Scoliosis Management


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Scoliosis is the abnormal curvature of the spine, a medical condition that involves a three-dimensional deviation of the spinal axis. While the condition expresses a complex three-dimensional deviation, the spine of a person with scoliosis resembles a “C” or an “S,” instead of a straight line.

According to Bone And Joint Burden, there is still vague information with regard the prevalence of adult spinal deformity and scoliosis, which reportedly ranging from 2.5 percent to 25 percent of the adult population. As per the publication, mild to serve scoliosis in adults aged 60 years old and above was as high as 68 percent in a 2005 study. It was also reported that while a number of cases of degenerative scoliosis were left undiagnosed, back and leg pain served as the primary cause of health care utilization in elderly patients.

As per the 2010 United States Census Population Estimate, the prevalence of adult scoliosis ranged from 2.5 percent to 60 percent, among more than 235 million people aged 18 years old and above.

There are several causes and types of scoliosis. According to Web MD, the neuromuscular scoliosis is a result of muscle or nerve abnormality, which is often seen in people with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, or those with other conditions that are associated or result in paralysis. Another type of scoliosis is the degenerative scoliosis, which is caused by traumatic injury, bone collapse, osteoporosis or thinning of the bones, major or back surgery. On the other hand, congenital scoliosis is caused by a bone abnormality at birth. As per the publication, the most common type of scoliosis is the idiopathic scoliosis, which has no identifiable cause. While there are theories about the nature of this type of scoliosis, a strong evidence reportedly links heredity as factor to idiopathic scoliosis.

The most common symptom of scoliosis is an abnormal spine curvature, according to Medicine Net. As per the publication, the curvature is often a mild change and may be initially noticed by a relative or a friend. This spinal curvature is said to be gradual in progression until it becomes severe. The finding can also be seen in a school screening examination and those who have the condition may see that their clothes do not fit as they formerly did. One pant legs may appear longer on one side than the other. A person with scoliosis may also have a more overt curve on a side of the rib cage on their back from vertebral twisting. Severe scoliosis can impair heart and lung function in some individuals, causing chest pain and shortness of breath. Some people may also experience pain at the back or in the abdomen.

When it comes to the management of the condition, the decision for treatment involves two factors, as per Spine-Health. First is the skeletal maturity of the person, which considers the time of growth that can be expected. The other factor is the degree of spinal curvature, which can be measured with a goniometer. As per the publication, observation, back braces, and scoliosis surgery are the three main treatment options for scoliosis. While there is no exercise that demonstrated reduction of the vertebral curvature, it is still highly advisable for people with scoliosis, since exercise contribute to the overall strength and flexibility of the back muscles.

With regard the braces, an orthotist will fit a custom brace to the person with scoliosis. Made of molded plastic, the brace is fit tightly around the body and are worn under the clothes everyday. Some brace models are worn 23 hours a day while some are worn overnight. A problem in this method is the sense of difference felt by children and adolescents when they have to wear them. Other problems involved are discomfort and difficulty of breathing.

Along with the aforementioned musculoskeletal management for scoliosis, one should still integrate important health factors such as proper nutrition, regular exercise, adequate rest, and right attitude.

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