The diagnosis of spinal curvature, the medical name of which is scoliosis, is usually made during the growth period. If this condition is not treated early, the quality of life of the person can be greatly affected. This condition also occurs when the spine bends to the right or left and affects the shoulder blades, rib cage and hips. “What is scoliosis, what are its symptoms?” about this disorder, which is more common in girls, we have compiled for you in detail the things that are wondered and need to be known.
“What is scoliosis?” The question can be answered as congenital lateral and rotational curvature of the pathological spine. This situation often stands out as a curvature in the person's posture. In addition, it can be congenital as well as after trauma, accident or an infective process.
The incidence of scoliosis, the majority of which is low-grade curvatures, is between 2% and 4%. For 10% of people who experience this condition, the condition progresses to necessitate treatment. In addition, it is necessary for the person to exercise regularly, strengthen the back muscles and their condition, in order to perform its treatment.
Types of scoliosis are as follows:
- Idiopathic scoliosis
- Neuromuscular scoliosis
- Congenital scoliosis
Idiopathic Scoliosis: It is the most common type of scoliosis and its cause is not known exactly. In this type of scoliosis, the lateral bending of the spine may be C or S-shaped. In idiopathic scoliosis, besides bending to the side, the vertebrae may also rotate around themselves.
Neuromuscular Scoliosis: Its main causes are muscle and nerve diseases. As a result, the person may experience sensory symptoms and respiratory distress. Surgical intervention required for the treatment of neuromuscular scoliosis is preferred for younger ages.
Congenital Scoliosis: Congenital scoliosis is related to spinal anomalies that occur during the development of the baby. This type of scoliosis progresses rapidly in the first years and therefore requires surgical intervention at a young age.
Scoliosis, which does not show many symptoms in the early period, may cause different health problems in the later stages of life. Symptoms of scoliosis differ from person to person and according to the type of scoliosis. These symptoms are as follows:
- The person has difficulty in standing upright
- Shortness of breath
- Bending of the spine to the right or left
- Inadequate fit of the clothes to the body
- Walking difficulties
- Asymmetry in the hips and shoulders
- Visible curvature of the spine
- Pain in the waist, back and shoulders
Early diagnosis of scoliosis is necessary for the treatment to give positive results. For the diagnosis of the condition, special screenings are performed for people who are in adolescence years. If the person with scoliosis is in adulthood, a physical examination is necessary to diagnose the condition. In the examination, the person is asked to lean forward and the status is observed. In addition, some patients may experience curvature while standing. In addition to the findings obtained in the examination, some imaging methods are also used in the diagnosis. In these imaging methods, patients are bent forward, sideways and backwards, and the degree of scoliosis is determined according to these X-ray results. In addition to X-ray, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) are among the diagnostic methods.
Although scoliosis is usually encountered in adolescents, it can also occur in infants. That's why most parents ask "what causes scoliosis in babies?". Early diagnosis is extremely important in scoliosis seen at birth. Scoliosis gives symptoms in babies in the form of abnormal protrusions on the back, skin color changes and hair growth on the back area. In addition, x-rays and other imaging methods are used in diagnosis.
Spinal curvatures are measured in degrees. Scoliosis grades are seen in three different ways as mild, moderate and severe. The curvature must be 10 degrees or more in order for the person's discomfort to be called scoliosis. Curvatures below 10 degrees are not scoliosis, they are spinal asymmetry. Scoliosis grades are as follows:
- Mild scoliosis: Curves less than 20 degrees and this degree indicates that no treatment is needed.
- Curvatures between 20 and 40 degrees are moderate scoliosis. This condition is diagnosed between the ages of 10-15. After the diagnosis, the posture is improved with physical therapy and corset.
- In severe scoliosis, the curvature is over 40 degrees. In case of this situation, the treatment is performed with a surgical method.
Scoliosis is a condition that cannot be prevented, but the progression can be stopped by using various treatment methods.
Because of the types of scoliosis and curvature of the spine, it is important for people living with the condition to stay away from certain activities. Regular exercise is a routine that all scoliosis patients should follow. However, these people should avoid very heavy exercises. People who strengthen their back muscles with regular light exercises also increase their ability to move over time. Therefore, exercises such as swimming, pilates and yoga are used as part of scoliosis treatment. In addition, some changes that a person will make in his daily life prevent the increase of curvature. Being at a desk for too long, lying on your face, and using multiple pillows while sleeping are among the things to avoid.
Scoliosis treatment; It is planned by considering the patient's fat content, the degree and location of the curvature, the severity of the pain experienced, imaging methods and the findings obtained from the physical examination. Early diagnosis with examination and x-ray is extremely important for the positive outcome of the treatment. Observation, physical therapy, corset treatment and surgical operations are used according to the findings obtained during the treatment process.
Surgery is preferred if the diagnosed curvature progresses and cannot be controlled. People who have a severe condition may ask, “What is scoliosis surgery?”. Scoliosis surgery is the most appropriate treatment method for people who experience severe pain due to scoliosis, loss of strength in their muscles, and problems in bowel functions. Adults with a curvature of the spine usually undergo procedures that fix the spine. Spinal fusion, which is one of these procedures; bones taken from a part of the patient's body, as well as providing support to the region with screws, rods and wires. This procedure is not applied to patients under the age of 10. Specially produced rods are used to stop the curvature experienced by patients under the age of 10. This surgical method is repeated as the child grows and the rods are lengthened. Recovery after scoliosis surgery takes a long time. After the surgery, the patients remain under observation for the first week. Patients who complete their first month can also return to their routine life. Patients who have completed their 3rd month can do sports activities. Scoliosis surgery takes 3-4 hours on average.
Orthopedics department should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
Patients suffering from scoliosis are generally advised to lie on their back. The most important reason for lying in this position is to put an equal load on the spine. Thus, the progression of spinal curvature is prevented. In addition to the supine position, patients can lie on their side and relax by bending their legs or by supporting them under the knee with a pillow.
Symptoms of scoliosis and spinal curvature are not related to nutrition. However, it is important to eat a balanced diet in order to prevent the condition from progressing and to lead a healthier life.