What is Scoliosis (Spine Curvature)?

Deformities and lateral curvatures in the waist and chest regions of the spine are the answer to the question of what is scoliosis. Spinal curvature, which is an orthopedic disorder, can occur alone or together with kyphosis or humpback. Although the causes of scoliosis are not known exactly, it may occur due to disorders such as cerebral palsy. However, congenital or acquired scoliosis can also be caused by vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, spinal injuries, infections and hereditary factors.

Onset of Scoliosis

The onset of scoliosis can occur anywhere in the spine. Scoliosis, which can occur at birth or later, can affect people of all ages; however, it usually occurs during adolescence. Symptoms such as swelling on the back, asymmetric stance of the shoulders and hips are effective in the initial understanding of scoliosis.

Scoliosis Disease Symptoms

Scoliosis symptoms, which are not very obvious in the early period, may cause different health problems in the later periods. Since back pain is the most common symptom, patients often search for scoliosis pain. Symptoms of scoliosis that vary from case to case, depending on the severity and type of scoliosis, are:

  • Bending the spine to the right or left side,
  • Visible curvature of the spine,
  • Asymmetry in the shoulders and hips,
  • Difficulty standing upright
  • Shortness of breath
  • Problems in walking
  • Back, waist and shoulder pain,
  • The clothes do not fit the body properly.

Diagnosing Scoliosis

Early diagnosis of scoliosis allows the treatment to give much more positive results. For this, thanks to school screenings, especially in adolescents, there is a chance to intervene in scoliosis without the need for surgical operation.
In adults, a physical examination is necessary for the diagnosis of scoliosis. During the examination, patients are asked to bend forward in order to see the curvature. At the same time, the curvature is visible when the patients are standing.
In the diagnosis of scoliosis, imaging methods are used as well as examination findings. The degree of scoliosis is determined according to the x-ray results of the patients leaning forward, sideways or backwards. Along with X-ray, magnetic resonance (MR) and computed tomography (CT) are also used in diagnosis. MRI is generally used in patients with symptoms such as pain in the leg and back regions and intestinal problems. However, in scoliosis with curvatures greater than 40 degrees, computed tomography is required to better see the bone and spine.

How is Scoliosis Diagnosed in Babies?

Although scoliosis is usually seen in adolescence, it can also occur in infants. For this reason, many people wonder what causes scoliosis in babies. Since congenital scoliosis, also known as congenital scoliosis, is progressive, early diagnosis is of great importance. Symptoms such as abnormal protrusions on the back, skin color changes and hair growth on the back area are seen. At the same time, imaging methods, especially x-rays, are used in the diagnosis of scoliosis in infants.

Scoliosis Grades

Spinal curvatures are measured in degrees. For the discomfort to be called scoliosis, the curvature must be 10 degrees or more. Curvatures of 10 degrees scoliosis and below are spinal asymmetry, not scoliosis.
Scoliosis grades are divided into three as mild, moderate and severe. Mild scoliosis is curvature less than 20 degrees. A 20 degree scoliosis image usually indicates that no treatment is needed. However, patients should go to regular check-ups in order to understand whether there is an increase in the curvature.
Curvatures between 20 and 40 degrees are called moderate scoliosis. The appearance of 20 or 30 degree scoliosis, which is mostly diagnosed between the ages of 10-15, can be improved with corsets and physical therapy.
In severe scoliosis, the curvature is over 40 degrees. Since the appearance of 40 degrees scoliosis and the curvatures above it show severe symptoms, most patients are treated with surgery.

How is Scoliosis Grade Calculated?

Imaging methods do scoliosis grading. Computed tomography, radiography, and MRI are the methods used in grade calculations.

When Does Scoliosis Progress Stop?

Most people with spinal curvature are investigating whether scoliosis will progress. Although scoliosis is a disease that cannot be prevented, the progression of the disease can be stopped with various treatment methods and age. Until what age does scoliosis progress, it is one of the curious points. Scoliosis, which generally occurs at a young age and progresses until the end of adolescence, either stops completely or slows down very slowly in adulthood.

What Scoliosis Patients Should Not Do

Due to the types of scoliosis and spinal curvature, patients should avoid certain activities. By paying attention to the mentioned points, adults with scoliosis can have a more successful treatment process.
Although regular exercise is recommended for all scoliosis patients, cumbersome exercise should be avoided. Exercises that strengthen the back muscles and help reduce pain also increase mobility. Swimming, yoga, and Pilates are effective in treating scoliosis. It is beneficial to avoid compelling sports activities such as long-distance running or horseback riding that may put pressure on the spine. People with scoliosis surgery should especially avoid multi-contact sports that can cause trams.
By changing their daily lives, scoliosis patients can also prevent the curvature from increasing. One of the movements that should be avoided is working at a desk for a long time. However, to stop growing back and waist pain, it is necessary not to lie face down. Using too many pillows while sleeping is also not recommended.

