The Curving Spine of Scoliosis
- Posted on: Feb 28 2018
There are certain diseases or disorders that seem to be from the “old days.” Children being crippled by polio. Rheumatic fever. Rickets.
Although those conditions and diseases are still around, their incidence in the U.S. is so low that they could almost be thought of as wiped out.
Some people think of scoliosis that way. But scoliosis, an abnormal curving of the spine that usually develops in childhood, is still with us. We treat it at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders.
What Is Scoliosis?
Every human spine has a natural curve. But patients with scoliosis have an excessive curve in their spine. In most cases, scoliosis develops during the growth spurt before puberty, usually between the ages of 9 and 15.
Types of Scoliosis
There are different forms of scoliosis:
- Congenital scoliosis— This form occurs when the vertebrae fail to form normally, leading to abnormal curvature of the spine at birth.
- Idiopathic scoliosis— This is the most common form of scoliosis. It develops between the ages of 9 and 15. There is a genetic tendency to develop idiopathic scoliosis.
- Neuromuscular scoliosis— This scoliosis forms due to neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy, myelodysplasia, muscular dystrophy, polio, or spinal cord injury.
- Degenerative scoliosis— This is the adult-onset form that occurs after there is degeneration of the spine and its joints with osteoarthritis. This hits after the age of 50.
Scoliosis is monitored closely in children. Bracing can manage scoliosis, which doesn’t cure the condition but limits its progression. For adults, since the spinal bones have stopped growing, treatment is often simply managing the condition with physical therapy or medication. In cases where physical function is being limited, surgery may be an option. For scoliosis, the standard surgery is spinal fusion, where doctors fuse two or more vertebrae together. This is mainly done when the spine has finished growing, but it can be used in children if the scoliosis is progressing at a dangerous rate. During surgery, doctors insert an adjustable rod, that can increase in length every six months.
Posted in: Scoliosis