The Curving Spine of Scoliosis
- Posted on: Mar 30 2019
We often think of our spine as being pretty straight. After all, didn’t your mom always tell you to stand up straight? Reality is that our spines have a natural curve to them. But some people have excessive spinal curving. This is known as scoliosis.
At DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, we help patients manage their scoliosis.
Who gets scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition of children. The curving usually occurs during the growth spurt before puberty, somewhere between the ages of 9 and 15. This occurs before the bones of the spine have finished growing. The cause of scoliosis is unknown, but the condition is hereditary.
How is scoliosis diagnosed?
When we examine a patient at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, this includes a physical examination of the back, shoulders, waist, and hips. We measure the curve of the patient’s spine using a device called a scoliometer. In most cases we also perform neurological examinations to evaluate muscle strength, reflexes, and areas of numbness. This is to check to see if any of the vertebrae are compressing a nerve.
From those examinations, we move to imaging tests to determine the severity of the problem and to rule out other potential causes, such as tumors. These imaging tests may include CT scans, MRIs, and bone scans.
Treatment options vary based on the patient’s age, gender, location of the curvature, and its severity. Initial treatment may simply be regular monitoring of the patient’s condition. We may place the patient in a brace, which usually will impede further progression of the curve.
Once that patient hits puberty, his or her bones have mostly stopped growing, so there is little chance of their scoliosis worsening. For adults with scoliosis, managing the condition may include physical therapy or medication.
Most patients can lead normal, active lives with scoliosis.
If you think your child may have scoliosis, please give us a call at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, (817) 916-4685.
Posted in: Scoliosis