What Is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis means that the spine curves to the side as compare to a normal straight spine.  

When scoliosis occurs, the spine can curve in one of three ways:

  • The spine curves to the side as a single curve to the left (shaped like the letter C), called levoscoliosis
  • The spine curves to the side as a single curve to the right (shaped like a backwards letter C), called dextroscoliosis
  • The spine has two curves (shaped like the letter S).

What are the causes?

There are many types and causes of scoliosis, including:

  • Congenital scoliosis – Caused by a bone abnormality present at birth.
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis – A result of abnormal muscles or nerves. Frequently seen in people with spina bifida or cerebral palsy or in those with various conditions that are accompanied by, or result in, paralysis.
  • Degenerative scoliosis – Could be caused by past injury or illness, bone collapse, previous major back surgery, or osteoporosis (thinning of the bones).
  • Idiopathic scoliosis – The most common type of scoliosis, there are no reason for the cause. There are many studies to how scoliosis happen, however there are no strong reasoning for the causes, yet there are strong indication that idiopathic scoliosis is inherited.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Usually scoliosis curve are identified during school screening exams, by a pediatrician, family doctor or by parents. Signs of scoliosis include uneven shoulders, a prominent shoulder blade, uneven waist, or leaning to one side. X-ray may be required to examine the magnitude of the curve.  

What Is the Treatment Options?

The majority of adolescents with significant scoliosis with no known cause are observed at regular intervals (usually every four months to six months), including a physical exam and a low-radiation X-ray.

Treatments for scoliosis include:

  • Braces – The common treatment for teens that have a spinal curve between 20 to 40 degrees. The purpose for wearing braces is to temporarily halt progression and correct position.
  • Surgery – Patient with 40 to 50 degrees curve should get a scoliosis surgery done. The aim of the surgery is make sure that the curves not get worse and straighten the spine.