Causes and Common Symptoms of Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a sideways spine curvature often diagnosed before or during adolescence. The abnormal curvature causes the spine to curve from side to side in a C or S shape. Most cases of scoliosis do not have an identifiable cause.


Many are mild, but some can worsen as the child grows. Scoliosis often occurs in people who have conditions like muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy. It is essential to understand the causes and common symptoms of scoliosis.


Causes of Scoliosis


In almost 80 percent of cases, the cause of childhood scoliosis is unknown. Doctors usually detect the condition in children between seven and nine years. Some common causes of spinal abnormality are birth defects such as spina bifida, genetic disorders, injuries, and neurological abnormalities.

Most kids have mild scoliosis, but it can get worse over time. People who have a family history of scoliosis have a higher likelihood of developing the condition.


Types of Scoliosis


Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of spinal condition. It refers to cases that do not have a known or definite cause. Idiopathic scoliosis has four categories based on age. These include infant, juvenile, adolescent (the most common), and adult scoliosis.


Congenital scoliosis is characterized by spinal deformities that are detected at birth. Neurological scoliosis occurs when nerve abnormalities affect the spine muscles. Scoliosis can also be structural (permanent) or nonstructural (temporary).


Symptoms of Scoliosis


The symptoms of scoliosis vary depending on the type and the severity of the condition. The common ones are:


  • A shoulder blade being higher

  • A shoulder blade protruding more than the others

  • A rotating spine

  • Uneven hips

  • Uneven spine

  • Back pain

  • Difficulty breathing due to reduced chest area

  • A rib cage that sticks out on one side

  • Prominence on the back while bending

  • Reduced range of motion

  • Changes in walking

  • Cardiovascular problems


Diagnosing Scoliosis


A physical examination is the first step in diagnosing scoliosis. Doctors examine the patient’s spine to determine if it follows a curve shape. They will check if the shoulders are symmetrical and the back even.

Diagnosis will also include imaging tests to help get a clear look at the spine. The tests include X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and a bone scan.


Treatment for Scoliosis


It is vital to get treatment for scoliosis when the condition interferes with functions and daily activities. The most effective treatment will depend on the degree of spinal curvature, patient’s age, and type of scoliosis. Whether the patient is still growing will determine the treatment.


Treatment options include bracing, medication, exercise, surgery, and chiropractic care. Chiropractic treatment can help alleviate pain and increase flexibility.


Mild scoliosis may not cause problems, but a severe spinal curve can be a disabling condition. It can reduce the chest space, affecting the lungs’ ability to function effectively. Complications include breathing issues, back problems, and appearance issues. Living with scoliosis can be difficult for many, but treatment can help alleviate the symptoms.


For more information on scoliosis, visit Atlantic Chiropractic Associates at our offices in Milford, Georgetown, or Lewes, Delaware. You can also call (302) 309-9900 to book an appointment today.

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