Scoliosis: what it is, causes, symptoms and treatment

Scoliosis is the lateral or abnormal curvature that originates in the spine. That is, it basically consists of a deviation of the spine. This curvature can occur in the lumbar or thoracic area, and in which the spine is curved from side to side.

This condition of the spine usually appears in boys and girls when they are in the stages or phases of growth. However, it is a lateral curvature that occurs in the spine, and in most cases is structural, which means that it is not voluntary or postural.

What are your causes?

The causes for which this condition occurs in the spine in a high percentage are unknown exactly, although among the most common may be genetic problems, connective tissue alterations or bone disorders.

There are several types of scoliosis, the first type of scoliosis is called idiopathic scoliosis It is the most common and occurs in children, adolescents and young people.

The congenital scoliosis is the one that occurs since the baby is born by a bad formation in the vertebrae of the baby, for genetic conditions.

Another type of scoliosis is the neuromuscular scoliosis, this type of scoliosis is due to a nervous system that affects the muscles, caused by various causes or diseases such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, polio, muscular dystrophy.

The curvature of the spine is measured and interpreted in degrees. It is considered a significant or abnormal curvature which exceeds 25º to 30º. On the other hand, when the curvature exceeds 45º to 50º are considered serious.

The symptoms of scoliosis

Scoliosis in children does not usually cause pain, however in the case of adults they feel pain in the area of ​​the spine that is deviated. In fact, for many years it was thought that scoliosis produced back pain in children, or rather tended to facilitate that it appeared later once you are an adult.

However, many studies have shown that this is not really true, since pain tends to be at the same levels as in people who do not have this condition.

In fact, Children tend not to report any discomfort on most occasions, although in adulthood there could be some degree of pain, when the deformity of the spine can lead to various changes in the muscles located in the back, generating contractures.

However, in case of occurrence or appear pain these appear especially when they are long in the same position, both sitting and standing.

Since scoliosis does not cause pain in children, they are usually discovered in children's pediatric check-ups, because they are usually detected easily in cases in which the symptoms are clearly visible, such as the following:

  • One hip taller than the other.
  • Uneven waist.
  • One shoulder higher than the other.
  • One shoulder blade more pronounced or prominent than the other.
  • The body supports it more on one side.

In these cases, the pediatrician, after reviewing the child and detecting the condition, will send it to the specialist doctor, in this case the traumatologist.

How is it diagnosed?

The traumatologist will explore the spine of the child with different tests including palpation of the vertebrae, look for the existence of asymmetries between both sides, looking at shoulders, hips, waist, even measure the height of each foot from the hip to see if they measure what same, the maneuver or test of Adams.

The Adams test consists of the patient leaning forward tilting the waist, the trunk is flexed until the back is parallel to the floor, the specialist will be placed in front and check if there is any difference between one side of the body and the other .

Other tests that the orthopedic surgeon may request to confirm the diagnosis and be able to measure the curvature of the spine can be a chest x-ray, magnetic resonance, a CAT scan, spinal x-ray.

In the case of adults scoliosis can lead to early osteoarthritis and over the years if it is not treated well, there are more symptoms that can limit the quality of life of the person affected by scoliosis.

When the scoliosis is very serious the capacity of the thorax diminishes and it arrives to affect the function of organs like the heart or the lungs altering the normal function of these organs.

How is the treatment of scoliosis?

The treatment in the case of children is to try to correct bad postures, increase trunk muscles during growth with physiotherapy, swimming, to try to stop the evolution of the curvature, in many cases the specialist prescribes a special corset with which It will help to straighten the spine due to the pressure exerted by the brace, until the growth ends or the curvature is corrected.

During this time the child will go through continuous revisions to see his evolution.

Treatment for adults with scoliosis will depend on the degree of scoliosis. In cases of mild scoliosis, the specialist may prescribe conservative treatments such as electrostimulation or rehabilitation.

When scoliosis in adults is serious the treatment will consist of correcting the deviation of the spine with surgery. This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor.

What is scoliosis? (July 2024)