Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral or sideways curvature of the spine, that may be present at birth or infancy, develop during early development, or occur due to degenerative changes of the spine. The spine is one of the most important structures of the body, serving as an attachment for the ribs, muscles, and housing the spinal cord itself. Depending on the severity of the curvature and the level of the spine. In the event of severe curvatures, a person may experience back pain or difficulty moving or breathing. Treatments for scoliosis may include bracing, fusion surgery, and physical therapy. The abnormal curvature known as scoliosis will be clearly visible on AP (Anterior to Posterior) and PA (and Posterior) X-ray upright projections of the spine. In a normal X-ray of the spine, the axis of the spine will travel in a straight line from the base of the skull and into the pelvis. The individual vertebrae (vertebral bones) will looked like they are stacked on top of one another from top to bottom. In a PA/AP X-Ray of someone with scoliosis, the spine will be curved in the shape of a C or and S. Before we go any further, we will take a closer look at the three kinds of scoliosis.
The three classifications of scoliosis are:
- ConIdiopathic Scoliosis. Idiopathic scoliosis may develop in early childhood to early adulthood, and the cause of the spinal curvature cannot be determined. Idiopathic scoliosis may be subclassified according to when the condition was first discovered. Subgroups of idiopathic scoliosis include: Infantile Scoliosis (birth to 3 years old), Juvenile scoliosis (from 3 to 9), and Adolescent scoliosis (from 10 to 18).genital Scoliosis, which is usually present at birth and may be due to disease or problems in embryonic development.
- Neuromuscular Scoliosis. Neuromuscular scoliosis is the result of neuromuscular conditions such as spinal muscular atrophy, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida.
Other possible causes of scoliosis include physical injury (trauma) and abnormal brain development (Chiari malformation). Chiari malformation involves the downward placement of the cerebellum at the base of the spine, which causes the spine and brain to be deprived of the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid, which is essential for normal neuromuscular functioning and development.
Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type, and often doesn't cause back pain or other significant limitations. People diagnosed with adolescent scoliosis have an especially good prognosis, and often don't require any treatments in order to life a comfortable, pain free life.
Congenital Scoliosis - Congenital scoliosis is typically present and detected when the baby is born, and is typically a secondary result of a neuromuscular disease. The following neuromuscular conditions are often associated with congenital scoliosis:
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is neuromuscular condition that causes diminished functioning and development of the nerves, and may present with abnormal development of the feet and spine.
- Hereditary onychoosteodysplasia (Nail Patella Syndrome): This is a genetic condition caused by a mutation in the LMX1B gene that causes underdevelopment of the bones in the arms, legs, and spinal column.
- Prader-Willi syndrome: Prader-Willi syndrome is a genetic disorder associated with seven genes of chromosome 15 (q 11-13) that are unexpressed or deleted on the paternal chromosome. Some of the results of this syndrome include respiratory difficulties hypersomnia (excessive sleeping), Strabismus (cross-eyes), and abnormal fetal development.