An abnormally curved appearance of the spine or backbone is known as scoliosis. The spine usually shows a curve in the side view of the body. However, it appears to be straight from the front view. Scoliosis is mainly seen to occur during growth spurt of puberty. Mostly girls are affected from this condition. Additional curves on either side are also seen in people with scoliosis. Also the bones of the spine are found to be twisted on each other. This forms a C or S shape in the spine.
A variety of scoliosis exist. They are:
- Congenital scoliosis:
In congenital scoliosis, the abnormality in bone is seen to be present in a person from birth.
- Neuromuscular scoliosis:
This condition of scoliosis occurs due to abnormal nerves or muscles. In severe cases, paralysis may also occur. This type of scoliosis is frequently seen in people with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and polio.
- Degenerative scoliosis:
Degenerative scoliosis is a result of chronic bone collapse or osteoporosis. In some cases, major back surgery or injury or illness may cause spine to curve.
- Idiopathic scoliosis:
Idiopathic scoliosis is the most commonly occurring scoliosis condition. The exact cause of this scoliosis is still unknown.
Generally, scoliosis has no symptoms. However, in some cases the following symptoms may occur.
- Lower back pain
- Tiredness in the spine
- Irregular shoulders or spine.
In severe cases, spine curve bents to one side.
The treatment procedure depends upon the type, cause, and position of scoliosis. Three types of treatment are preferred:
In early stages, a brace made of plaster of Paris is used. This brace helps to regain the normal position of the spine. It is mainly concerned with a child’s spine. This brace is placed in the external part of the body. It is to be worn all the time for regular cast changes.
- Braces Surgery
For moderate disease condition, bracing is the common treatment method used. During this period, the curve in spine ranges from 25-40 degrees. Also the maturity of bones is not achieved and a minimum of 2 years of growth still remains. This procedure aims to terminate the progression of the curve. However, it has a disadvantage of being temporary. After the elimination of bracing, the curve re-assumes its original dimension.
- Surgery(Spinal Fusion)
In severe cases where scoliosis keeps progressing with time, surgery is essential. It does not perfectly straightens the spine but provides steps to stop the curve from getting worsen. During the surgery, bone grafts are used to produce a rigid fusion in the curve region. In some cases, until the grafts consolidate, small metallic implants are used to correct the curvature. These implants are capable of holding the curvature to correct position. Scoliosis surgery provides permanent joint of the vertebrae. This process is also known as spinal fusion.
In severe cases of scoliosis, the person may have breathing problems. Other complications include:
- Lower back pain
- Damage to spine or any nerve
- Low self-esteem
- Rod displacement
- Spinal infection