Scoliosis is a medical condition that results in the spine curving abnormally to the side. It occurs most frequently in the upper back, or thoracic area, as well as the lower back, or lumbar area. This condition is found most commonly in adolescents. However, adults and younger children also frequently receive the diagnosis. Thankfully, scoliosis doesn’t have to control your life. Many people go on to have completely normal lives despite having this condition.

Freedom Health Centers treats patients who are suffering from scoliosis. Our goal is to help them live a full life with as little pain and discomfort as possible. We also work with patients to help maintain or regain their flexibility. The severity of your case plays a big role in how much your body is affected.

What Causes Scoliosis?

Most cases of scoliosis don’t have an apparent cause. A small number of cases are caused by various neuromuscular conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and poliomyelitis. It’s also possible that scoliosis could be a result of the spine developing abnormally prior to birth. Some doctors believe there are specific genes that are responsible for the condition. Despite the cause, one thing is certain. Early detection and treatment can prevent the condition from worsening. Advanced cases of scoliosis can result in chronic pain, decreased exercise capabilities, and respiratory deficiencies.

Scoliosis in Infants and Adolescents

When scoliosis occurs in infants, it is most commonly caused by a problem during development. Symptoms generally include a bulge on one side of the chest or the baby may lay curved to one side more than the other. In some severe cases this condition can affect the heart and lungs.

Scoliosis is found most commonly in children who are 10 or more years old. They often present symptoms such as a non-symmetrical or unbalanced shoulder blades, rib cage, hips, or legs. They may also lean to one side or their clothes may seem to hang awkwardly. This condition seems to affect adolescents the most because it often becomes more prominent during prepubescent growth spurts.

When the condition is first noticed, the child is usually monitored. Scoliosis generally has a curvature greater than 10 degrees. Between 10 and 20 or 25 degrees the child is monitored and may be recommended for physical therapy or chiropractic adjustments. Around 20 to 25 degrees a brace is often recommended.

Diagnosing and Treating Scoliosis

Even when scoliosis is apparent, a physical exam is still required for diagnosis. Your child’s pediatrician will examine the shoulders, ribs, hips, and spine of your child. They will then measure the degree of the curvature. Depending on the severity of the case, your child may need to visit a spine specialist.

X-rays allow your doctor to examine your spine during the diagnostic phase. This will provide important information such as the shape of the curvature as well as the direction and location. Most patients don’t experience obvious pain as a result of scoliosis. However, patients who’ve suffered from the condition for a longer period of time will likely experience pain at some point.

Treating Scoliosis

Untreated scoliosis can lead to complications later in life. This is especially true for advanced cases. Most people with the condition have mild curvatures and don’t require extensive treatment. It is recommended that children suffering from scoliosis with an advanced degree of curvature wear a brace. The brace is generally worn until skeletal maturity to prevent the condition from worsening. The type of curve and gender of the patient can both indicate a need for treatment. Female patients tend to worsen more quickly than males. The location and severity of the curve can also indicate how quickly the condition may advance. For example, double curves tend to worsen at a greater rate than c-shaped curves.

Braces aren’t as effective once the patient has reached skeletal maturity.  Typical cases can still benefit from chiropractic care and physical therapy. Both of these options will help maintain proper function and flexibility in the spine. People who suffer from scoliosis are more prone to back pain. This is because their spine, muscles, shoulders, ribs, and hips are off balance. Therefore, everyday activities may cause more wear and tear than they would for someone who doesn’t have the condition.

Regular appointments can help keep the spine aligned as much as possible. This helps eliminate pain by reducing strain on supporting muscles. It also can help reduce pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Physical therapy can help strengthen muscles in the back and core. This allows them the ability to support the back and your body more efficiently. It’s common for scoliosis patients to experience muscle pain in the back near the curvature as the muscles try to overcompensate.

Call Freedom Health Centers today at (972) 542-3300 for more information on how we can help you reduce back pain caused by scoliosis.

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