The term scoliosis refers to an atypical sideways curvature of the spine. Normally, this abnormal curvature develops during growth before puberty but in some cases, it is the result of cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. Aside from these conditions, it is generally not known why this unusual curvature of the spine develops however it may be more common if a family member has the condition as genetics may be involved. The severity of the curvature can vary from very mild to severe enough to be debilitating. In some cases, very severe curvature may make it difficult to breathe because the curve can reduce space in the chest. Depending on the severity of the curvature, surgical intervention may or may not be necessary to correct the spine. A physical examination may show slumped or uneven shoulders, a waist that is not level with one hip higher than the other, or a shoulder blade that protrudes from the back more on only one side. After an initial diagnosis of scoliosis in a child, they will be monitored with x-ray to determine if the curvature is worsening. Generally, a mild curve does not require serious treatment and can be controlled with a brace. It is important to monitor scoliosis from time to time during a child’s growth as scoliosis can progress with no feeling of pain or discomfort.
As stated before, mild cases of scoliosis do not require surgical intervention or aggressive forms of treatment. If the unusual curvature is monitored and it is noted that the scoliosis is not worsening, no intervention is necessary. Chiropractic manipulation is not able to correct the abnormal curvature of scoliosis but patients may seek chiropractic care to help in reducing the amount of pain felt in the back as a result of the curvature. A chiropractic physician can also offer physical therapy exercises and stretches to keep the spinal muscles more flexible and strong, which will help to reduce pain as well. In more severe cases of scoliosis, where there is progression, if a brace is not adequate in controlling the curvature, spinal surgery may be recommended. A spinal fusion operation will fuse two or more of the spinal vertebrae together and the surgeon may also insert rods or screws into the spine to hold the spinal column straight during the healing process. Following the healing process from a spinal fusion, it is important to continue with physical therapy exercises to keep the spinal muscles as flexible and as strong as possible.
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