Our spine is the structure that gives our body its shape and provide support to it. The entire spinal column consists of multiple small bones stacked together. The spine is designed to be curved naturally although it looks straight when it is viewed from the front. In fact, there are two S-curves at the spine. Scoliosis is a medical problem arising from the abnormal curvature of the spine. Patients who suffer from scoliosis have got spine that looks curved even when viewed from the front. Research has shown that scoliosis are more prevalent in females than males and affects 3 out of 1000 people.
As mentioned above, patients with scoliosis have an abnormal curvature of their spine. As such, this is the most common and obvious symptom. The curving of the spine occurs at an extremely slow pace and thus is easy to miss out until it really becomes severe. The easiest way to be spotted with it is during periodic medical examinations during primary and secondary school. In some patients, scoliosis may also cause their head to the slanted to one side or one of the shoulder to be slightly higher than the other side. In serious cases, the heart and lungs cannot work efficiently and this will lead to the shortness of breath and chest pains.
Treatment of scoliosis really depends on how severe it is towards the patient. Treatment is classified into 3 general groups: observation, bracing and surgery. In patients with mild symptom, they will only be observed for a period of time to spot any changes of the curve getting worse.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common form of scoliosis. If the curve is small when first diagnosed, it can be observed and followed with routine X-rays and measurements. If the curve stays below 25 degrees, no other treatment is needed. You may return to see the doctor every three to four months to check for any worsening of the curve. Additional X-rays may be repeated each year to obtain new measurements and check for progression of the curve. If the curve is between 25-40 degrees and you are still growing, a brace may be recommended. Bracing is not recommended for people who have finished growing. If the curve is greater than 40 degrees, then surgery may be recommended.
Although there is currently no cure for scoliosis, there are good treatment methods that are effective. As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure.