Idiopathic scoliosis

According to the National Scoliosis Foundation, everyone’s spine is curved if it is looked at from the side. However, if it’s viewed from the front, it should be straight. In certain people, the spine is deformed enough to need medical treatment. In this article, we will discuss the various forms of scoliosis, especially idiopathic scoliosis.

Scoliosis is defined as a spinal deformity that causes the spine to be curved as seen from the front, and it is almost always progressive in nature (getting worse over time). Your physician will go through your family history to check for cases of scoliosis, and he or she will also do an internal exam to check symmetry. They will order x-rays if necessary. If your spine’s curvature gets worse, you will probably be diagnosed with scoliosis. In young children and teenagers, the most common type is idiopathic scoliosis. In these cases, doctors monitor the condition over time because milder instances of idiopathic scoliosis sometimes get better as the child gets older.

The causes of idiopathic scoliosis aren’t well understood. In idiopathic scoliosis cases, most are hereditary (meaning parents can pass them to the child). However, not all people who carry the gene will get scoliosis. There are various ways in which scoliosis comes about, but none is a definitive cause. Idiopathic scoliosis is more common in girls, and it is often seen in those with cerebral palsy or spina bifida. Some children are born with scoliosis because of a congenital defect, while some develop it during adolescence because of a tethered spinal cord or other condition. Scoliosis can also worsen or crop up during a growth spurt. These unknown causes are what defines idiopathic scoliosis.

Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common orthopedic deformity in children. Spinal curvature becomes more noticeable at puberty and gets worse over time, leading to rotation of the vertebra. It can cause pain, limited mobility, and self-esteem problems in its victims, and in adults, it can lead to severe back pain, disability and limited quality of life. It’s been said that almost three percent of teenagers have mild spinal curvature, with females having twice as many cases as males.

Treatment for idiopathic scoliosis includes observation in the early stages, and when the curvature reaches 20-40 degrees, braces are used. Although braces and operations provide help, both have their drawbacks. The benefit of a brace can be limited because not every patient wears them all the time, and surgery can have undesirable side effects such as infection, implant failure, and higher chance of death.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis, watching and waiting for it to get worse is no longer your only option. Doctors have developed treatments for those with milder cases (curvature under thirty degrees). Curves above thirty degrees can’t be corrected completely in most cases because the rotation of the vertebrae combined with flexion and compression makes the correction difficult. With curvatures above thirty degrees, chances are that it will get much worse.

If you treat the idiopathic scoliosis before it gets to thirty degrees, it can usually be corrected. Curvatures of ten degrees or less can usually be cured, or treated with massage and exercise. If you think that your back pain is because of scoliosis, you can try swimming (which increases flexibility and strength without stressing the muscles in the body.) Yoga can help as well. However, you should be checked out by a doctor before you begin self treatment.

It is great to fix the problem before it gets out of control, and not having to worry about the progressive nature of the condition does wonders for reducing stress.

Last updated on Nov 25th, 2010 and filed under Musculoskeletal Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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