Scoliosis is a condition of the spine where the spine curves abnormally to the side or twists. Two to three percent of Americans at age 16 are reported to have scoliosis. Only 0.1 percent of them can be described as having severe cases or when the curves measure greater than 40 degrees, the point when surgery is considered to treat the condition. Although both boys and girls are affected by scoliosis, girls overall, are more prone to it and when they have it, the deterioration is much worse compared to the boys.
Types of Scoliosis
There are many types of scoliosis. Some of them and their causes have been identified as follows:
- Congenital scoliosis – This is caused by abnormality or imperfection in the formation of the baby’s spine while in the womb.
- Neuromuscular scoliosis – This comes from the breaking or deterioration of the spine or disc in adulthood or because of certain abnormalities in the muscles or nerves often coming from conditions such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida.
- Degenerative scoliosis – This may happen due to the collapse of the bone from deteriorative conditions such as osteoporosis. When a bone in the spine fractures and one side of the vertebra compresses more than the other side, the spine may curve and result to scoliosis.
- Idiopathic scoliosis – This is the most common type of scoliosis. No identifiable cause is known. Despite many theories as to its cause, no conclusion could be made. There is strong indication though, that there is a genetic element in these types of scoliosis.
In ninety percent of all scoliosis cases, the spinal curve are very slight to mild, or less than 20 degrees. These cases should not cause an alarm and do not require active treatment. A regular observation and examination should be done though, to check that the scoliosis does not further worsen.
Prevention of Scoliosis
It is generally accepted fact that scoliosis cannot be prevented, except in osteoporosis-related scoliosis. The treatment offered to scoliosis patients are aimed at preventing the lateral curvature of the spine from getting worse. In some cases, the treatment method helps in the relief of pain that accompanies the scoliosis.
It is important to note that scoliosis is a long-term, oftentimes lifelong condition that begins in childhood or in the adolescent stage of your child. Early detection can help a lot in preventing the condition from getting worse. Be proactive. Have your children’s spines examined regularly, starting in their infancy. The results of the examination will allow you to discuss with your healthcare professional any concern you may have. Many states require public schools to do scoliosis screening of their students usually in the fifth or sixth grade. Avail of school nurse evaluations and regular periodic examinations. They can identify any cases of scoliosis. Adolescents should have their spine curves checked for any changes periodically. Mild curvatures can worsen significantly in a short period of time. The healthcare professional such as the orthopedic doctor can evaluate to take a decision whether an active treatment is necessary.
An early diagnosis of scoliosis can help significantly in taking actions to minimize its deterioration aside from being able to predict whether scoliosis will get worse. Children with scoliosis who are younger than 10 years old with spinal curves greater than 35 degrees will tend to have a much worse scoliosis without treatment. Older people who have stopped growing will rarely encounter worsening of their scoliosis.
Degenerative scoliosis from bone abnormalities such as osteoporosis can be prevented by keeping your bones healthy and strong. Taking plenty of calcium in your diet, increase Vitamin D, potassium and Vitamin K intake, getting into regular physical exercise, minimizing caffeine and alcohol and quitting smoking are some of the important actions you can take to make this happen.
Chiropractic Care for Scoliosis
The role of chiropractic care as cure to scoliosis has always been a controversial issue. While chiropractic adjustments could not completely restore a curved spinal column, it can reduce the pain brought by scoliosis and can serve as a preventive measure for those who are not yet under such condition. Therefore, to prevent children and young adults from developing scoliosis, chiropractic care should be considered.
Parents should take the responsibility to teach their children healthy habits and provide them their bodies’ requirements for healthier and stronger bones. While scoliosis cannot be prevented, its early detection can help their children cope with the unfortunate condition, with the appropriate and timely treatment and care.