst cases it can lead to some complications:

  • Back problems. Adults who had scoliosis as children have more chances of having chronic back pain.
  • Lung and heart damage – The ribs may press against the lungs and heart, making it harder for you to breathe properly.
  • Appearance – If Scoliosis gets worse, you may observe noticeable changes such as uneven hips, prominent ribs, unlevel shoulders, and a shift of the waist and trunk to the side.

Treatment for Scoliosis

In severe scoliosis case, your doctor may recommend spinal fusion. This surgery lessens the curve of the spine and prevents it from getting worse. Scoliosis surgery involves the following:

  • Bone grafts – Two or more spine bones are joined together to lessen the curve of the spine. Doctors’ may use hooks, metal rods, screws, or wires to hold a part of the spine straight until the bones get healed properly.
  • Intensive care – The surgery takes approx. 4-8 hours. After surgery, the patient is filled in with intravenous fluid and pain relief. The patient may need to stay in the hospital for 7-10 days.
  • Recovery – The patient can go back to school after 4-6 weeks, and can take part in sports roughly 1 year after surgery. However, in some cases, a back brace is needed to support the spine for about 6 months.

The patient needs to visit the hospital every six months to lengthen the rods. The rods are removed with a surgical procedure when the spine grows.

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