Scoliosis refers to a sideways curvature of the spine. The curvature usually forms an elongated C shape. It is more likely to occur during the growth spurt just before puberty. It also occurs during childhood. The actual cause of most scoliosis is unknown. There are four major types of scoliosis:
- Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis which appears in adolescence.
- Neuromuscular scoliosis which is associated with disorders of nervous or muscular systems such as spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy. It mostly occurs in children.
- Congenital scoliosis which is caused by a birth defect.
- Degenerative scoliosis which is caused by degeneration of the moving parts of spine, namely, facet joints and intervertebral discs.
Actual cause for most scoliosis is unknown. Some of the causes include:
- Congenital or birth defects
- Injury or infection to the spine.
- Neuromuscular conditions such as spina bifida and muscular dystrophy
- A visible curve on your back
- Back stiffness
- Pain and numbness in legs
- Pain in the lower back
- Uneven shoulders, hips or waist
- Leaning to one side
- Uneven length of legs
- Ribs may appear at different heights
Diagnosis is made on the basis of
- Medical history
- Physical examination
- Neurological examination (if required)
- Radiographic tests which include
- MRI-Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Prevention is not much possible. Further progression can be avoided by
- Regular screening for spinal deviations
- Avoid lifting heavy objects single handedly
- Maintain proper posture
- Exercises to strengthen back muscles.
Treatment for scoliosis includes assistive devices and surgery.
- Braces may be used for moderate scoliosis in order to prevent further progression of the curvature.
- In surgical correction, the most common method is spinal fusion wherein the surgeon connects two or more of the vertebrae (spinal bones) so that they do not move independently.
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