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What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is defined as a lateral or sideways curvature of the spine. It is also called Spinal curvature and Kyphoscoliosis. In the United States, routine scoliosis screening occurs in junior high school and middle school.

What Causes Scoliosis?

The three most common causes of scoliosis are:

  1. Congenital. In Congenital cases, scoliosis is caused by a problem with the formation of vertebrae or fused ribs during prenatal development.
  2. Neuromuscular. In Neuromuscular cases, scoliosis is caused by poor muscle control or muscular weakness or paralysis due to diseases like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and polio.
  3. Unknown, In unknown cases, scoliosis appears in a previously straight spine. This is the most common cause in adolescents.
Symptoms of Scoliosis 

Scoliosis is often unnoticeable to an untrained observer. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  1. One shoulder appears to be higher than the other.
  2. One side of the hip appears to be higher than the other.
  3. Fatigue in the spine after prolonged sitting or standing.
  4. Backache or low back pain.
  5. The spine curving abnormally to the side.

Treatment Options for Scoliosis

Scoliosis can be treated. The type of treatment depends on the cause of the scoliosis, the size and location of the curve, and the stage of bone growth. Most cases of adolescent scoliosis caused by an unknown reason require no treatment but should be followed at regular intervals.

Some of the most common treatments are: back brace, surgery, and physical therapy.

Bad news about Scoliosis

Irritation of ligaments can occur. Pain will become persistent if this happens. The greater the initial curve of the spine, the greater the chance for progression of the condition after growth is complete. Severe scoliosis may cause breathing problems.

How is Scoliosis Diagnosed?

Your doctor will perform a physical examination, and a thorough neurologic exam to look for any changes in strength, sensation, or reflexes. Some of the most common tests used are: x-rays of the spine, measure the curvature of the spine and an MRI.

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