Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. Approximately 7 million people in the U.S. are affected by it. The primary age of onset is 10-15, and both boys and girls are affected. However, girls are more likely to have the curve of their spine progress to a magnitude that requires treatment. Adult scoliosis is a condition that possibly was not diagnosed or treated in childhood. Scoliosis is suspected when one shoulder is higher than the other or the pelvis appears to be tilted. Scoliosis has no cure but can be prevented if detected early.

Causes of Scoliosis

In approximately 85 percent of cases, the cause of scoliosis is idiopathic, or unknown. Scoliosis appears to run in families, so a genetic component is suspected.

In some cases, diseases of the neuromuscular system cause scoliosis. Cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, for example, cause poor muscle control and weakness or paralysis that can lead to scoliosis. Congenital scoliosis is a birth defect that affects the formation of vertebrae or causes fused ribs during prenatal development. Brain stem abnormalities play a role in some cases of scoliosis.

Symptoms of Scoliosis

  • abnormal curving of the spine to the side
  • one shoulder or hip appearing higher than the other
  • uneven waist
  • leaning to one side
  • backache or lower-back pain
  • fatigue

If the curve of the spine in a person with scoliosis becomes worse, it can rotate and twist as well as curve to the side. Ribs sometimes stick out on one side of the body, and breathing problems develop.

Diagnosing Scoliosis

In order to identify cases at the earliest stage possible, middle and junior high schools conduct routine scoliosis screenings.

To determine whether someone has scoliosis, a health care provider performs a physical exam, which includes a forward-bending test to define the curve of the spine. If a curve is identified, an X-ray determines its severity. A neurologic exam determines if any changes in strength, sensation or reflexes have occurred.

Additional tests include spine X-rays, scoliometer measurements and MRIs.

Treating Scoliosis

The majority of children with scoliosis have a curvature of the spine that is less than 20 degrees, which is considered mild, and require no treatment. Regular X-rays detect whether any changes have developed.

If the spine curves 25-40 degrees in a child who is still growing, experts typically recommend that the child wear a brace to help slow the progression of the curve. The braces use pressure to straighten the spine and are adjusted as the child grows. A brace does not cure scoliosis or reverse the existing curve, but it can prevent the curve from progressing further. Braces are helpful with idiopathic scoliosis but not congenital or neuromuscular scoliosis.

When the spine has a curve that is greater than 40 degrees, surgery typically is recommended because scoliosis this extreme tends to get worse after a child stops growing. Although the curve cannot be corrected completely, surgery aims to correct it as much as possible by fusing the bones in the curve together. The bones are held in place with metal rods until the bones heal together. After surgery, a brace can help stabilize the spine.

Source Information

Mayo Clinic staff. "Scoliosis." MayoClinic.com (accessed Aug. 17, 2017).

MedlinePlus. "Scoliosis." National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health (accessed Aug. 17, 2017).

National Scoliosis Foundation. "Information and Support." Scoliosis.org (accessed Aug. 17, 2017).

Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition marked by inflammation of the joints. When a person has arthritis, the tissues that surround joints and other connective tissue become swollen. It is common to feel pain, sore...

Back Injury

According to the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, 80 percent of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain ranges from a dull, cons...

Broken Bones

Broken bones, also referred to as fractures, happen when more pressure is placed on bones than they can stand. When repeated and/or prolonged pressure is placed on a bone, a hairline crack, called a s...

Burns

A burn is an injury commonly caused by excessive heat or cold, electricity, radiation or chemicals. In 2007, medical professionals treated approximately a half million burn cases. Most burns are cause...

Cuts and Puncture Wounds

A puncture wound is a wound caused by a sharp object that pierces the skin, creating a hole. Puncture wounds usually don't bleed heavily and often quickly close on their own. A cut is an injury that o...

Dog Bites

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost five million people are bitten by a dog each year. That means Americans are more likely to be bitten by a dog than they are to be in...

Elevated Falls

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 17 percent of fatal occupational injuries that occurred in the U.S. in 2015 were due to falls. About half of those falls were from elevated heights....

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a common, chronic and widespread pain disorder characterized by a dull, deep pain in the muscles and tendons that may be felt throughout the body. There are as many as 10 million Ameri...

Degenerative Joint Disease

Degenerative joint disease is also called osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting 27 million Americans age 25 and older, and is a leading cause of disability....

Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, and it provides sensation and motor function to the lower extremities. It runs from the lower back down the back of each leg. The sciatic nerve prov...

Slip-and-Falls

Slip-and-fall cases result in a significant number of injuries each year. Although the term "slip" is used, the phrase "slip and fall" pertains to any case in which a person falls on another's propert...

TMJ

The jaw joint, called the temporomandibular joint (more commonly known as TMJ), is critical to our ability to bite, chew and swallow food, to speak and to make facial expressions. Each side of the hea...

Social Share

ABOUT US

Our mission at InjuredCare is to develop a family of sites that constitute the most useful, informative, reliable and exciting collection of legal resources on the web. We are constantly working to expand and improve many resources we offer to legal professionals and the public.

877-359-7077

RECENT TWEETS

Recording audio or video of your ex-partner in a family law case can actually backfire on you. Know your rights, and … twitter.com/i/web/status/9…11 hours ago

Are you a Dreamer? Know your rights; find a lawyer with our Attorney Directory. #InjuredCare #DACA #Dreamers … twitter.com/i/web/status/9…

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP