Scoliosis

DESCRIPTION

Scoliosis is the most common abnormal curvature of the spine. It is most common in adolescent females. It also can develop from degeneration as the spine ages or from prior spinal surgery.

Scoliosis from a genetic condition frequently runs in families. Small curves usually cause no pain. The curve is commonly in the upper back. The patient may have one hip higher than the other, and frequently one shoulder blade appears more prominent than the other.

SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS

  1. One hip may be higher than the other
  2. One shoulder blade appears more prominent
  3. Small curves in the back; usually upper back
  4. Deformity in back
  5. Cork screwing effect from rotation

CAUSES

  1. There is no known cause for Scoliosis
  2. Scoliosis tends to run in families

POSSIBLE TREATMENT OPTIONS

Bracing and Physical Therapy with Core Strengthening

As first options, bracing and exercise is frequently prescribed. Back braces customized for the specific curvature of the patient's scoliosis are used to attempt to restrain the curve during the growth years. Maintaining good core strength is important in any physical therapy or exercise regimen.

Pain Management

If the patient continues to experience pain after maximizing the above conservative treatments, the next step is usually to consult a pain management specialist. The physician can then suggest medications as well as interventional procedures to help manage or eliminate the pain.

Instrumentation and Fusion

If the patient's scoliotic curve meets certain criteria, a surgical procedure may be prescribed. Through the insertion of pedicle screws and hooks at various points in the spine in conjunction with rods, the spine is straightened. The rods are then locked in position and a bone graft is applied to create a fusion, to prevent further curve progression.