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Scoliosis - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Last Updated: Feb 21, 2023

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition by which it makes the spine to curve to the side. Although scoliosis can affect any place within the spine. But most commonly it affects the thoracic or the chest area and is hence known as thoracic scoliosis. However, when it happens in the lower section of the back it’s called lumbar scoliosis.

In most of the cases the cause of scoliosis remains unknown, but still then in certain cases, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and spinal bifida are the reasons for developing this disease.In most of the children affect with scoliosis, it does not require any treatment, as the curve gradually corrects itself as the child grows up. Nevertheless, based on the age of the child and the degree of curvature of the spine, a combination of physical therapy and bracing is often advised.Surgery for anatomical correction is required in a very small number of patients affected with this disease. Complications of scoliosis are respiratory deficiency, chronic pain and decreased exercise capacity.

What are the types of scoliosis?

Scoliosis is differential on basis of age group is called Idiopathic scoliosis and it has four categories - Infant (0-3 years), Juvenile (4-10 years), Adolescent (11-18 years) and Adult (18+ years). Clinically, Scoliosis is of two types, congenital scoliosis, and neurological scoliosis. If a person has spine deformities from birth, then it is congenital scoliosis. In neurological scoliosis, nerve abnormalities are affecting muscles that are present in the surrounding region of the spine.

What are the symptoms of Scoliosis?

Scoliosis can cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Unequal hips
  • there is a prominence on one side of the back leaning forward
  • the rib cage juts forward from one side.
  • Uneven shoulders
  • The waistline is uneven.
Summary: Lower back becomes stiff and tight from scoliosis pain. Other symptoms include unequal hips, ribs, and shoulders.

What is the main cause of scoliosis?

When any part of the spine gets affected or in an improper position, it causes sideways or curves of the spine to one side. This condition is known as Scoliosis. The main cause behind this condition is unknown but it is assumed that it may be due to birth defects, neurological abnormalities, and genetic conditions. Cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy (a genetic disorder), spine Bifida (birth defect affecting bones of the spine of an infant), other spine injuries or infections are also listed under the cause of scoliosis.

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What is the treatment for scoliosis?

Scoliosis is an S or C shaped curving of the spine and depending on numerous factors, treatments are suggested and decided by doctors. Points like age of patient, growth position, amount and type of curvature of the spine, and type of scoliosis are primarily taken into considerations before deciding the treatment for it. With the help of bracing either underarm or Milwaukee, doctors will prevent further curving of the spine. If the spine has curvature more than 40 degrees than medical professionals will recommend Spinal fusion like surgery option in which vertebrae are fused together by using a bone graft, rods, and screws.

Who is eligible for the Scoliosis treatment?

Individuals with serious signs and symptoms are recommended to go for a proper course of treatment. Patients with different diseases that have identical signs can go for some or all parts of the treatment.

Summary: The treatment is available for those who have one or more major symptoms of Scoliosis.

Who is not eligible for the Scoliosis treatment?

The treatment is not available for those who do not have major symptoms of Scoliosis. Other medical diseases with distinct symptoms are also ineligible for the treatment.

Summary: You are supposed to consult your doctor only if you have some serious symptoms of Scoliosis.

What are the Scoliosis post-treatment guidelines?

Consult your doctor for post-care treatment guidelines. Along with this, try to:

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Weight loss can help to reduce the pain in affected areas.
  • Take less amount of carbohydrates in your diet
  • Be active: Exercise helps to reduce the pain at the fusion site.
Summary: Maintaining good hygiene and taking a healthy diet can aid in faster recovery from Scoliosis surgery.

How is scoliosis diagnosed?

There are mainly four ways to diagnose scoliosis which include x-ray, CT scan, MRI, and physical examination. The Cobb Method helps to determine the severity of the curve by the number of degrees.

A coronal curvature of greater than 10 degrees assessed on a posterior-anterior radiograph is used to confirm a positive diagnosis of scoliosis.

Scoliosis can be diagnosed in the following ways:

  • Adam's Forward Bend Test: It is a routine assessment that is used by physicians. The patient is said to lean forward and bend his or her waist at 90 degrees. This is a simple first screening test that can uncover potential issues, but it cannot give a clear picture of the type or degree of the abnormality.
  • X-ray: The structure of the vertebrae and the contour of the joints can be seen using an X-ray, which uses radiation to create a film or picture of a region of the body.
  • Computed Tomography Scan (CT or CAT scan): It is a diagnostic image formed when a computer reads X-rays. It gives clear images of the spinal canal.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): It is a diagnostic technique that uses powerful magnets and computer technology to create three-dimensional images of human components.
Summary: Scoliosis can be diagnosed with simple X-rays, which can also identify the severity of the spinal curvature. The other two ways to diagnose scoliosis are CT scans and MRI.

Can Scoliosis go away on its own?

When you're first diagnosed with scoliosis, your first thoughts are likely to be on the best treatment options and if therapy is even required. In fact, many medical professionals still believe that in most scoliosis situations, ""wait and see"" is the best course of action.

