WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT SCOLIOSIS?
Scoliosis is a spinal deformity in patients. it occurs when there is lateral curve of the spine of cobb
angle greater than 10 degrees. It is associated with a gradual loss of intersegment stability with aging
and consequent progressive deformity and rarely pains.
Who are likely to be affected by scoliosis?
Males and females are about equally to have minor scoliosis of approximately 10 degrees; however
females usually have up to 10-folds greater risk of curve progression and thus required treatments.
In addition, scoliosis can occur at any age, but it develops mostly in children from 10 to 15 years of
age, sometimes called “Idiopathic Scoliosis.” Idiopathic as the causes are mostly unknown.
What are the risk factors and likely causes of scoliosis?
Scoliosis can progress to respiratory impairment from ribs deformity and can lead to significant
cosmetic problems and emotional distress for some patients.
GENETIC FACTOR: studies have shown that development and progression of scoliosis is associated
with genetic factor, so if your parents have idiopathic scoliosis associated with polygenic disorder,
there is 50% chances are that you’ll need scoliosis treatment at some point in your life.
Other common causes are:
Structural scoliosis can be caused by neuromuscular diseases such as cerebral palsy; poliomyelitis or
muscular dystrophy, even birth defect such as hemi vertebra could lead to scoliosis, soft tissue
disorders, infections, tumors such as neurofibromatosis, metabolic factors and rhematic disorders.
How is scoliosis diagnosed?
Physical examination: the major screening for scoliosis is done through physical examination, which
is done by Adam’s forward bend test. During the physical examination, our examiner will ask you to
stand and bend forward at the waist, we’ll then assess if there is any symmetry of your back from
behind and beside. So you possibly have scoliosis if you have lateral bent spine because the curve
will cause spinal rotation and eventually rib humps which is visible on examination. We use
scoliometer and/or inclinometer to quantify the spinal curve and rotation and to access your skeletal
maturity (using radiography). A Cobb angle measurement using radiography is required for official
diagnosis of scoliosis.
Radiography assessment: after physical examination, if a lateral curve is discovered, radiography
screening may be needed. Radiographs are the most common and effective measures to evaluate
scoliosis. Radiographs will help to examine the entire spine to determine the presence of any lateral
curve and the degree of curve by evaluation of the Cobb angle. The greater the Cobb angle the
greater the risk and degree of scoliosis. Patients with scoliosis have spine curve that looks like a “C”
(one curve) or an “S” (two curves) when examined on x-rays.
What are the likely symptoms of scoliosis?
Generally, scoliosis is a painless condition for many patients. However, there are several indicators
we use to determine if a patient has scoliosis or not. The most common symptoms or indicators
A “rib hump” at the back of the waist or ribs. That is a hump on one side of the spine that is
noticeable when you bend forward.
One arm hanging lower than the other
Uneven shoulder and/or shoulder blades
Head is not being covered over the body
When there is an uneven hip and waist
There may be change or discoloration in the skin that covers the spine of the affected area
Sometimes leaning appearance is also an indicator of having scoliosis
Prior to scoliosis treatment, we take account of the severity of the curve, age and physical maturity
and the location of the curve. The decision to go medical treatment for scoliosis is usually
individualized to the patient and the symptoms of illness. Some of the treatment options include:
Physical Therapy: exercise based therapy is a logical approach to improve and maintain flexibility and
relieve the risk of pain if any, pulmonary dysfunction and progression.
Radiography therapy: this is the most accurate way to diagnose scoliosis and treat in severe cases.
Conservative treatment such as casting and/or bracing is required for curves greater than 20 or25
degrees. However for curves greater than 40 or 45 degrees, surgical intervention is necessary for
prevention of progression, correction of deformity, preservation of balance and cosmetics.
What to expect post-treatment
Our collective goal and objective is for you to return to your normal daily activities after treatment,
our surgical therapy will help you return to your normal activities within 3-5 months after surgery.
However recovery time may vary from patients to patients.