Scoliosis is one of those medical conditions that is often discussed but less often understood. It’s a curvature of the spine, which takes many forms and has varying degrees of severity. In this blog, we’re going to answer some of the common questions that people have to shed some light on this ailment.
At Dr. Lee’s Health & Wellness Centre in Waterloo, we often treat patients with scoliosis. We’ve compiled these questions based on our experiences over the years. We hope that they will provide the information you need to make an informed decision about your treatment options.
If you have questions, please feel free to leave a comment below — or give us a call!
When does scoliosis start?
Scoliosis occurs most often in prepubescent children. Girls are more likely to develop the condition — we see a 2:1 ratio of girls to boys. Childhood cases of scoliosis tend to disappear as individuals grow older, although they can become more serious if left untreated.
Scoliosis can also develop in adults, often as a result of injury, major surgery, or osteoporosis. These cases require more urgent care and attention — although the solution does not have to be surgical. Overall, scoliosis is easy to repair at a younger age, when our bodies are more malleable. It’s best to catch the problem early!
What causes scoliosis?
The most common form of scoliosis is ‘idiopathic scoliosis’, which is what we’ll be focusing on in this blog. There is no real rhyme or reason to idiopathic scoliosis, it’s just a childhood affliction that some people will develop. When you hear your doctor or other healthcare professionals talk about something “idiopathic”, this means the cause is unknown or that the condition arises spontaneously. It’s just a fancy way of saying ‘we don’t know’.
Some research suggest that the true cause of idiopathic scoliosis is some kind of viral infection. However, there is no conclusive data on this. For the time being, it remains a mystery to the medical community — although it can be effectively treated!
Other forms of scoliosis include congenital(caused by bone abnormalities), neuromuscular (caused by abnormal muscles or nerves), and degenerative scoliosis.
How does scoliosis happen?
The mechanism behind idiopathic scoliosis is well-understood, even if the cause is not. Hormone changes in children lead to a difference in growth rate between muscles and bones. In other words, the rate of muscle development does not match the rate of the bone growth or ‘deposition’, which creates torsion between the two. This is what causes a curvature of the spine.
What scoliosis treatment options exist?
Our recommended treatment for idiopathic scoliosis will depend on whether the muscles or the bones are the issues. If it’s a muscular problem, it can be corrected through stretching, exercises, and massage therapy. If it is fixated in the bones, then you will need chiropractic care and ongoing maintenance. The team at Dr. Lee Health & Wellness will be able to diagnose the source of the problem for you.
There are many conservative ways to help the condition. Chiropractic care, osteopathy, and physiotherapy can all loosen up the joints, while exercise such as swimming can help balance out the muscles. However, once scoliosis passes a certain degree of severity, it can compromise the proper functioning of the heart and other essential organs. In these cases, you will need bracing for the condition.
Scoliosis represents a serious long-term health risk, which is why early treatment is so important. Depending on where the condition is located, it will create different problems. When it is found in the upper back, it can compress the heart and lungs, compromising cardiovascular function. When it’s found in the lower back, it can affect the bowels, abdomen, and digestive system. Then you can have a classic S-curve, which can impact both areas. Whatever the case, our team can help you determine a way of intervening without worsening the condition.
Get treatment for scoliosis early, while it’s still an easy fix. Contact Dr. Lee Health & Wellness in Waterloo today!