Regardless of this point of view, evidence shows that scoliosis nearly never resolves on its own. Scoliosis can be life-threatening if left untreated, however, the majority of individuals treated with non-surgical treatments can have completely normal lives and often enjoy complete curve correction.

Summary: It requires a proper treatment or therapy to cure scoliosis. It can not go away on its own.

What are the exercises good for scoliosis?

Exercise is mainly selected on the severity of this condition. Exercise like pelvic tilts, arm, and leg raises Cat-camel yoga pose, Bird-dog exercise inspired from yoga, latissimus dorsi stretch, abdominal press, and practicing good posture are suggested by doctors to their patients of scoliosis. With the practice of these mentioned exercises, people can correct their posture, change the positions of their spine. Some activities like playing football, ballet, and gymnastics, activities that repeatedly extend the torso are strictly prohibited for scoliosis patients.

What are the complications of scoliosis?

Curving of spine-like condition, scoliosis may raise some other health complications. Due to severe scoliosis, there are high chances of lung and heart damages that result in difficulties in breathing and pumping of the heart. Chronic back pains are the main problems experienced by patients of this spine curving condition. Physical appearance is easily noticeable of the sufferer as it changes in the position of hips and shoulders, ribs become prominent, trunk and waist shift to the sides.

What are the side-effects of Scoliosis treatment?

There are dangers and adverse effects associated with any sort of surgery.

Short-Term Effects of the Scoliosis surgery:

As with any surgical operation, there are dangers, and many of the short-term effects of spinal fusion are related to what happens during the procedure and how they are managed.

While each patient's response to surgery is unique, there are several dangers and probable short-term adverse effects associated with the procedure:

  • Excessive blood loss
  • Pain at the fusion site
  • Damage to the nerves
  • Infection

Infection can also be classified as a 'long-term impact,' as it can manifest years after surgery as a delayed infection. Discomfort at the fusion site is a typical complaint, and while it might be brief and subside over time, fusion-site pain can also be classified as a ""long-term adverse effect.

Because the spine and brain work together to build the body's central nervous system, we know that the disorder, as well as certain treatments, can cause nerve damage.

Scoliosis Surgery's Long-Term Effects

  • The most typically reported long-term adverse effects of scoliosis surgery are pain and flexibility loss.
  • Flexibility and Pain
  • Patients frequently report an increase in scoliosis-related discomfort following surgery. This is partly due to the immovability of the fusion site, which affects the neighboring vertebrae as well as muscles around the spine. Surgery-related pain is more intense in slim people due to increased pressure on sections of the spine.

Psychological Effects: People with fused spines are frequently concerned about their spines' ability to handle certain situations. Some patients report experiencing fear while trying new things. To conclude, the following are some of the most prevalent long-term probable scoliosis surgery side effects:

  • Damage to the nerves.
  • Backache.
  • Flexibility is being lost.
  • The range of motion is restricted.
  • Defective hardware.
  • Adverse hardware reaction.
  • The spine's strength is eroding.
Summary: The most common side effects of scoliosis treatment are nerve damage, loss of sensation, difficulty in flexibility, and weakness. The onset of neurologic problems usually occurs within a few days of surgery.

How to prevent scoliosis?

It is difficult to prevent the occurrence of scoliosis but further damage occurring due to this condition can be prevented. To avoid further bending or curving of the spine, it is suggested to obtain a complete evaluation and as early possible start the conservative care. Slowing progression of childhood scoliosis, gathering information about spine bracing and surgery, understanding causes of scoliosis and ways to stop its progress, improving flexibility, strength, and range of motion, and consuming nutritious foods can help in dealing with scoliosis.

Should I go to the doctor if I think I have Scoliosis?

You should go for urgent care if you find severe symptoms of scoliosis in your kid. If your doctor suspects scoliosis, he or she will check your back and may refer you to a hospital doctor for further evaluation. In the hospital, an X-ray will be taken to see if your spine is bent and how severe the bend is.

Summary: You should go to your doctor if you have symptoms like back pain, unequal shoulders, or hips.

What kind of doctor helps with Scoliosis?

You will be directed to an orthopedic doctor after your scoliosis diagnosis, who will work with you to find the best treatment option for your curved spine. Treatment for scoliosis will fall into one of three categories:

  • Observation
  • Surgery
  • Nonsurgical options like a brace
Summary: Scoliosis is treated by Emerge Ortho experts using orthopedic techniques and technology.

What happens if Scoliosis is left untreated?

Scoliosis that is moderate to severe normally progresses at a rate of one degree each year. If scoliosis is left untreated, it may cause back pain and your rib cage might press against your other organs.

Summary: Severe forms of scoliosis can diminish a person's life span if left untreated.

How long does it take to recover from Scoliosis?

After four to six weeks, the majority of patients are free of pain. Some people, however, may take much longer to become pain-free.

