Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine of 11 degrees or more that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. The cause of most cases of scoliosis is unknown, and for that reason it is called idiopathic scoliosis. Other causes may include neuromuscular conditions such as Poliomyelitis, injuries or infections of the spine, and birth defects. Scoliosis can run in families.
WHAT PROBLEMS DEVELOP IN PATIENT WITH SCOLIOSIS?
Most patients have a mild form of the disorder. However most adults that developed scoliosis as children are more likely to have chronic back pain than the general population.
In patients who develop severe scoliosis the rib cage may press against the lungs and heart, making it more difficult to breathe and harder for the heart to pump.
As scoliosis gets worse, it can cause more noticeable changes in the body. These include unleveled shoulders, prominent ribs, uneven hips, and a shift of the waist and trunk to the side. Patients with scoliosis often become self-conscious about their appearance.
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
A history and simple physical exam is usually all that is needed. Plain X-rays can confirm the diagnosis of scoliosis and reveal the severity of the spinal curvature.
HOW CAN WE TREAT THE CHRONIC PAIN OF SCOLIOSIS ?
Not all adult patients with chronic pain from scoliosis are surgical candidates! In fact the majority are not! Surgery is generally utilized for severe scoliosis. So you may ask, what are the alternatives besides bracing, electrical stimulation, dietary supplements and chiropractic manipulations that many times fail to correct the pain by themselves? Since scoliosis involves the spine moving in the wrong direction, treatment should be aimed at why this is occurring and correcting the problem. Ligament laxity at the apex of the scoliosis curve is probably the main plausible explanation for the development of scoliosis and its pain. One promising alternative treatment is Proliferative threapy. Since the pain in scoliosis is related to overstretching of ligaments of the spine and instability with its accompanying stresses of the structures of the spine, strengthening the ligaments and stabilizing the structures by stimulating the growth of ligaments and tendons that hold the spine together will result in less pain.