In fact, EmergeOrtho doctors address scoliosis by utilizing some of the most advanced approaches in orthopedic care, combined with state-of-the-art technology to help both adults and children with spine problems—and scoliosis is no exception.
What Is Scoliosis?
If you are a parent, you may have heard that scoliosis is a spine condition that mostly affects children and adolescents. You may have even received a scoliosis screening in your youth.
Scoliosis is a condition that causes a sideways curvature of the spine. Of the estimated three million scoliosis diagnoses in the U.S. each year, most are identified as cases of idiopathic scoliosis. Essentially, “idiopathic” means that the cause of the condition is unknown. Although any person at any age can develop idiopathic scoliosis, it typically affects children between the ages of 10 and 12.
Other Types of Scoliosis
In addition to idiopathic scoliosis, there are two other types, which include:
- Congenital Scoliosis
Individuals diagnosed with the congenital type of scoliosis were born with the condition. During pregnancy, one or more of the vertebra does not form completely or properly.
- Neuromuscular Scoliosis
Cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, a spinal cord injury or other issues that affect the nerves and/or muscles can lead to scoliosis.
Causes of Scoliosis
Again, since idiopathic scoliosis is the predominant type of scoliosis, centering upon an unknown cause, it is not unusual for confusion to surround the causes of scoliosis.
Despite what has become a popular belief, scoliosis is not a byproduct of bad posture (although the condition itself has been known to affect posture). Nor is scoliosis caused by a difference in leg length; or because your child has consistently carried a heavy backpack, or suffered a previous back injury.
In addition to congenital and neuromuscular causes, scoliosis is linked to genetics. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), an estimated 30% of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) diagnoses have a family history of scoliosis. Furthermore, one in three children whose parents have scoliosis will develop the condition.
Symptoms of Scoliosis
Despite the S-shaped or C-shaped curve of the spine scoliosis produces, most people with the condition do not experience back pain. In extreme cases, especially when the spine curve is severe, the healthy function of the lungs can be compromised. Adults with scoliosis may describe a stiffening in the spine.
How to Take Care of Scoliosis with Non-Surgical Treatment
An orthopedic Spine, Neck, and Back specialist will likely recommend treating adolescent scoliosis with a back brace. Most braces are plastic and constructed to conform to your child’s body. The brace should be worn until your child’s bones complete their development. Often, sports and regular activities are not affected by the use of a brace.
Most treatment for adult scoliosis is also non-operative. One of our experienced spine specialists creates an individualized treatment program consisting of physical therapy exercises and conditioning to help increase function and energy while trying to reduce the source of pain and/or discomfort.
Bracing is rarely used in adults nor does it provide pain relief. Because adults have mature skeletons, they require a different treatment approach. Often, scoliosis is accompanied by advanced disc degeneration, severe pain, and osteoporosis. Steroid injections may be recommended to help control pain.
Surgical Treatment for Scoliosis
Surgery is only recommended for curvatures that have become progressively worse or in cases where nonsurgical treatments were unsuccessful and pain still persists. When discs have severely degenerated, spinal fusion may be required.
The length of the recovery is dependent on how extensive the surgery was and the age of the patient. Some patients will be back to full activity in three months, and some patients may need as long as six to nine months to properly heal.
EmergeOrtho’s uncompromising dedication to providing complete care and customized treatment plans for each patient keeps us at the forefront of orthopedic care in North Carolina. Our ultimate goal is to help you Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better.
To learn more about how orthopedic doctors treat scoliosis or to begin treatment, request a visit now.