Injuries resulting in malformation of important physical components could prove painful and lead to mobility limitations. One such malady is scoliosis.
Medical professionals define scoliosis as a curving of the spine. The spine is a long column of nerves, bones, and soft tissue providing the body’s physical foundation. A damaged spine could restrict one’s ability to carry out basic functions like standing and walking.
An individual’s spine is divided into three sections. The cervical spine represents the neck region. The chest region is called the thoracic spine. Finally, the lower back location is classified the lumbar segment.
Typically, the disease presents itself during childhood. However, an appreciable percentage of cases do not appear until one’s adult years.
Researchers cannot pinpoint one specific underlying cause. However, these scientific professionals suggest that the problem might result from some type of genetic flaw. That said, less common precipitating factors include:
- The presence of an illness like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy
- Previous spinal wounds or ailments
- Other spinal cord deformities
- Birth defects impacting bones, muscles, and soft tissues surrounding the spine
Healthcare providers also maintain that the disease could be hereditary.
One’s chances of developing scoliosis rises if they are in their childhood or teen years. Presentations impact males and females somewhat equally. However, researchers have concluded that girls or women tend to encounter severer cases requiring more aggressive treatment.
In mild cases, stricken subjects might not display any outward physical manifestations. That said, as spinal curvature progresses, afflicted individuals might experience signs such as uneven hips, shoulders, and waists. Additionally, one side of the afflicted person’s rib cage might protrude.
That said, the most obvious and revealing physical manifestation is the bending or twisting of muscles to one side of the body. This results from pressure caused by spinal curvature. In the most extreme instances, individuals might experience difficulties standing up straight.
If not properly treated, scoliosis might bring forth potentially serious complications such as painful and debilitating back issues, breathing problems caused by the curved spine pushing against the impacted subject’s lungs, and physical aesthetic concerns resulting in problematic issues such as anxiety, social isolation, and even depression.
Physicians suspecting the presence of scoliosis will likely ask patients to perform various movement tests. These assessments are designed to help said healthcare providers flush out telltale signs like prominent physical features appearing uneven or favoring one side of the body.
However, diagnostic confirmation will likely necessitate the use of an internal imaging device. Apparatuses like an X-Ray machine can provide doctors photos of a patient’s spine. Such images enable said medical professionals to offer visual analysis and draw the necessary conclusions.
Potential Treatment Options
Fortunately, the illness is treatable. Such efforts will be dictated by several factors including the stricken individual’s:
- Physical conditioning
- Overall health
- If other physical ailments are present
- The severity of spinal curvature
That said, specific therapeutic protocols include:
Individuals with mild cases may not require any in-depth treatment. However, even simple, uncomplicated incidents must be carefully observed for potential worsening.
More moderate to serious instances may precipitate the need for back braces. Braces will not reverse the existing curvature. However, said devices will prevent the condition from worsening.
Numerous factors play into a healthcare provider’s decision to prescribe a brace including:
Braces are typically favored in younger persons. As a youth’s bones and muscles grow, their scoliosis could progress.
Doctors will factor in the curve’s severity. Already significant curves are more likely to worsen with time.
Typically, girls tend to experience more severer cases than do boys.
Braces are most often constructed from plastic. Moreover, said items can be positioned under a recipient’s clothing and are deigned to fit comfortably around the ribs, arms, and waist. The safeguards are usually worn for most of the day but usually do not restrict most users from partaking in everyday activities or less stringent or non-contact sports.
Severe presentations or those not responding well to other treatment forms might benefit from surgical intervention. The most commonly performed operations include:
Expanding Rod Insertion
During this undertaking, surgeons insert expandable straightening rods capable of expanding as the individual in question’s body grows more physically mature. In most cases, this procedure is executed on youths with more serious incidents.
Surgeons fuse together spinal bones. This prevents the spine from moving more freely and curving any further out of position.
Vertebral Body Tethering
Surgical teams make tiny incisions around the curved segments of the recipient’s spine. Once these cuts are completed, metal fasteners like screws are placed along the curve’s edges. Doctors then thread cord through the screws. Finally, the cord is tightened and the curvatures abate.
The residents of Birmingham and other neighboring Alabama locations who have been diagnosed with scoliosis are urged to contact the professional team of chiropractors employed by Integrative Chiropractic.
Our team members can offer a thorough evaluation and recommend the most befitting treatment options. To learn more call us at 205-637-1363.