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Scoliosis Symptoms & Treatment

Overview

scoliosis

Scoliosis is defined as an abnormal curving of the spine. While all spines curve slightly, those impacted by scoliosis symptoms are bent into a “C” or “S” shape. At Coastal Spine, scoliosis treatment is available for patients with mild to extreme cases.

Scoliosis often appears in childhood, though it can be present in infants. Statistically, scoliosis impacts women more often than men. It can also occur in adulthood, often because of degenerative disc disease.

Types of Scoliosis

Each of the three main types have different scoliosis symptoms and different age groups associated:

  • Idiopathic scoliosis: This is the most common type of scoliosis, and it can present in patients as young as infants (called infantile scoliosis) and as old as 18 years old (called adolescent scoliosis). Idiopathic scoliosis most often occurs in children ages 10 to 18.
  • Congenital scoliosis: This type of scoliosis is present at birth and is often the effect of abnormal formation of rib and spine bones.
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis: This type of scoliosis is a side effect of diseases that affect the nervous system, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and polio.

Symptoms

  • Uneven curve of the spine
  • Low back pain
  • Fatigue after standing for extended periods of time
  • Uneven hips and shoulders
  • Uneven curve of the spine

Diagnosis

Typically, a physician can see the effects of scoliosis by examining the shape of the spine with the patient either standing up or bending over. Scoliosis can also be diagnosed by X-ray, MRI, CT scan, EMG and bone scan.

Treatment

We have several methods of scoliosis treatment, including:

  • Observation: In some cases, especially for children with idiopathic scoliosis, we may want to check progress of spine growth every six months to determine if further treatment is necessary.
  • Bracing: In other cases of idiopathic scoliosis patients who are still growing, it may be recommended for the patient to wear a brace to prevent further curving.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy exercises can be used as a scoliosis treatment to strengthen core and back muscles. This works to alleviate pain associated with scoliosis. We can also treat symptoms of other conditions that may be caused by scoliosis, such as sacroiliac dysfunction, stenosis and pinched nerves.
  • Surgery: For patients whose spine is curved more than 45 degrees or those in severe pain, a surgery called spinal fusion can stabilize and correct the shape of the spine. For adult degenerative scoliosis, surgery may be necessary and can often improve alignment, too.