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Scoliosis

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a disorder that causes an abnormal curve of the spine, or backbone. The spine has normal curves when looking from the side, but it should appear straight when looking from the front.

Kyphosis is a curve seen from the side in which the spine is bent forward. There is a normal kyphosis in the middle (thoracic) spine. Lordosis is a curve seen from the side in which the spine is bent backward. There is a normal lordosis in the upper (cervical) spine and the lower (lumbar) spine.

People with scoliosis develop additional curves to either side, and the bones of the spine twist on each other, forming a "C" or an "S" shape in the spine.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of scoliosis is an abnormal curve of the spine. Often this is a mild change and may be first noticed by a friend or family member. The change in the curve of the spine typically occurs very slowly so it is easy to miss until it becomes more severe.

It can also be found on a routine school screening examination for scoliosis. Those affected may notice that their clothes do not fit as they did previously or that pant legs are longer on one side that the other.

Scoliosis may cause the head to appear off centre or one hip or shoulder to be higher than the opposite side. You may have a more obvious curve on one side of the rib cage on your back from twisting of the vertebrae and ribs.

If the scoliosis is more severe, it can make it more difficult for the heart and lungs to work properly. This can cause shortness of breath and chest pain.

In most cases, scoliosis is not painful, but there are certain types of scoliosis than can cause back pain. Additionally, there are other causes of back pain, which your doctor will want to look for as well.

Suggestions for managing scoliosis

Management of scoliosis is based on the severity of the curve and the chances of the curve getting worse. Certain types of scoliosis have a greater chance of getting worse, so the type of scoliosis also helps to determine the proper treatment.

There are three main categories of treatment: observation, bracing, and surgery.

Non operative treatment including physical therapy, exercises, and gentle chiropractic can help relieve these symptoms in some cases. Contact us now for immediate advice regarding scoliosis.