What is scoliosis of the spine?

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine. Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. While scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, the cause of most scoliosis is unknown.

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Dr. Maziar Badii, MD, FRCP, Rheumatologist, discusses What is Scoliosis of the Spine?

Dr. Maziar Badii, MD, FRCP, Rheumatologist, discusses Why is a Diagnosis of Scoliosis Important?

Long Term Management of Scoliosis

Dr. Maziar Badii, MD, FRCP, Rheumatologist, discusses The Symptoms of Scoliosis

he medical management of scoliosis is something that happens over time.

What – the question that needs to be answered is, is scoliosis progressing, or is it stable? And to know if it’s progressing, the patient needs to be examined yearly over several years, and if there is signs of progression, then decide on how to manage or treat it.

Now there’s a spectrum of treatment for scoliosis. In the vast majority of cases, it’s simply in the form of observation, reassurance, making sure that it’s not getting worse.

Now if there are symptoms, and the symptoms can be something as simple as pain at the end of the day, or muscle fatigue, some difficulty with appearance or with performing certain tasks, getting assistance from a physiotherapist who is experienced in treating patients with scoliosis, both for pain relief and for proper postural and strengthening exercises can be quite helpful.

Occupational therapists can help with devices or home visits, or work visits to make it easier to function in spite of a scoliosis. Chiropractors can help with adjustments, both for pain relief and for potential improvement of posture.

Beyond these complementary treatments, then a doctor may decide that this is a progressive curve, would need to get assistance from an orthopedic surgeon, and the orthopedic surgeon will then, can decide on casting or bracing, and in rare cases, surgery.

There are many solutions potentially available for treating scoliosis, depending on the severity of the symptoms, and on severity of the curve and whether the curve is progressing. Bracing, for example, can slow down or stop progression of a curve in your adolescent child. It’s always a good idea to see your healthcare provider, to ask questions, and to find out what options you have available for treating your scoliosis.

You might visit a rheumatologist for information on what is, conditions, side effects, symptoms and treatments related to the management of scoliosis, joint pain, and other spinal conditions.

Presenter: Dr. Maziar Badii, Rheumatologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist

What is scoliosis of the spine?

he word scoliosis comes from Greek, scolios, meaning curved or crooked.

Scoliosis implies and abnormal curvature of the spine, so the human spine has three normal curvatures, so just looking at you like this, my neck is curved inside. That’s a lordosis.

Then the thoracic spine is curved back. That’s a kyphosis. And then it’s curved inwards again, another lordosis. That’s a front-to-back curve. A scoliosis is talking about the curve in this plane, so going this way.

Now if we were to take a picture of someone with a scoliosis, and looked at it on a two-dimensional plane, like on a plane X-ray, it would look either like a C, so one curve, or an S. That is an abnormal curvature in this plane, or a scoliosis.

Typically, scoliosis is classified as either congenital, meaning there were vertebral deformities or anomalies present at birth, or acquired. So it happened after birth. The congenital accounts for about 15 to 20 percent of all cases. And the acquired is 80 to 85 percent of all cases.

In the acquired group, the majority of cases are idiopathic, so around 70 percent or more are idiopathic, meaning cause is not known. The other 30 percent have a cause known, usually either a neuromuscular problem or a structural problem relating to the vertebrae or the discs, usually as a process of aging or degenerative changes, in the latter group.

Of the acquired forms of the scoliosis, the most common one is the idiopathic, cause unknown. The idiopathic scoliosis is classified as to when it first appeared, so it’s classified as infantile, juvenile, adolescent or adult. By far, the commonest one is the adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

If you think you have a scoliosis, see your family physician. They will ask you some questions. They will examine your back. The doctor may decide that you don’t need an x-ray or any further imaging, or your doctor may decide that you need further workup and a treatment plan.

You might visit a rheumatologist for information on what is, conditions, side effects, symptoms and treatments related to scoliosis, joint pain, and other spinal conditions.

Presenter: Dr. Maziar Badii, Rheumatologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist

Dr. Maziar Badii, MD, FRCP, Rheumatologist, discusses treatment & prognosis of scoliosis.

Quiz: Do You Understand Scoliosis?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions
True
False
1

Scoliosis is equally common in children and adults.

Explanation:
There are several types of scoliosis, and it occurs most often in children between 9 and 15 years of age.
2

Congenital scoliosis is more common than acquired scoliosis.

Explanation:
Typically, scoliosis is classified as congenital, meaning there were vertebral deformities or anomalies present at birth, or acquired. Congenital scoliosis accounts for about 15 to 20 percent of all cases, while acquired accounts for 80 to 85 percent of cases.
3

A shoulder blade that’s more prominent than the other can be a sign of scoliosis.

Explanation:
Scoliosis symptoms include one shoulder blade that’s more prominent than the other and uneven shoulders, waist or hips.
4

Wearing a brace will cure scoliosis.

Explanation:
In many cases, scoliosis treatment isn’t required. Some children will need to wear a scoliosis brace to keep the curve of the spine from getting worse. Wearing a brace won't cure scoliosis, but it usually prevents further progression of the curve. Most patients who wear scoliosis braces keep them on day and night, and stop wearing them after the bones stop growing.
5

The most common type of scoliosis surgery is called spinal fusion.

Explanation:
The most common type of scoliosis surgery is called spinal fusion, in which surgeons connect two or more of the bones in the spine (vertebrae) together. Then, bone or a bone-like material is placed between the vertebrae and held in place by metal rods, screws, wires or hooks.
(Answer all questions to activate)

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