Your skeleton provides the frame for your ligaments, tendons, muscles, and other connective fibers to build on and a barrier to protect your vital organs. Your spine is the framework for your skeleton, holding up your upper body, connecting your ribs to form the barrier around your heart, lungs, and other organs, and connecting your head and shoulders to the rest of your body, among other things.
The curvature of this body part is important to maintain, as it can affect your posture, how you walk, and how even your upper limbs appear. Scoliosis is a spinal condition that affects the curvature of your spine and often happens gradually in children and teens, though adults can develop it as well over time. To better understand this condition and the ways to manage it, let’s examine what scoliosis is, what causes it, and how to treat it.
Residents of Metairie, Laplace, Harvey, Hammond, and Luling, Louisiana, struggling with the effects of scoliosis or other forms of back pain can find help with Drs. Firas Hijazi, Satvik Munshi, Ben Homra, and their skilled medical team at LA Pain Doctor.
What is scoliosis?
In a normal, healthy spine, an S shape can be observed from the side view, moving back from just underneath the head, curving inward below the ribs, and curving back out at the base. From the back view, however, the spine looks like a straight line from the base of the head down to your waist, broken up into cervical, thoracic, and lumbar sections. Scoliosis causes your spine to curve sideways unnaturally from side to side in a mild to severe manner. Mild forms may not be visible, but the more severe the condition, the more likely you’ll side things like uneven shoulders, legs, and waist, constant leaning to one side, and prominent shoulder blades.
What causes it?
This conditions occur in one of three ways:
- Idiopathic: from the term meaning unknown cause, idiopathic scoliosis is the most common form, but we know it has genetic factors and runs in families
- Congenital: this is a rare type of scoliosis that is detected at birth
- Neuromuscular: abnormalities in the musculoskeletal tissue supporting the spine, common in patients with muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy
This is a condition more common in children and adolescents; however, adults struggle with it as well, either because a case of scoliosis wasn’t discovered until adulthood or because of degenerative spine conditions. As it is a gradual condition, you’ll need to look for the signs and have a doctor look at them if any develop.
How is it treated?
Treatment options vary based on severity, position, gender, and age. Mild changes in your spine’s curve (between 10 and 25 degrees) may not need treatment at all but should still be observed in case there are changes. They can be managed with chiropractic care and exercises to help relieve the pain and discomfort of the condition and help improve quality of life.
An abnormal curve of 23-40 degrees will likely require a brace, and curves greater than this in a still-developing spine may need surgery to correct. Bracing helps stabilize the curvature problems and comes in two types: thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO) and the Milwaukee brace. Infantile scoliosis can be managed with a cast instead of a brace to help it grow into a normal curve.
Scoliosis can gradually damage the health of your spine, but there are options for treatment, and we can help. If you need to cope with scoliosis, make an appointment with Drs. Hijazi, Munshi, Humra, and the team at LA Pain Doctor today to get help.