Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine. Most cases of scoliosis are mild in which treatment may not be necessary. But severe scoliosis can be painful, debilitating, disabling and may need surgery to straighten or prevent worsening of a curve.

Appearance:

  • Uneven shoulders
  • One shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other
  • Uneven waist
  • One hip higher than the other
  • Spine may rotate or twist in addition to curving
  • Ribs on one side of the body may stick out farther than on the other side

Symptoms:

  • Muscular pain
  • Asymmetrical strength
  • Asymmetrical range of motion
  • Some cases asymptomatic

Common causes:

  • Congenital scoliosis - Relatively rare congenital malformation of the spine. Patients with congenital scoliosis will often develop scoliotic deformities in their infancy.
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis - May occur when the spine curves to the side due to weakness of the spinal muscles or neurological problems. This form of scoliosis is especially common for individuals who cannot walk due to an underlying neurolomuscular condition (such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy). This may also be called myopathic scoliosis.
  • Degenerative scoliosis - Can develop later in life, as joints in the spine degenerate and create a curve in the back. This may also be called adult scoliosis.
  • Idiopathic scoliosis - The most common form of scoliosis, often develops in adolescents and typically progresses during a growth spurt. May also be called adolescent scoliosis.

Risk Factor:

  • Age - symptoms usually begin during the growth spurt that occurs just before puberty
  • Gender - both boys and girls develop mild scoliosis at about the same rate. However, girls have a higher risk of the curve worsening
  • Genetics