Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine has a lateral curvature, or bend, that causes it to look like an "S" or "C" shape instead of a straight line. Scoliosis can affect people of all ages, but it most commonly begins during the growth spurt that occurs before puberty.
There are several types of scoliosis, including:
- Idiopathic scoliosis: This is the most common type of scoliosis and occurs in children and adolescents, with no known cause.
- Congenital scoliosis: This type of scoliosis is present at birth and is caused by a spinal abnormality that was formed during fetal development.
- Neuromuscular scoliosis: This type of scoliosis is caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, or muscular dystrophy.
- Degenerative scoliosis: This type of scoliosis occurs as a result of the normal aging process and wear and tear on the spine, causing it to curve laterally.
Scoliosis is congenital and is already present at the time of birth.
Paralytic scoliosis occurs when the muscles around the spine don’t develop fully and the spine takes extra pressure as a result.
Neuro-muscular conditions like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or polio can cause myopathic scoliosis.
Adults develop scoliosis due to degeneration. It could come from conditions like osteoporosis or osteomalacia. They become susceptible to secondary scoliosis due to spine surgery as well.
Imaging tests: X-rays are typically used to confirm the diagnosis of scoliosis and to measure the degree of curvature. In some cases, other imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans may be ordered.
Measurement of curvature: The degree of curvature of the spine is measured on the X-ray and used to classify the scoliosis as mild, moderate, or severe.
Determining the best course of treatment: Based on the degree of curvature, the doctor will determine the best course of treatment, which may include observation, bracing, or surgery.