You should remember the following points for faster recovery:

  • Take care of the incision site.
  • The patient must maintain the region clean and dry on a daily basis.
  • Creams, ointments, and powders should be avoided.
Summary: After the scoliosis surgery, the patients become weak and need much rest for a faster and healthy recovery.

What to eat in Scoliosis?

The foods listed below provide good nutrition and also aid the body's capacity to recover from scoliosis. They help scoliosis patients to increase strength, stamina, and energy.

  • Non-processed Meat: You can eat chicken, turkey, beef, fish, and other meats to provide the body with needed protein. Avoid packaged meats and pork, as they may include preservatives and other hazardous additives.
  • Fruits and vegetables: It helps to provide the required nutrients to the body. Additionally, eating fresh fruits and vegetables can help to minimize the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Water: Water can also be used to replace soda, coffee, alcoholic beverages, and other unhealthy liquids.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D-Containing Foods: Calcium is a vital mineral for the human body, and it's critical for scoliosis patients to get enough of it through supplements or whole foods.

    Almonds are also a good choice if you're seeking a nutritious snack.

    Vitamin D is especially important, owing to the fact that many individuals don't get enough of it. Vitamin D supplements are beneficial, but they can also be found in a variety of foods, such as fish, eggs, and mushrooms.

Although there is a vast list of healthy fruits and veggies, here are a few that you must include in your diet:

  • Kale
  • Pears
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Apple
  • Peaches
  • Avocado
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Green beans with celery
Summary: According to nutrition experts, scoliosis patients should consume a healthy, balanced diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and organic meats.

What not to eat in Scoliosis?

Patients with scoliosis should avoid the following foods:

  • Fast food and other ""junk"" foods that have been excessively processed
  • Soda (including ""diet"" versions)
  • Corn syrup-containing foods of any kind (high fructose, crystallized, etc.)
  • Chocolate
  • Sugar
  • Soy products
  • Excessive salt
  • Alcohol
  • White flour
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Coffee
Summary: Scoliosis can be accelerated by an improper diet so you must avoid fried food, alcohol, and junk foods.

What are the home remedies for scoliosis?

In-home remedies of scoliosis, physiotherapy scoliosis specific exercises helping in realigning the spine, rib cage, shoulders, and pelvis are advised. Different core strengthening exercises, a healthy diet, a healthy gut, anti-inflammatory agents, preserving bone health, chiropractic rehabilitation are other forms of home remedies for scoliosis. High-fiber foods, anti-inflammatory herbs, probiotic foods, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are the diet for scoliosis patients.

What is the price of Scoliosis treatments in India?

In India, the cost of spinal fusion ranges from $8000 to $12000. The cost of a thoracoplasty might range from $2500 to $4000, while the cost of posterior back surgery can range from $4000 to $5000.

Summary: The cost of scoliosis spine surgery in India is expected to be between USD 10000 and USD 12500.

Which is the best medicine for Scoliosis?

Medication does not help with scoliosis. It's primarily a mechanical issue that can be managed with braces, exercise, and surgery in severe conditions. Some medicines which could relieve the symptoms of scoliosis are:

  • Analgesics: In the most severe cases of pain caused by extensive disc degeneration or a severe curvature, prescription NSAIDs or opiates will be used.
  • Other medications: Secondary effects of various illnesses such as cerebral palsy, myelodysplasia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, or neurofibromatosis are neuromuscular scoliosis or syndrome-related scoliosis and will be treated with condition-specific medications.
Summary: Analgesics are pain relievers. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, and arthritis treatments (such as Celebrex), can help relieve scoliosis pain.

Are the results of the Scoliosis treatment permanent?

At some time in their lives, more than half of spinal fusion patients will experience long-term problems. Implants fracturing or becoming dislodged, causing damage to the spine, and requiring several procedures to repair, are some of the side effects of scoliosis surgery. Deep infections can develop in nearly a decade following surgery.

In fact, a third of individuals who get the procedure will lose many of the benefits after ten years.

Summary: There is no cure for scoliosis; it is an incurable progressive illness, which means it will only become worse over time.

What are the alternatives to the Scoliosis treatment?

There are three alternatives to the treatment of scoliosis. The Schroth Method is considered the best in the case of scoliosis. There are three possible treatment options for scoliosis that you might pursue to correct the atypical or abnormal curve of your spine:

  • Surgery
  • Bracing
  • The Schroth Method
Summary: Scoliosis can be treated in three ways: observation, bracing, and surgery.
Conclusion: Scoliosis is an abnormal spine curvature. Scoliosis is a condition in which your spine curves from side to side or forms an ""S"" or ""C"" shape. Severe scoliosis may necessitate surgery. Scoliosis does not have a rapid treatment. It takes time to adjust to a brace or recover from surgery. It can be detected by X-ray, CT scan, and MRI.

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Written ByDr. Chirag Dalal MS - OrthopaedicsOrthopaedics
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