WHAT IS SCOLIOSIS?

Scoliosis is a sidelong curvature of the spine. A person that is affected by scoliosis has its spine in the form of the letter “S”.

Scoliosis affects 2% of women and 0,5% of men of the world population. Luckily, most of the scoliosis cases aren’t serious threat for the health and only regular check up is required.

SYMPTOMS OF SCOLIOSIS

The development of scoliosis in most of the cases is gradual and painless. Sometimes the parent or the kid cannot notice the curvature while occurring. Early detection is very important because the treatment can begin immediately, thus preventing worsening of the condition.

Unfortunately, the scoliosis usually becomes noticeable when the kid becomes aware for its body (10-15 year old).

If you notice that your kid shows signs of scoliosis, take it to the doctor, especially if your family already had history with scoliosis. In order to detect the scoliosis in its early stage, you should know which symptoms you are looking for:

  • One of the shoulders is higher
  • Uneven waist
  • One of the hips is higher than the other one
  • One side of the ribs is more bulged than the other one
  • One side of the back is higher than the other one while bending down
  • Stooped body

Pain in the back and difficult breathing may appear in the serious cases of scoliosis.

WHAT CAUSES SCOLIOSIS?

In 80% of the scoliosis, the cause for the spine curvature is unknown. When the cause cannot be identified, the scoliosis is named idiopathic.

Sometimes the scoliosis may be caused by diseases of neuromuscular system (neuromuscular scoliosis), uneven length of the legs and congenital defects. Congenital scoliosis is a kind of congenital defect, which affects the development of the spine and may cause other health problems like anomalies in kidneys and heart.

In some cases the scoliosis is present among the family members, but it is still unknown how it becomes hereditary.

RISK FACTORS

The scoliosis is usually detected in children during the early puberty. The rapid development of the body in this period worsens the condition, if the curvature of the spine already occurred. Besides the rapid growth, there are other factors that worsen the scoliosis:

Gender – the possibility of worsening of the condition and treatment in females is greater.

Age – if the kid is younger when scoliosis occurs, the possibility of increased curvature is greater.

Rate of curvature – if the curvature rate is larger, the possibility of worsening in time is increased.

Congenital spinal problems – the children who are born with scoliosis (congenital scoliosis) are exposed to greater risk of worsening of their condition.

Location of the curvature – curvature in the middle and the lower part of the spine are not as prone to progress as those in the upper part.

TREATING

Many children have slight curvature, lower than 20 degrees and corsets or surgical interventions aren’t required. The children will have to do regular check up and radiography in order to monitor the curvature. The children that are still growing should do regular check up every 4-6 months.

The decision for the method of treatment depends from many factors, like: age, maturity of the child, gender, presence of scoliosis in the family and the curvature degree.

CORSETS

If the curvature degree in the kid is 25-40 degrees and continues to increase, your doctor will recommend a corset treatment.

Corset will not cure or reduce the curvature, but it will prevent further curvature.

Most of the corsets need to be worn all the time. They can stop the progression of scoliosis in 90% of the cases and surgical intervention will not be required.

The corsets should be worn according to the doctor’s instructions. Both, the kid and the parents should understand how important the wearing of the corsets is. When the skeleton is mature (15-16 year in females and 17-18 years in males) or the curvature is bigger (40-45 degrees) the treatment with corset will not help.

SURGICAL INTERVENTION

If the curvature is bigger than 40-50 degrees, your doctor will recommend a surgical intervention. In most of the cases the surgery is done with an incision at the middle of the back.

This surgery is very complex which lasts several hours. The recovery in hospital lasts one week and patient must be careful with the daily activities in the following few months. The results of the surgery are immediately visible and the improvements in the spine are noticeable.