When the spine is viewed from the back, it is in a straight line from the bottom to the top. When an individual has a difficulty with scoliosis, however, the spine has an abnormal curvature and it is due to the vertebrae that are twisting in a corkscrew like fashion. The severity of scoliosis will differ from one individual to another, with some cases considered to be mild that could make the hips appear uneven or cause similar problems with the ribs.
In more serious instances, scoliosis can present a significant health risk if the issue is not cared for properly. Because of the bones being twisted in the body due to scoliosis, pressure could be placed on the vital organs, leading to more severe problems. It can also result in a shorter lifespan when treatment does not take place.
It is not fully know what causes scoliosis, but it is known that it only affects a small percentage of the population. Women are more likely to have a problem with scoliosis, and it is often diagnosed when an individual is between the ages of 10 and 18. There may also be a genetic link, because an individual is more likely to suffer from this problem if there is a family history of it. It may develop as an individual grows or it could be an abnormality that occurs from birth.
What Are the Symptoms of Scoliosis?
A number of different conditions can appear with this condition, but more than likely, it will result in physical abnormalities that are visibly noticed. Unevenness may take place in the hips, shoulders, waist or shoulder blades that would show that there was some type of abnormality taking place.
Getting a proper diagnosis of this problem is important for making sure that it is treated properly. Some of the diagnosis can take place at home, because you can have the individual bend over to touch their toes and you may be able to notice that one shoulder blade is more prominent than the other or that the ribs twist unevenly. If you see this problem, further diagnosis should be provided by a physician.
During your visit to the physician, a physical exam will take place and the medical history, including a family history, will be discussed. Your doctor may be able to diagnose the problem by a simple physical examination, but it may also be necessary for various other techniques to be used. X-rays are a common diagnostic technique for scoliosis, because it clearly shows both the bones and the spaces between the bones of the spine. Further test may also be necessary, including a CT scan or MRI that can show additional detail in the soft tissues of the body.
How Is Scoliosis Treated?
There are a number of different treatments and it will differ, depending upon the situation. Observation of the problem may be necessary at first or bracing to help straighten the spine. If the issue is severe, surgery may be considered. Adults who have scoliosis may also be provided with a bracing procedure, but it is typically only to reduce pain, not to correct the curvature. Your doctor will discuss various other treatment options that may be considered, including a number of nonsurgical treatments that can help to reduce the problem you are experiencing.