About two to three percent of Americans today suffer from a condition known as scoliosis, an abnormal curvature in the spine. While many choose not to deal with it, those with severe cases can consider long-lasting scoliosis treatment to drastically improve their spine condition.
Scoliosis refers to an abnormal, sideways curvature of the spine. A normal spine from a back view looks straight from top to bottom with no curvature. Scoliosis is not a disease, but instead describes a structural abnormality in the body.
The spine provides major support for our bodies to stand upright. Deformity in the spine arises from congenital, neuromuscular, degenerative or idiopathic (no identifiable cause) conditions. Idiopathic represents the most common cause of scoliosis in children, while degenerative scoliosis occurs most frequently in adults. Degenerative scoliosis results commonly from traumatic bone collapse, osteoporosis or osteoarthritis. Scoliosis can run in families, with girls more commonly afflicted with severe scoliosis.
A person with scoliosis may show signs of fatigue or possibly exhibit no symptoms at all as pain rarely occurs except in severe or degenerative causes.
Symptoms of scoliosis appear as any of the following:
- One shoulder appears higher than the other
- Shoulder blade on one side protrudes more
- Rib cage appears imbalanced
- Uneven hips
- Waist appears to be uneven
- Body leans to one side
- One leg may look shorter
- Difficult breathing, limited mobility and pain in severe cases
Adult scoliosis treatment can vary depending on the severity of signs and symptoms. Most cases of scoliosis appear to be mild and can be monitored over time with X-rays. Mild cases require no treatment. If severe spinal curvature is present, it can reduce the space in the chest needed for the heart and lung, most likely requiring surgery. Surgery can also keep scoliosis from deteriorating and stop the rotation and twisting of the spine.
In the past, moderate to severe scoliosis cases required scoliosis treatment with open back surgery, but medical advances have allowed for new surgical options. Surgeons can now perform minimally invasive surgery to correct the abnormal curvature of the spine and relieve pain. Minimally invasive spine surgery does not cut across muscle or use expandable retractors that prolong recovery after surgery. With scoliosis treatment by minimally invasive spine surgery, the pain and discomfort of open back surgery is avoided and recovery is quicker.