Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person’s spine has an abnormal and “sideways” curvature. This curvature may vary from mild to severe, and if the curve is very pronounced, it can often be noticed by others familiar with the affected person’s appearance. Scoliosis is most common in adolescent girls, especially those diagnosed with a bone disease called osteopenia. Still, it can also occur in as many as 10% of young boys and aging adults. In most cases, the cause is unknown, and treatments are often focused on pain management and prevention of further curvature. If you have scoliosis, you need to see a doctor specializing in diagnosing and treating scoliosis in Sandy Springs for proper treatment.
Scoliosis symptoms vary depending on the severity of the curvature. If you have mild scoliosis, you may not notice anything out of the ordinary at all, while more severe cases can cause back and shoulder pain. Some other symptoms that may occur with scoliosis include :
- Loss of the standard spine curve when standing or walking (this may consist of a forward-leaning posture)
- Soreness in the lower back and shoulders
- Arm numbness and pain due to pressure on nerves
- Abnormal breathing patterns such as shallow breathing that occurs when the thoracic curve is present
There are multiple suspected causes for scoliosis, but the root cause is unknown in most cases. Several conditions can contribute to an abnormal spine curvature, including tumors, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, osteoporosis, and neuromuscular disease. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is generally considered an “autoimmune” disease in which the body attacks its cells and tissues, resulting in chronic inflammation. Genetics also plays a role in scoliosis, with males being more likely to be severely affected by the curvature of their spine than females.
A doctor will need to perform an x-ray of the back and neck to diagnose scoliosis, most likely taking two different views of each side of the spine. They may order additional imaging studies such as computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or bone scan. Your doctor may wish to perform an examination of the range of motion in your spine.
The severity of scoliosis will determine treatment for this condition. Mild cases are sometimes observed without intervention unless there is accompanying pain. Bracing is often used in adolescents to prevent curvature progression and may need to be worn for several years. Braces and corsets must fit tightly and can become uncomfortable. Still, it is worth enduring stiffness and restricted movement for many patients to avoid the potential long-term problems that result from untreated scoliosis. You may require surgery to prevent further curvature or correct existing deformity for severe cases. Surgery involves realigning the spine, which is usually done by either adding metal rods to straighten the spine or removing sections of bone.
In summary, scoliosis is a medical condition that causes your spine to curve sideways. It may cause headaches, trouble breathing, and soreness in the shoulders and lower back. The primary cause of scoliosis remains unknown. Treatment varies depending on the severity but ranges from bracing to surgery.