Scoliosis Animation

Overview of scoliosis causes, symptoms and treatment options.

Scoliosis is a spinal disorder that causes the spine to curve abnormally into an “S” or “C” shape. Idiopathic adolescent scoliosis is the type that affects children. Adults can have scoliosis too that sometimes results from a scoliosis untreated during youth or from degenerative changes in the spine.
Scoliosis typesA healthy spine is compared to scoliosis in the thoracic and lumbar regions. Photo Source: 123RF.com.

In this video, you will learn about:

Causes of scoliosis: In children, scoliosis may be caused by several factors, including growth spurts or certain disorders, like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. The condition may also be congenital (present at birth); this usually results due to a malformation of the child’s spine between the third and sixth week of pregnancy. Sometimes the cause of scoliosis is not known and is called idiopathic.

Symptoms of scoliosis: Symptoms of scoliosis can range in severity, depending on the extent of the spine curvature. Milder cases of scoliosis may result in slight physical abnormalities (a child may lean slightly to one side or may have one shoulder higher than the other). People with severe cases of scoliosis may suffer from pain, trouble walking, numbness in the body, breathing troubles, and digestive problems.

Scoliosis treatment options: Treatment for scoliosis depends on many factors, including the size of the scoliotic curve, the type of curve, the region of the spine affected (eg, thoracic spine), progressive nature of the curve, and if the patient has reached skeletal maturity.

Usually, bracing is recommended in children who have curves that are greater than 20-degrees and less than 40-degrees. The purpose of brace therapy is to stop the curve from progressing (growing larger in size).

Bracing is seldom recommended in cases of adult scoliosis because the spine is mature and no longer growing. Other non-surgical scoliosis treatment options include physical therapy, stretching exercises, and custom-made shoes and inserts. Some children and adults with scoliosis need spine surgery.

When surgery may be considered: Surgery for scoliosis is usually only recommended for severe curves (curves greater than 40-degrees). A severe scoliotic curve may cause pain, and if the curve is progressive, it may lead to spinal deformity. Sometimes a severe scoliosis can impede chest expansion and may lead to breathing problems (eg, heart, lung).

Updated on: 02/14/19
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