How to Prevent Scoliosis in Your Son or Daughter
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine, that takes on the shape of a C or S, depending on the direction of the curvature. Scoliosis may or may not be apparent to the naked eye, with the most obvious signs of the condition an obvious curvature of the spine, and one shoulder being higher than the other when the person is in the relaxed, standing position. To either confirm the diagnosis of scoliosis, or to gage the severity of it, an X-ray of the spine is usually done, from the top of the spine, to the base. The PA and AP lateral projections, which show the spine from front to back, or back to front, are the most useful views for viewing the architecture of the spine. Typically, PA X-Rays are considered the most accurate for looking at the anatomy of the spine because the spine is the closest to the image receptor in this type of X-Ray view, which provides a picture with the clearest detain, and the least distortion. In a perfectly normal PA view X-Ray, the spine would look perfectly vertical, with no sideways curvature. In a spine with scoliosis, the curvature would bend into the shape of a C or an S, depending on the direction of the bend. Scoliosis may become apparent, through obvious visible signs, or when the patient develops back pain and related symptoms, which require medical attention. There are three distinct types of scoliosis:
- Congenital scoliosis, which is usually present at birth, and the result of a genetic condition.
- Idiopathic scoliosis, or adolescent scoliosis, which usually develops at an early age, and usually does not have a known cause.
- Degenerative scoliosis, which develops due to medical conditions that cause bone density loss and degenerative changes to the facet joints and discs of the spine. This type of scoliosis is typically associated with wear and tear, or advancing age.
How to Prevent Scoliosis in Your Son or Daughter. Typically, idiopathic (adolescent) scoliosis is not a serious medical condition, and it often requires no treatment, because it usually does not cause the patient to have any pain or associated symptoms. The severity of the patient's may or may not be related to the severity of the abnormal curvature. Scoliosis of the spine may cause back pain and difficulty breathing, and pain/numbness in the legs. Adolescents with these types of symptoms should get treatment to correct the condition. Here are some of their available options.
Back Bracing. Back bracing may be able to realign the spinal column into a straight alignment the same way that dental braces straighten teeth. Back bracing is only beneficial for adolescents who have not yet reached maturity (it is not considered beneficial for degenerative scoliosis). Patients will get personally fitted for a custom brace by an orthopedic surgeon. These braces are made almost entirely of molded plastic, and they can be worn under the clothes so that children are not as self-conscious about them. In most cases, the goal of back bracing is only to prevent the angle of curvature or increasing; it does not typically reverse the angle of curvature.
Surgery. Typically, people with adolescent scoliosis will attempt to give bracing a chance to work before scoliosis surgery is considered. Typically, this invasive treatment will only be considered for curvatures that are greater than 40-45 degrees. Unlike bracing, the results of surgery are expected to correct the abnormal curvature.