Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves in an abnormal way. If left untreated, scoliosis could cause serious problems for a person’s back, heart, and lungs.

If you are looking at a cutaway of the body in profile, you would see an S-shaped spine. You would see an I-shape if you were viewing the back of the body. Scoliosis creates either a sideways C-shape or an atypical sideways S-shape in the spine.

Many cases happen in children. Scoliosis is 8 times more likely to happen to girls going through puberty.

Keeping a close eye on spinal alignment can be the best course of action. If the alignment becomes more severe, you may need help.

Scoliosis ( crooked spine ) X-ray chest of old people with crooked spine

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Symptoms Of Scoliosis

The most prominent symptom used for diagnosis of scoliosis is a crooked back. Also, the more acute the angle in your back, the worse the symptoms. If the angle is more than 60 degrees, then the rib cage containing the heart and lungs can get affected.

Angles > 40º

  • Digestion issues
  • Numbness
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pain
  • Difficulty walking

Angles > 60º

  • Breathing problems
  • Heart issues
  • Unlevel hips
  • Unlevel shoulders
  • Visible physical deformities

Note: Scoliosis rarely creates back pain. Scoliosis is a malformation of the spine; not a condition that causes pain. If you are having back pain and have this condition, seek treatment to identify the actual cause.

Types Of Scoliosis

Idiopathic scoliosis

This condition has no cause and is thought to happen in roughly 2% of the world. This version of scoliosis rarely causes pain and may more than likely work itself out. Check the progress of the curve just in case it gets worse.

80% of all idiopathic scoliosis cases occur in children aged 10-18.

Degenerative scoliosis

Degenerative scoliosis is the most common type among adults and can happen due to osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, arthritis, and other diseases which affect the overall health of muscles or bones of the back. Degenerative scoliosis is a common condition affecting up to 68% of the world’s population.

Other types of scoliosis include:

  • Dextroscoliosis — Spine curves to the right. Most often found in the thoracic area of the spine
  • Levoscoliosis — Spine curves to the left. Most often found in the lumbar spine
  • Congenital scoliosis — Curved spine often found in babies
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis — Scoliosis as caused by neuromuscular conditions
  • Lumbar scoliosis — Located in the lower part of the back
  • Thoracic scoliosis — The most common form of scoliosis. Found in the middle of the back
  • Thoracolumbar scoliosis — Found in the upper lumbar and lower thoracic area of the spine
  • Infantile scoliosis — Found in people aged 0-3 years old
  • Juvenile scoliosis — Found in people aged 3-9 years old
  • Adolescent scoliosis — Found in people aged 10-18 years old

What Causes Scoliosis?

While some cases have clear causes, the general conditions that cause symptoms are unclear. Many cases occur in children during growth spurts but work themselves out.

Other types can be pinpointed due to a specific incident, including:

  • Genetic malformations
  • Bone degeneration
  • Paralysis
  • Diseased musculature
  • Spinal cancer
  • Severe back trauma

How to Treat Scoliosis

If you have seen a doctor and your spine angle is less than 20 degrees, your health will probably not be affected and will not need treatment for symptoms.

A spinal brace can force a misaligned back into alignment. The brace corrects the back through small, but steady movement in the spinal column. A good brace is a minimally invasive treatment that improves medical health and strengthens overall living.

Custom inserts can also nudge the spine into a good position. Daily activity such as walking and standing can send the spine into misalignment. An orthotic on either the foot or leg can adjust a walking gait, which can push the spine back into place.

Chiropractors use many procedures to align the back over the course of several sessions and allows for the treatment of this condition. Extra activities like swimming or breathing exercises strengthen and align the spine.

If the misalignment is too severe, surgery may be required. Surgery may insert metal screws and rods into the spine, straightening the area. Often, surgery is a last resort for pain treatment. If your health is in danger, contact a medical professional.

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