Scoliosis


Scoliosis is a curving of the spine. Where the spine curves away from the middle or sideways. There are three main causes of Scoliosis:
  1. Congenital (present at birth) due to the formation of the spinal bones (vertebrae) or fused ribs during a baby's development in the womb or early life.
  2. Neuromuscular scoliosis developed by problems like poor muscle control also called muscle weakness, or paralysis due to diseases like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and polio.
  3. Idiopathic scoliosis which is from an unknown cause. The most common type of this is in adolescents.

Females have a higher chance of developing it than males. About 3 in every 1,000 children develop scoliosis, but not all cases require treatment. Severe cases can lead to heart and lung problems, and may cause back pain in later years. Scoliosis is more likely to occur in patients who have a family history of scoliosis. The curves in the spine generally worsen during growth spurts. X-rays will show any spinal curvature. If the spine is 20 to 40 degrees out of place, the patient should wear a back brace to prevent the spine from curving further. Spinal curvature over 40 degrees requires surgery.

Symptoms

  • Backache or low-back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Shoulders or hips appear uneven
  • Spine curves abnormally to the side (laterally)

Brace Technology

20% of children are diagnosed with severe scoliosis and must wear a back brace to prevent the spine from curving to the point that surgery is necessary. Different types of braces are used for curvature patterns, however a new asymmetric brace, called the Gensingen brace, has been developed to treat any curve. A 3-D scan of the patient's mid-section records the patient's measurements. Then the brace may be modified on the computer to create the best fit for the patient's mid-section. Spinal surgery is prevented 60-70% of the time if a patient wears a brace.

GensingenBrace.jpg
Three Examples of Gensingen Braces


Related Terminology

Cobb Angle: Measures the angle at which the spine is curved, or fractured.
Nonstructural Scoliosis: A temporary curvature of the spine that is caused by an underlying problem (such as different leg lengths, muscle spasms, etc.)
Structural Scoliosis: A fixed spinal curve cause by nerve disorders or birth defects.
Spinal Fusion: Fuses spinal vertical together so they are unable to move and cause the patient pain.

external image spine.jpg external image 1116949162403.scoliosis_back.gif

Resources
MedlinePlus
NIAMS
U.S. Library of Medicine
Nemours Health
PubMed Health