Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an unusual curvature of the spine.

/sites/assets/Assets/Article%20Images/backache.jpg?Width=616&Height=275

What is the Meaning of Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition where the normally straight spine curves to form an “S” shape. When viewed on an X-ray, the spine of a person with scoliosis appears like an “S” or a “C” shape rather than a straight line.

Types and Causes of Scoliosis 

There are various types of scoliosis and causes for spinal curvature. The four main types of scoliosis are:
Idiopathic scoliosis, which is one of the commonest forms. Idiopathic means its cause is unknown. It has been known to run in families, but no responsible genes have yet been identified. Idiopathic scoliosis can be seen in three age groups: infantile (younger than three years old), juvenile (three to 10 years old) and adolescence (older than 10 years old). The most common age group is the adolescent age group. Children with idiopathic scoliosis appear to be totally healthy without any bone or joint disease in the early part of their lives.
Congenital scoliosis, which is due to congenital birth defects in the spine and is often associated with other organ defects.
Neuromuscular scoliosis, which is due to loss of control of the nerves or muscles that support the spine. Common causes of this type of scoliosis are cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.
Degenerative scoliosis, which may be caused by degeneration of the discs (which separate the vertebrae) or arthritis in the joints that link them. Unlike the first three types that present in childhood, this type of scoliosis occurs later in life.

Scoliosis is not caused by carrying heavy objects (such as heavy school bags on one shoulder), sports or physical activities, poor standing or sleeping posture, or a lack of calcium in the diet.
 

How Common Is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis affects children of all races but is more common in girls than in boys (ratio of 7:1). In Singapore, the prevalence of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in schoolgirls is 1.4 percent at 11 to 12 years of age and 2.2 percent at 13 to 14 years of age; thus, the older the child, the higher the prevalence of scoliosis.

Symptoms of Scoliosis 

Many signs of scoliosis are noticeable and can be detected in early childhood. These include:
“S”-shaped curve in the back when standing
Curving of the body to one side when viewed from the front or back
One shoulder that appears higher than the other
A tilt in the waistline
In females, one breast may appear higher than the other

Scoliosis in schoolchildren is commonly detected during screening in schools by nurses who observe for asymmetry of the trunk when the child bends forward (known as Adam’s forward-bending test).

Treatment of Scoliosis

Scoliosis cannot be corrected by learning to sit or stand up straight. Food or vitamin supplements and exercise programmes have not been shown to be of value in treating the condition. Although about 10 percent of all male and female adolescents suffer from scoliosis, less than one percent have curves that require medical attention. Scoliosis can be mild, moderate or severe, and treatment may include one or a combination of the following:

Observation

This non-operative treatment of scoliosis involves observing the deformity with regular examinations and follow-up X-rays. Curves that are less than 25 degrees can be observed at four- to six-monthly intervals. A growing child who has a curve greater than 25 degrees will require treatment. A brace may be used to treat progressive curves or curves more than 25 degrees.

Bracing

Bracing is designed to stop the progression of the spinal curve, but it does not reduce the amount of angulation already present. Thoraco-lumbar-sacral orthosis (TLSO) is one of the more commonly used scoliosis braces. Spinal bracing is recommended for growing children with progressive curves. When the curves are large, surgery is the recommended option.

Surgery

Surgery is recommended for growing children with curves that are greater than 40 degrees and for curves that are more than 50 degrees at any age. It is a common misconception that scoliosis does not progress after skeletal maturity. It has now been shown that if left untreated, large idiopathic curves above 50 degrees will continue to progress in adulthood.

Surgical treatment of scoliosis may be indicated for any of these reasons:
To prevent further progression of the curve
To control the curve when brace treatment is unsuccessful
To improve an undesired cosmetic appearance
For reasons of discomfort or postural fatigue

The most common surgical treatment for scoliosis is a spinal fusion using special stainless steel/titanium rods, hooks, screws and bone graft to carefully straighten the curved portion of the spine. In suitable patients, the surgery can be achieved through thoracoscopic “keyhole” techniques that require only four to five small openings on the side of the chest. Using modern spinal instrumentation, scoliosis patients who have undergone surgery lead normal and independent lives and can participate in most, if not all forms of sports. However, in the first few months after surgery, they need to be careful with physical activities. 

For more information on scoliosis, click here



MORE A-Z

Stroke: Think F.A.S.T
Stroke: Think F.A.S.T

Learn to recognise the early warning signs of a stroke so you can tend to the stroke victim swiftly, potentially minimising the risk of permanent damage.

Stroke Services Improvement Team
X

Share on Facebook now for
Healthpoints

Stroke: Signs and Symptoms
Stroke: Signs and Symptoms

The effects and indications of a stroke that are experienced by stroke patients.

Stroke Services Improvement Team
X

Share on Facebook now for
Healthpoints

Stroke: Post-Stroke Complications
Stroke: Post-Stroke Complications

Sometimes patients may experience problems or complications after stroke. Learn what can happen after a stroke, and measures for early detection, prevention and treatment.

Stroke Services Improvement Team
X

Share on Facebook now for
Healthpoints

More A-Z

364
Scoliosis

 Catalog-Item Reuse

Back to Top