Scoliosis Treatment

Scoliosis treatment is planned by taking into account the age of the patients, the degree and location of the curvature, the severity of pain in adults, the findings of physical examination and imaging methods, the increase in the degree of curvature over time, and personalized. Early diagnosis, thanks to scoliosis x-rays and examinations, dramatically increases the success of scoliosis treatment.
Observation, corset treatment, physical therapy, and surgery treat scoliosis. Observation, the first treatment option, is usually used for curves below 20 degrees and shows how much the curve increases over time. Scoliosis physical therapy applications and surgery are especially suitable for adults and more severe cases. However, surgical operations are the last resort for the treatment of scoliosis in both children and adults.

Which Doctor and Department to Go to for Scoliosis?

It is necessary to apply to the Orthopedics department to diagnose and treat scoliosis.

Corset Treatment for Scoliosis Patients

A scoliosis brace controls spinal curvature in treating young children and infants. Brace treatment is one of the effective methods, especially in moderate scoliosis, where the curvature is between 20 degrees and 40 degrees. In some cases, it is appropriate to use a corset up to 60 degrees in children whose bone development continues. Although this method does not correct the curvature, it stops its progression. Corsets are changed as children get older.

What Happens If Scoliosis Is Not Treated?

As with all other diseases, scoliosis can cause different health problems if left untreated. Especially in cases where the curvature is not controlled and continues to progress, the rib cage narrows, and patients have difficulty breathing. Appropriate treatment is essential to prevent problems such as shortness of breath in developing children.

However, treatment is not needed for mild scoliosis unless a severe health problem is present. Patients go for check-ups at regular intervals only to determine whether the spinal curvature has progressed.

Scoliosis Surgery

If non-surgical methods cannot stop the progression of the curvature and the symptoms continue, scoliosis surgery is performed. For this reason, those with advanced spinal curvature are researching what scoliosis surgery is. Surgery is the proper treatment method for those who complain of symptoms such as severe pain, problems in bowel functions, and loss of strength in the muscles.
Spine stabilizing operations are usually performed in adults who have completed their development. Spinal fusion; is the process of using metal rods, wires, and screws, as well as bones taken from a part of the body of the patient, to correct the curvature of the spine. Fusion surgery is not recommended, especially in children under the age of 10. Specially produced rods are used to stop the curvature in these children. This surgery, which does not adversely affect lung development, is repeated as children grow and the rods are lengthened.

The recovery period after scoliosis surgery takes longer than other operations. The patients, who are kept under surveillance for the first week, can return to their daily life within one month and engage in sports activities from the 3rd month.

How Many Hours Does Scoliosis Surgery Take?

Scoliosis surgery, one of the long and complex operations of orthopedic surgery, takes an average of 3-4 hours.

Are There Risks of Scoliosis Surgery?

Like any surgery, scoliosis surgery has some risks. The risks of scoliosis surgery include bleeding, clot formation, infection in the wound areas, incomplete placement of the prostheses, and damage to the spinal nerves. Nerve damage causing paralysis and numbness in the legs and problems with bowel function are rare risks. Wound infections are cured with the use of antibiotics. If the metal rods or screws are not appropriately placed, patients usually undergo reoperation.

How Should Scoliosis Exercises Be Done?

People with spinal curvature often research whether scoliosis can be corrected with exercise. Although there is no scientific research on the effectiveness of back exercises in treating scoliosis, most specialist doctors recommend performing scoliosis movements. Scoliosis exercise applications mainly aim to increase muscle strength and reduce back pain. Depending on the age group and the degree of scoliosis, specialist doctors can determine the movements.
Age is a critical point in determining exercise time. Very young children may only want to exercise occasionally and stop exercising during the main developmental period. For this reason, care should be taken when planning the exercise time of young children.

How should patients with scoliosis lie down?

Scoliosis patients are generally recommended to lie on their back. One of the most important reasons for sleeping this way is to put an equal load on the spine. In this way, the progression of spinal curvature can be prevented. Scoliosis patients can rest on their back as well as on their side. Bending the legs in this position and placing a support such as a pillow under the knee is also suitable for the patients. Lying face down is not recommended as it causes the back to straighten. Beds should be medium hard or firm. Those with scoliosis surgery use products such as supportive splints to protect their back areas after the operation.

How should scoliosis patients be fed?

Although scoliosis is generally unrelated to nutrition, eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly can prevent curvature progression and maintain health.

Created at 11.10.2023 06:21
Updated at 27.04.2024 08:18
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