The spine is literally the backbone of your body, giving you the support and function to be able to live your daily life. When the spine is not straight, it can cause various symptoms that range from mild to severe depending upon the curve of the spine. It is possible to go through life not even knowing you have scoliosis, while others find it to be an uncomfortable or difficult condition. If you are one of the many people who have scoliosis, it is possible to live a very full life by getting treatment as needed to help achieve that goal.
What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine has an abnormal curvature that goes to the left, right, or both. It is described as having a C shape that curves to either the left or right side of the body, or an S shape when it curves to each direction. The curve may be very mild or it can be severe. A misshapen spine is widespread among children, with millions being diagnosed with scoliosis every year. spine surgeon Dr. Charla Fischer in New York City encounters many patients with scoliosis and is qualified and experienced in helping them be successful with this condition.
Why does it develop?
There are various reasons that scoliosis can occur at various stages of life. Some patients are born with spinal curvatures related to a birth defect or condition like cerebral palsy. Others are born with uneven leg lengths and the body adjusts naturally to that discrepancy, changing the spine’s curvature. Less commonly, injuries or infection may be linked to scoliosis. The most prevalent reason for scoliosis is actually unknown, or idiopathic. This means there is no known cause for its onset and experts are unable to determine why it happened. However, there is some proof that scoliosis runs in families and experts continue to research that connection.
What are the signs of scoliosis?
Many cases of scoliosis are identified during medical screenings, often as part of pediatrician or school checks. It is advantageous to catch scoliosis before or during early puberty so that treatment may begin if needed prior to growth being completed. Signs of scoliosis to look for include aches around the spine, uneven shoulders or hips, one leg shorter than the other, the head not centered over the pelvis, or a twisted torso. If you notice the body leaning more to one side, schedule a screening with an experienced physician like Dr. Fischer. The doctor will perform a very simple examination and call for X-rays if needed to confirm the diagnosis and learn the extent of the curve.
How is it treated?
If growth has not been completed, the ideal treatment is often wearing a brace to halt or slow the curvature from worsening. Braces are typically considered when the curve is between 25 to 40 degrees. Curves less than that may just be monitored while the patient learns back strengthening exercises, stretching techniques, pursues chiropractic adjustments, or other potentially helpful tools. Curves worse than 40 degrees or in patients who have finished growing may be advised that surgery is an option. Dr. Fischer performs scoliosis surgeries in which metal rods are attached to the spine so that a spinal fusion may be performed. Surgery is the last resort and only performed in severe cases.
Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Fischer