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The abnormal sideways curvature of the spine is known as scoliosis. It can cause a backbone to form the shape of either a “C” or “S” but can still be managed to where those who suffer from it can live complete lives. Roughly 3-percent of the population have idiopathic scoliosis, which is the most common of the varieties of this progressive skeletal abnormality.

Scoliosis

Here is a look at 6 things you should know about scoliosis.

1 – It Isn’t Easy To Identify

It is not exactly easy to make an early diagnosis of scoliosis. The side-to-side spinal curvature, known as the Cobb angle, has to measure at least 10-degrees before an official diagnosis will be made.

It is not exactly easy to make an early diagnosis of scoliosis. The side-to-side spinal curvature, known as the Cobb angle, has to measure at least 10-degrees before an official diagnosis will be made. What makes this interesting is that young people with abnormal curvatures in the 10 to 20-degree range may not even know they have scoliosis.

That is particularly true when symptoms are not noticeable. Often scoliosis is typically first noticed in children when they reach school age and go through a normal screening process at that time. Other instances of scoliosis being identified in children are when they are observed while changing for gym class or swimming when their backs are exposed.

2 – It Develops At An Early Age

Children between the ages of 9 and 15 typically develop idiopathic scoliosis. In other words, it can begin in early to mid-adolescence. Although research has not confirmed why the timing is when it is, scoliosis is believed to develop at this time because it is when the body experiences a great deal of growth and development.

An abnormal curve that measures less than 40-degrees doesn’t normally get any worse after full skeletal maturity has been reached. This is why it is crucial to diagnose scoliosis as early as possible so that measures can be taken to halt the progression of the condition before skeletal maturity is achieved.

3 – Treatment Usually Means Monitoring

If there is a good thing about idiopathic scoliosis, it is that the condition doesn’t progress to where it can contribute to symptoms that would be considered disruptive. Essentially, if the curvature is not moving into the 25 to 30-degree range or has not progressed noticeably over six months, monitoring is all that can be done.

That doesn’t mean there are no other viable treatments, it just means that the slow progression of the condition can be managed. Routine physical examinations at least every six months with a medical professional who can continue to measure and monitor any changes to the curvature is normally all you need to do.

4 – Braces Can Stop The Progression

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Timing has a lot to do with how effective braces are in treating scoliosis. If a young person has not yet reached skeletal maturity and has a curvature of 25-degrees, a brace can benefit. According to Healthcare Weekly, braces come in two basic types – hard or rigid and bracing is the only non-surgical means to treat this condition and it has to been done at the correct stage of adolescence to be effective.

Although there is still a need for additional research, early indications are that certain exercises performed by younger patients may provide some form of relief. The goal of the exercises is to slow the progression of the curvature before skeletal maturity is reached and to do so without having to rely on using braces for the same reason.

5 – Surgery Is The Last Resort

Surgery is not normally considered when treating idiopathic scoliosis. However, there is an exception and that is when the curvature is 45-degrees or greater. The surgical procedures most used in this case are anterior lumbar interbody fusion or posterior spinal fusion.

A long incision is made in the back to permit hardware to be correctly positioned along with instrumentation. New bone is created through bone graft material and this prevents the spine from curving abnormally. It takes from six to twelve months to fully recover from this procedure. However, the curvature is removed and halted as a result.

6 – It Is Not Your Fault

If your child is diagnosed with scoliosis, it is not the fault of that child’s parents that they have developed the condition. That is because there is no known cause which makes it even more of a mystery. Although it can run in families, mild cases are not often diagnosed. Plus, parents are not always knowledgeable enough to recognize the early signs of development.

Poor posture or carrying heavy backpacks may contribute to various types of back issues but have no connection to scoliosis whatsoever. So parents can relax knowing that they are not inadvertently doing something that is causing their son or daughter to develop scoliosis. The condition doesn’t work that way.

Scoliosis Facts

Here are a few interesting facts about scoliosis that you may not be aware of.

It Affects Females More Than Males

Statistics show that females are more likely than males to develop scoliosis that will gradually progress to become worse than it was when first diagnosed.

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