Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. About 3% of adolescents have scoliosis.
Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but some spine deformities continue to get more severe as children grow.
Symptoms of Scoliosis
- Uneven shoulders
- One shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other
- Uneven waist
- One hip is higher than the other
If a scoliosis curve gets worse, the spine will also rotate or twist, in addition to curving side to side. This causes the ribs on one side of the body to stick out farther than on the other side.
Causes of Scoliosis
Scoliosis appears to involve hereditary factors and may be caused by:
- Neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy
- Birth defects affecting the development of the bones of the spine
- Injuries to or infections of the spine
Treatment of Scoliosis
Most children with scoliosis have mild curves and probably won’t need treatment with a brace or surgery. The location and severity of the curve are a few of the factors to be considered.
Your doctor may recommend a brace. Wearing a brace won’t cure scoliosis or reverse the curve, but it usually prevents further progression of the curve.
Severe scoliosis typically progresses with time, so your doctor might suggest scoliosis surgery to reduce the severity of the spinal curve and to prevent it from getting worse. The most common type of scoliosis surgery is called spinal fusion.
In spinal fusion, surgeons connect two or more of the bones in the spine (vertebrae) together, so they can’t move independently. Pieces of bone or a bone-like material is placed between the vertebrae.