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Scoliosis (Curved Spine): Symptoms, types, diagnosis and treatment (1)


Scoliosis is not a disease. It is a condition in which there is an abnormal sideways curvature in the spine. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Scoliosis (Curved Spine): Symptoms, types, diagnosis and treatment (1)

Scoliosis (Curved Spine)
Scoliosis (Curved Spine)
  • Scoliosis is not a disease. It is a condition in
    which there is an abnormal sideways curvature in
    the spine. Any part of the spine can bend but the
    most common parts that get affected are the chest
    (upper back) area or the lower part of the back.
    The spine can curve to the right, left or
    sometimes both the sides. The curve can occur in
    varying degrees, which determines the severity of
    the condition. When the curve occurs in
    the lumbar (lower) region of the spine, it does
    not affect the posture. However, the curve in the
    thoracic (upper) region causes a twist in the rib
    cage, which makes the misalignment of the body
    more visible. If the curve gets worse, the spine
    may rotate or even twist. In an extreme case of
    scoliosis, there may be severe back pain and
    other vital organs like the lungs, heart may get

Scoliosis (Curved Spine)
  • When scoliosis occurs, the curves of the spine
    can be classified on the basis of their shape in
    the following ways 
  • Levoscoliosis In this type the curvature of the
    spine is towards left giving it the "C" shape.
    This type of scoliosis is considered to be the
    most dangerous as the heart is located in that
    area and may be in danger. The degree of the
    curve determines the severity of the disorder.
  • Dextroscoliosis In this type the curvature is to
    the opposite side of levoscoliosis i.e., towards
    the right and looks like a backward "C". The
    curve is also known as lordotic curve.
  • Dextroscoliosis (forming an "S" shape) In this
    type of scoliosis, there are two curves in the
    spinal column, which result in an "S" shaped

Types of scoliosis
  • Congenital ScoliosisIt occurs before birth
    while the foetus is growing in the womb. A part
    of one or more vertebrae, during the formation of
    the spine, may not form properly leading to a
    curved spine. Also, the spine initially forms as
    a single column of tissue and then separates into
    various bony segments called vertebrae. However,
    when the separation is incomplete, two or more
    vertebrae are fused together which stops the
    spinal growth from one side resulting into a
    spinal curve. It is a very rare condition.
    However, if it occurs then needs to be corrected
    surgically. Neuromuscular Scoliosis It is
    caused by poor muscle control or muscle weakness
    and illnesses that affect the nerves. A disorder
    called cerebral palsy may cause neuromuscular
    scoliosis. p

Types of scoliosis
  • It is a condition wherein there is a brain
    damage that occurs at birth or a while later.
    Another illness that may result in neuromuscular
    scoliosis is muscular dystrophy, a genetic
    disorder that weakens the muscles. Certain other
    disorders that may cause neuromuscular scoliosis
    are spina bifida and polio. Idiopathic
    Scoliosis When scoliosis develops in a
    previously straight spine without an identifiable
    cause, it is known as idiopathic scoliosis. It is
    the most common type of scoliosis usually
    observed in girls. It is more common in
    adolescents, and gets worse as they grow. The
    curve may become more pronounced in the later
    stages of life. 

Types of scoliosis
  • Degenerative ScoliosisIt usually occurs in
    women above 40 years of age. Because of the
    deterioration of bones, the spine loses ability
    to maintain its normal shape and begins to sag.
    This results into a scoliotic curve in the spine.
    Degenerative scoliosis may also result from
    injuries or illnesses like a major back injury,
    osteoporosis or a traumatic bone collapse. The
    parts of the spine that are involved in the
    damage are vertebrae that support the spine and
    the neck, tendons that connect the bones in the
    spine to the muscles, discs that provide a
    cushion to the vertebrae and the ligaments that
    hold the discs and vertebrae together.

Causes of scoliosis
  • Doctors don't know what causes the most common
    type of scoliosis, although it appears to involve
    hereditary factors, because the disorder tends to
    run in families. Less common types of scoliosis
    may be caused by 
  • Neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral
    palsy or muscular dystrophy
  • Birth defects affecting the development of the
    bones of the spine
  • Injuries to or infections of the spine

  • The symptoms of scoliosis may differ from one
    individual to another depending upon the type,
    cause and severity of the disorder. However,
    there are some common symptoms, which include 
  • The head tilted and not in line with rest of the
  • The hip appearing lower than the usual position
    and tilted to one side
  • One shoulder blade appearing higher than the
  • Shoulders uneven in height
  • An uneven neckline
  • The breasts developing in unequal size, in young
  • On bending forward, one side of the upper back
    appearing higher than the other

  • A person with scoliosis is likely to experience
    backache or lower-back pain. After a long period
    of sitting or standing, they are also likely to
    feel weakness in the spine. The pain usually gets
    worse, if irritation results. Severe scoliosis,
    where the curve in the spine is greater than 100
    degrees, can cause breathing problems.

Diagnosis of scoliosis
  • In order to diagnose scoliosis, a doctor will
    first carry out a physical examination. Part of
    it is a forward bending test that will enable the
    doctor to define the curve. However, this is not
    sufficient for the degree of the curve to be
    clearly defined, so an x-ray, taken from the
    front and side of the spine is usually
    recommended. The doctor will also perform
    a neurological exam to look for any changes in
    strength, sensation, or reflexes. Additionally,
    scoliometer measurements (a device for measuring
    the curvature of the spine) are usually taken,
    and if required, an MRI scan may be carried out.

  • In mild cases of scoliosis a treatment is not
    required. Repeated examinations every 4 to 6
    months are done to determine the progress of the
    curve. If the curve continues to grow, the doctor
    may recommend either of the following treatment
  • Bracing If idiopathic scoliosis is more than 25
    to 30 degrees, in a growing child, a brace is
    recommended to slow the progression of the
    curve. Braces are of several types and each of
    them appears and functions differently. A brace
    does the act of putting pressure on the spine to
    straighten it and is adjusted as the person
    grows. However, it cannot be utilized for cases
    of congenital or neuromuscular scoliosis.

  • Surgery A surgical treatment for scoliosis is
    recommended only when the spinal curve is above
    50 degrees and the bracing technique fails to
    correct the problem. If the curve is between 40
    to 50 degrees the doctors have to consider all
    the surrounding factors before recommending a
    surgery. The main objective behind a surgery is
    to correct the spinal curve and prevent it from
    getting worse. However, the result would not be a
    perfectly straight spine but will definitely
    prevent it from worsening.

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