Scoliosis is a disease of the spine that affects children. Those with scoliosis have a spine that’s curved and often resembles a "C" or an "S," instead of a spine that is aligned vertically. The condition is usually not life-threatening, but some children with larger curves in their spines may have pain, problems with growth, heart complications or limited mobility.
Types of Scoliosis
Scoliosis typically falls into three different categories. Most cases are defined as idiopathic, which means that health care providers just don't know the cause. There does, however, seem to be some tendency for this form of scoliosis to run in families. Congenital scoliosis is a form of the disease that a person is born with, and it may be linked to other health problems, like issues with the kidneys or heart. Neuromuscular scoliosis is often seen along with conditions like muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy or a spinal cord injury.
Treatment for scoliosis will depend on the type and severity of the condition. For some children with mild idiopathic scoliosis, for example, the condition will not cause any symptoms, and no treatment is required. For those who have a mild curve of the spine that doctors determine will likely get worse over time, another treatment option is bracing. A brace for scoliosis is large, and it covers the upper portion of the body up to the armpits. It can be rigid or soft, depending on the person's needs. Braces can be worn underneath clothing, and they have been shown to prevent the scoliosis from getting worse.
Another treatment option for scoliosis is surgery. This is a major procedure called a spinal fusion, and it involves realigning and locking the spine together in a new position. This is typically reserved for severe cases of scoliosis. Other treatments like physical therapy, acupuncture or chiropractic care also have been used for scoliosis. These may help with pain relief, but there is no evidence that they can reverse the curvature of the spine.
SOURCE: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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