Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that usually progresses during adolescence. If your child has scoliosis, the view from behind may reveal one or more abnormal curves. Scoliosis runs in families, but the cause is unknown. More girls than boys have severe scoliosis. Adult scoliosis may be a worsening condition that began in childhood but wasn't diagnosed or treated. In other cases, scoliosis may result from a degenerative joint condition in the spine or congenital vertebral anomalies.
Fortunately, most cases of scoliosis don't get worse. Periodic monitoring by your chiropractor or orthopedist along with regular chiropractic spinal manipulation may diminish the likelihood of your child’s scoliosis from becoming worse.
It is advisable to seek professional care as soon as an abnormal curvature of your child’s spine is noticed. Early monitoring and intervention is very important to minimize the progression of scoliosis. In addition to chiropractic and orthopedic care, specialties such as physical therapy, acupuncture and massage therapy can help diminish the pain and symptoms. In cases where children have severe curves that continue to increase and pose a serious health threat a brace, surgery or both may be required.
In adult scoliosis, your spine has stabilized and the likelihood of your scoliosis becoming worse is negligible. However, symptoms are usually persistent due to abnormal stresses on your vertebrae, muscles and ligaments. Palliative treatment is recommended to diminish symptoms and minimize degenerative changes.
Signs & Symptoms
The spine is an elegant structure from the side it takes the form of an elongated S, the upper back bowing outward and the lower back curving slightly inward. Viewed from behind though, the spine should appear as a straight line from the base of the neck to the tailbone. Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine.
Signs and symptoms of scoliosis may include:
- Uneven shoulders
- One shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other
- Uneven waist
- One hip higher than the other
- Leaning to one side
Doctors don't know what causes the most common type of scoliosis. When a cause can't be identified, scoliosis is called idiopathic. Sometimes, an underlying disease that affects the neuromuscular system, a leg-length discrepancy or a birth defect may cause scoliosis. Scoliosis can also begin during fetal development. Congenital scoliosis is a type of birth defect that affects the development of the vertebrae and may occur with other congenital problems, such as heart or kidney abnormalities. Scoliosis runs in families and may involve genetic (hereditary) factors that haven't yet been identified. Doctors also recognize that spinal cord and brainstem abnormalities play a role in some cases of scoliosis. Scoliosis isn't caused by poor posture, diet, exercise, or the use of backpacks.