Category: Scoliosis | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: June 27, 2016
Summer is in full swing, and although the month of June is coming to a close, we want to take a moment and recognize that June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month.
As we’ve explained in related blogs, scoliosis is a horizontal curvature of the spine that typically occurs during puberty but can also occur as we age. The condition is often treated with bracing and therapy, but if the curve becomes painful or excessive, then a surgical operation may be necessary. Oftentimes surgeons will recommend an operation if the curve of the spine is greater than 45 degrees.
In an effort to help spread knowledge and awareness of scoliosis, we want to share some facts about the condition. Here’s what you need to know about scoliosis:
- Scoliosis is more common than many people realize, as it affects about three percent of the population in the United States. In fact, it is the most common spinal deformity.
- The condition isn’t usually caused by one identifiable action or cause. The term for this type of condition is called idiopathic scoliosis.
- A less common type of scoliosis is called degenerative scoliosis, and as the name implies, is caused by spinal degeneration over the years.
- Scoliosis development is most common between the ages of 10 and 15, although some people experience spinal curvature as an infant or as an adult.
- Like many health conditions, early identification is crucial. The earlier you catch the abnormal curvature, the more you can do to prevent further curving.
- Although about three percent of the nation is afflicted with scoliosis, many people have such minor cases that treatment isn’t necessary. Only about 30 percent need bracing and even fewer, roughly 10 percent, will need surgery.
- Exercise and activity are beneficial. The more physically active a person with scoliosis is, the less likely they are to be symptomatic. Additionally, weight loss can help alleviate discomfort caused by scoliosis.
If you’ve noticed that your child has a visible deformity or it appears uneven they need to be screened for scoliosis. This can be done during a physical exam by their primary care provider or a spine specialist. The same is true for adults, if a visible spine deformity is noted they should have it checked by a spine specialist to obtain an accurate measurement of the scoliosis, monitor the abnormality, and provide medical treatment if needed. As we noted above, the earlier the diagnosis, the better the outcomes. Don’t hesitate, especially if a family member has dealt with the condition, as scoliosis can have a genetic component.