Typically, scoliosis begins as a minor bend in the spine that gradually progresses over a lifetime. A diagnosis of scoliosis is made when the spine curves more than ten degrees to the right or left when a patient is facing the examiner. Once the spine has advanced to more extreme stages of scoliosis there can be severe health consequences.
The good news is that if the bending of the spine is discovered early on, and correct treatment is received, it can be prevented from advancing to a debilitating state.
How Does Scoliosis Develop?
Scoliosis is a bend or curve in the spine where a healthy spine would be completely vertical. The exact origin of the curve is often hard to trace. In the beginning it may be just a small bend caused by a simple misalignment of single vertebrae. Over time the body will begin to compensate, building musculature that will continue to pull the spine into lateral curves in order to ensure that the head remains level.
This misalignment can occur because of postural issues, degenerative diseases, and traumatic accidents. While many cases of scoliosis begin while the body is going through rapid spurts of development, particularly in youth aged 10-12, the condition can also develop in older adults as well. In older people, scoliosis is often caused by degenerative disorders such as osteoporosis.
What are the Consequences of Scoliosis?
If scoliosis and its cause go unchecked, it can lead to severe, long-term consequences. Scoliosis is associated with back, neck, shoulder, and buttocks pain. It can lead to re-occurring injuries and has been linked to sciatica. In severe cases it can cause diminished lung and heart capacity, painful menstruation, and physical disability.
How is Scoliosis Identified?
Parents, or someone close to the person with scoliosis, are often the first to notice, as the shoulders and pelvis no longer appear level. A physical examination will assess the gait and will use visual and manual examinations to assess the curvature of the spine. An Adams Position Test, which requires the patient to bend forward as far as possible, can indicate whether an issue is present or not. If a noticeable curvature is discovered an x-ray will be used to determine the extent of the scoliosis.
If you are looking for a safe, non-invasive approach to treating scoliosis, we have your back. Call us today at (260) 338-1700.