Treatments for Scoliosis

Treatments for scoliosis include braces for less severe cases, and surgical intervention in the most severe ones. In many cases, braces can be worn under the clothes and will be sufficient enough to alleviate the problem. While the human spine has 4 natural curvatures that enable us to walk upright, a scoliosis curve is abnormal and should be corrected for future back pain to be avoided. The abnormal curvature known as scoliosis can result from disease; weakness or paralysis of the trunk muscles; poor posture; pregnancy; or congenital defects in vertebral anatomy. Scoliosis is the common abnormal lateral curvature of the spine during childhood/adolescent development. Other disorders of the spine of abnormal curvature include Kyphosis "hunchback" and Lordosis "swayback". Looking at a standing X-Ray of a person, a healthy spine would look straight despite 4 natural curvatures that extend vertically. A scoliosis X-Ray would have a bend to the spine in the shape of a C or even a question mark. These abnormal curvatures can affect people of all ages and genders, but adolescent girls are most often affected. The prospects for successful non-surgical correction of this problem improve the sooner the problem is discovered. The prospect of successful treatment for scoliosis diminishes if the person's growth is not yet complete.

Treatments for Scoliosis: Back bracing is the most common mode of correction for this problem, though others are available and may be better indicated, especially in an adult who continues to suffer from the problem. The best available treatments for this problem include early detection, bracing, and surgery.

Early Detection - The sooner you discover the problem, the sooner you will be able to discover the cause of it and to begin to correct it. Parent's parents are usually the first to discover the cause of this problem, and they make an appoint with the primary care physician of their child. The parents may notice that one leg or shoulder appears to be longer than the other, of they may begin to see an abnormal curve. A doctor looking at the patient's back will measure the degree of curvature of the spine. Curvatures less than 20 degrees may not require intervention, and the slight deformity may correct on its own. These types of curvatures would warrant a repeat doctor visit every 6 months or yes to see if the problem gets better or worse. A curvature 20 to 30 degrees or greater will require some type of correction.

Bracing - Bracing is usually effective at slowing down an increasing curvature of the spine, but will probably not be able to straighten the spine. Also, a back brace may not be able eliminate the cause of the problem. Often, though, bracing must be used for children who have a rapidly worsening abnormal curvature. Scoliosis braces used to be composed of hard plastic pieces that were clearly visible under clothing. Usually, modern back braces have a canvas that covers a majority of the torso in the back and front, with shoulder straps as well as side straps a few inches above the waist and a few inches below the nipple line.

Surgery - Surgery is often the only permanent solution for severe curves. The prognosis is good for children with one or two abnormal vertebrae that are the cause of the problem. In these patients, a spinal fusion surgery will often correct the problem. The spinal segments are fused into a more normal anatomical position.

Other treatments for scoliosis include traction pulling (using a traction chair), massage therapy, physiotherapy, chiropractic adjustments, electrical stimulation, and nutritional supplementation.