Scoliosis is a lateral or sideways curve in the spine that is apparent when viewing the spine from behind. Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but severe Scoliosis can be disabling. A mild degree of scoliosis is common, occurring in up to 50% of the population. Scoliosis generally does not require any specific treatment unless it becomes painful or tight. However, a severe cases does indeed need treatment.
Signs and symptoms of Scoliosis may include uneven shoulders or waist, one shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other or one hip higher than the other. If a Scoliosis curve gets worse, the spine will also rotate or twist, in addition to curving side to side. This causes the ribs on one side of the body to stick out farther than on the other side. Severe Scoliosis can cause back pain and difficulty breathing.
The most important part of the management of Scoliosis is the early detection of its presence, as early management may prevent the need for surgery. The management of a Scoliosis is determined by the extent of the scoliosis. A number of methods are used to decide upon the most appropriate treatment. In most instances a mild Scoliosis requires no specific treatment.
Advice in regard to posture and exercises may be offered.In the majority of functional Scoliosis , our Physios can give advice regarding Posture, strengthening of muscles and correction of muscle imbalance, Strapping, Ergonomics, Exercise. Exercises can be prescribed to maintain curve status. If a brace is required, an exercise programme will also be prescribed, but if not required, instruction regarding review of the Scoliosis and exercises will be provided.
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While the causes for most types are unknown, hereditary factors have thought to have an effect on it. Some less common types of Scoliosis may be caused by:
- One leg being shorter than the other – curvature of the spine can develop due to problems elsewhere in the body, such as one leg shorter than the other or muscle spasms in the back.
- Neuromuscular disorders – such as Cerebral Palsy, birth defects affecting the development of the spine and muscular dystrophy can cause scoliosis.
- Arthritis in the spine – This degenerative Scoliosis occurs in older adults due to the weakening of the normal ligaments and other soft tissues of the spine combined with abnormal bone spurs.