Scoliosis is nothing but sideways curvature of the spine. It occurs mostly during the growth spurt just before puberty. Most cases are found to be mild with only a few symptoms.
Some children develop spine distortion that gets worse as they grow. Worsening scoliosis can be painful and disabling.
Though this disease is self-diagnosable, it cannot be cured and therefore a treatment is not mandatory. But sometimes surgery, or a brace is required, lab tests or imaging is always required for diagnosis.
Since it is a chronic disease it can last for years or may stay lifelong in some people.
Commonly Asked Questions
How does an individual discover that he or she is having scoliosis?
Scoliosis or curvature of the spine usually produces a cosmetic distortion. Visible asymmetries in the shape of the back and the observation that one hip or shoulder is higher than the other are the most general signs that someone is having scoliosis.
These asymmetries are more evident in adolescence during the fast growth spurts and may be detected by friends or parents.
Is drinking enough milk or consuming junk food responsible for scoliosis?
In exceptionally rare cases, scoliosis may be caused by dietary issues. Scoliosis may be a rare finding in diseases where lack of calcium causes softening of the bone.
Whatsoever one consumes and the quantity of food one consumes doesn’t produce any curvature in the spine. In terms of junk food, they never cause any curvature to the spine.
Does it hurt?
Adolescents and children who are suffering from scoliosis seldom complain of pain. If pain is the major reason in a young patient, then further analysis is required beyond normal x-rays to put in place the underlying cause of curvature.
For example, in uncommon instances, a benign inflammatory focus of tissue (osteoid osteoma) can produce curvature of the spine as well.
Adult patients diagnosed with scoliosis generally seek treatments because of pain. As one grows old, spine becomes less ductile and undergoes changes which lower water content in the disks and cause inflammation within joints.
Since surgery is not mandatory, does wearing a hard brace is the only choice to preserve spine?
Though there is little dispute as to whether patients who qualify for certain criterion should be braced, the precise choice of the brace type and time span of brace wear generates some exchange of views.
Who is fit for spinal surgery? Who is the decision maker for surgery and how worse the curve has to be?
For a patient discovered with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, who has never undergone scoliosis spine surgery, the main indicator for surgery is a growing curvature measuring 40° or more. The physician will suggest surgery based upon medical necessity (not at all a cosmetic reason) and then the surgical options are talked over with the patient, and with the parents of any patient who is below 18 years. The choice to proceed with the surgery is entirely dependent on the patient except for who are below 18 years of age.
Is there any age restriction?
Final commitment for surgery is based on medical criteria, which includes degree of curvature, the progress of curvature and the skeletal maturity of the patient. Through surgical intervention, spinal curvature can be corrected to 40% of the original size, but the surgical aim should be more vita in producing a fused spine which leaves the patient more balanced.
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