When viewed from the rear, the spine usually appears perfectly straight. Scoliosis is a lateral (side-to-side) curve in the spine, usually combined with a rotation of the vertebrae. (The lateral curvature of scoliosis should not be confused with the normal set of front-to-back spinal curves visible from the side.) While a small degree of lateral curvature may not cause any health problems, larger curves can cause postural imbalance and lead to muscle fatigue and pain. More severe scoliosis can interfere with breathing and lead to long term symptoms.
Approximately 10 percent of all adolescents have some degree of scoliosis. Scoliosis is found in both boys and girls, but a girl’s spinal curve is much more likely to progress than a boy’s. Girls require scoliosis treatment about five times more often than boys. (Not sure there is a reason for this statistic)
Causes and Symptoms
Four out of five cases of scoliosis are idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown. While idiopathic scoliosis tends to run in families, no specific genes responsible for the condition have been identified. Children with idiopathic scoliosis appear to be otherwise entirely healthy and have not had any bone or joint disease early in life.
Idiopathic scoliosis is further classified according to age of onset:
• Infantile: Curvature appears before age three.
• Juvenile: Curvature appears between ages three and ten.
• Adolescent: Curvature usually appears between ages of ten and thirteen, near the beginning of puberty. This is the most common type of idiopathic scoliosis.
• Adult: Curvature begins after physical maturation is completed.
Causes are known for three other types of scoliosis:
• Congenital scoliosis is due to abnormal formation of the bones of the spine and is often associated with other organ defects.
• Neuromuscular scoliosis is due to loss of control of the nerves or muscles that support the spine.
• Degenerative scoliosis may be caused by breaking down of the discs that separate the vertebrae or by arthritis in the joints that link them.
Scoliosis causes a noticeable asymmetry in the torso when viewed from the front or back. The first sign of scoliosis is often seen when a child is wearing a bathing suit or underwear. A child may appear to be standing with one shoulder higher than the other or to have a tilt in the waistline. One shoulder blade may appear more prominent than the other due to rotation. In girls, one breast may appear higher than the other or larger if rotation pushes one side forward.
Curve progression is greatest near the adolescent growth spurt. Scoliosis that begins early is more likely to progress significantly than scoliosis that begins later in puberty.
Please feel free to call and make an appointment to have you or your child evaluated.
Everything always works better with an adjustment.