Our spinal cord is not straight. Viewed from side, it is S-shaped. Some people have additionally side curves. They are visible when viewed from the front and back. This is scoliosis. Often, the condition does not show physical signs and is diagnosed at an exam.
Curve can form in chest level, lower-back level or in both levels of the spinal cord. It’s angle can be measured in degrees. This will show the severity of the condition. In cases of small angles, the condition can be cured with conservative way. In big angles, surgical option is possible. Surgery is applied only in severe cases when scoliosis affects work of heart and lungs and curvature worsens.
Scoliosis is common in children and teenagers, rarely in adults.
The reasons for scoliosis are not always clear. It may develop as a complication of age diseases (osteoporosis). Muscular dystrophy may cause the condition. Genetic scoliosis is caused by damage to spinal cord that occurs during birth. Family history plays its role.
- One shoulder is higher then another
- Shoulder-blade on one side is higher then another
- One arm seems longer then another, due to body imbalance
- Curvature of the spine to the left or right side
- Rib hump
- Pains (in excessive curvature), may be relative to squeezing the nerve endings
- Lowered sensitivity, weakness
- Pain in legs
- Pressure on heart and lungs due to chest deformation (severe stage)
- Heart insufficiency due to chest deformation (severe stage)
During diagnosis are used: physical examination, palpation, spinal x-ray (in several projections), tomography, magnetic resonance imaging.
Usually, conservative treatment is carried out. Surgical option is used in severe cases.