Scoliosis is a spinal condition described by an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine. It’s most common in young children and adolescents. In most scoliosis cases, the spine will rotate or twist in addition to curving side to side. This causes the ribs or muscles on one side of the body to stick out more than on the other side.

Scoliosis Symptoms

Scoliosis symptoms can vary, usually comprising:

  • Uneven shoulders & waist
  • Head not in a straight line with the pelvis
  • One shoulder blade looking more apparent than the other
  • One side of the rib cage protruding in front
  • One side of the back sticking out when bending ahead
  • One hip being higher than the other
  • Whole body leaning to one side

Scoliosis Causes

Scoliosis is more common in individuals who have muscular dystrophy & cerebral palsy and may be linked to hereditary factors and family medical history. However, there is no distinct cause behind this spinal condition.
Scoliosis causes for the less common types of this condition may include:

  • Birth abnormalities impacting the development of spinal bones
  • Surgery conducted on the chest wall as a baby
  • Spinal infections or injuries
  • Spinal cord defects

Scoliosis Diagnosis

Scoliosis cases are generally mild. However, some spinal curves may deteriorate as children grow in age, causing physical disability. In severe cases, lung functioning may be negatively affected due to decreased space within the chest.

The diagnosis is typically confirmed via a physical examination, an x-ray, spinal radiograph, CT scan or MRI. However, prior to the physical examination & imaging tests, the healthcare provider may ask for detailed medical history and any recent worsening in symptoms.

The spinal curve will then be measured with the help of x-ray images, with a curve greater than 25-30° deemed substantial and requiring treatment. Curves surpassing 45-50° indicate severe scoliosis, necessitating immediate treatment to avoid physical disability and other serious complications.

Curves below 25° are constantly monitored with x-rays to check for the worsening of the curve. Treatment is generally not required in such cases. Besides this, the healthcare provider may also conduct a neurological exam to detect muscle weakness & numbness or abnormal reflexes.

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