Scoliosis causes the spine to curve to one side. Although treatment is not needed in some cases because the curve corrects itself with growth at times, based on the curvature and the age of the patient, a combination of bracing and physical therapy is often recommended by medical professionals.
A person with scoliosis will either have a C or S shaped curve in their spine. There is no known cause for most people with curvatures in their spine. For those with milder curves, regular check-ups will suffice. However, for severe cases, more treatment is needed.
Symptoms of scoliosis are usually obvious from infancy or adolescence. The most common form of scoliosis is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), which can affect children from ages 10 to 19. From the word idiopathic, this particular kind of scoliosis has no known cause.
The symptoms of AIS in adolescents can vary from the head being slightly off center, the rib cage being asymmetrical, one hip being more prominent than the other, one shoulder being higher than the other, the individual leaning onto one side, and uneven leg lengths.
For infants, symptoms may include a bulge on one side of their chest, the baby favoring lying on one side, and in severe cases, it may even affect their heart and lungs, which may lead to shortness of breath and leg pain.
Those with mild curvatures do not need treatment. The medical practitioner will recommend following up every four to six months to monitor the curve of the spine in clinic and periodically with x-rays. The following factors will be considered by the doctor when deciding on treatment options: sex, severity of the curve, curve position, and bone maturity.
Casting instead of bracing is sometimes used for infantile scoliosis to assist the newborn child's spine to go back to its typical position as it develops. This should be possible with a cast made of plaster of Paris. The cast will be applied to the patient's body on the particular problem areas, and will be worn at all times. Since the infant is growing rapidly, the cast will also be changed regularly.
If the patient has moderate scoliosis and the bones are still growing, the doctor may recommend a brace. This will prevent further curvature, but will not cure or reverse it. Braces are usually worn all the time, even at night. The more hours per day the patient wears the brace, the more effective it tends to be.
The brace does not normally restrict what the child can do. If the child wishes to take part in physical activity, the braces can be taken off. When the bones stop growing, braces are no longer used. One study found that when bracing is used on 10-15 year olds with idiopathic scoliosis, it reduces the risk of the condition getting worse or needing surgery.
Although this article may serve as a helpful guide, remember that scoliosis is a wide subject matter, and the answers to your questions will best be answered by a medical professional. Lucky for you, SeeYouDoc has numerous doctors who are happy to help! Just filter through all of the doctors on our directory and look for one based on your location and specialization (Orthopedists).
References: Medical News Today