Scoliosis is a three-dimensional abnormality of spine that occurs when the spine becomes rotated and curved sideways. It is most often diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence.The angle of the curve may be small, large, or somewhere in between. But anything that measures more than 10 degrees on an X-ray is considered scoliosis. Curvature in scoliosis are named by “C” or “S” shaped.
▪︎ Idiopathic scoliosis is scoliosis without a known cause. In as many as 80% of cases, doctors don’t find the exact reason for a curved spine.
▪︎ Congenital scoliosis begins as a baby’s back develops before birth. Problems with the tiny bones in the back, called vertebrae, can cause the spine to curve. The vertebrae may be incomplete or fail to divide properly. Doctors may spot this rare condition when the child is born. Or they may not find it until the teen years.
▪︎ Neuromuscular scoliosis is caused by a disorder like spina bifida, cerebral palsy, or a spinal cord injury. These conditions sometimes damage your muscles so they don’t support your spine correctly. That can cause your back to curve.
▪︎ Degenerative scoliosis affects adults. It usually develops in the lower back as the disks and joints of the spine begin to wear out as you age.
Sign & Symptoms –
There are several signs that may indicate the possibility of scoliosis which includes –
• Shoulders are uneven – one or both shoulder blades may stick out
• Head is not centered directly above the pelvis
• One or both hips are raised or unusually high
• Rib cages are at different heights
• Waist is uneven
• The appearance or texture of the skin overlying the spine changes (dimples, hairy patches, color abnormalities)
• The entire body leans to one side
In addition to visible symptoms, scoliosis may lead to:
• Back stiffness
• Pain and numbness in your legs (from pinched nerves)
• Fatigue due to muscle strain
Some kinds of scoliosis have clear causes. Scoliosis can be divided into two categories on basis of causes — structural and nonstructural.
▪︎ Nonstructural scoliosis
In this category the spine works normally but looks curved. This happens for a number of reasons, such as having –
• one leg that’s longer than the other
• muscle spasms
• inflammations like appendicitis.
When these problems are treated, the scoliosis often goes away.
▪︎ Structural scoliosis
In this category the curve of the spine is rigid and can’t be reversed.This happens for a number of reasons, such as having –
• Cerebral palsy
• Muscular dystrophy
• Birth defects
• Genetic conditions like Marfan syndrome and Down syndrome
Risk Factors –
• Age: Signs and symptoms often start during a growth spurt just before puberty.
• Gender: Females have a higher risk of scoliosis than males.
• Genetics: People with scoliosis often have a close relative with the condition.
While most people with scoliosis have a mild form of the disorder, it may sometimes cause complications, including:
• Breathing problems. In severe scoliosis, the rib cage may press against the lungs, making it more difficult to breathe.
• Back problems. People who had scoliosis as children may be more likely to have chronic back pain as adults, especially if their abnormal curves are large and untreated.
• Appearance. As scoliosis worsens, it can cause more noticeable changes — including uneven hips and shoulders, prominent ribs, and a shift of the waist and trunk to the side. Individuals with scoliosis often become self-conscious about their appearance.
A physician or othropaedic doctor will perform a physical examination of the spine, ribs, hips, and shoulders. With the help of a tool called an inclinometer, or scoliometer, the doctor can measure the degree of scoliosis. An angle greater than 10 degrees indicates suspision of scoliosis.
Imaging scans such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans can help and confirm the doctor assess the shape, direction, location, and angle of the curve.
Treatment depends on numerous factors — the degree of spine curvature being a major one. Your doctor will also decide treatment options on the basis of –
• your age
• whether you’re likely to continue growing
• the amount and type of curvature
• the type of the scoliosis
The primary treatment options are bracing and surgery.
• Braces. In kids who are still growing, wearing a brace around your torso can stop the curve from getting worse. They’re usually made of plastic. Many kids wear them 24 hours a day. You can’t see them under clothes, and they don’t stop you from doing everyday activities.
• Spinal fusion surgery. In this operation, your doctor puts pieces of bone or a similar material between bones in your spine. They use hardware to hold the bones in place until they grow together, or fuse. The surgery can lessen the curve in your spine as well as keep it from getting worse.
• Spine and rib-based growing operation. This is done to correct more serious scoliosis in children who are still growing. The doctor attaches rods to your spine or ribs with hardware. As you grow, the doctor adjusts the length of the rods.
Certain therapies can aid in managing scoliosis pain, though they won’t help to correct the curvature itself.
Exercise and stretching for such pain symptoms can’t fix the underlying issue, but it’s important for general wellness and can help keep you flexible.
Pain medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) can help to reduce pain.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
In Ayurveda scoliosis symptoms gives straight reference to the disease mentioned under the name of Kubjatava.
Scoliosis Treatment in Ayurveda follows the Panchakarma procedures. What modern medicine has declared as “no known cause”, Ayurveda says it is all about the Vata dosha. When toxins, which are dry in nature accumulate in the muscles, it leads to the spasm of the muscles. With imbalance in the pressure/weight from both sides, this leads to the bend in the spine. Panchakarma helps in removal of the toxins and relaxes all the joints of the spine.
Abhyangam, also known as the special herbal massage, is one of the many Scoliosis Treatments in Ayurveda. This massage is also a preventive medicine. In short, it rejuvenates the body and maintains the physique.
In addition, Scoliosis Treatments in Ayurveda combined with yoga postures and awareness of breath, can recreate structural alignment and more symmetry in the body.
The Yoga poses that may be useful for this problem includes –
• Adho mukha svanasana
• Ardha uttanasana
• Setu Bandhasana
By stretching the muscles that have tightened and, strengthening the muscles that have become weak from the asymmetrical imbalance of scoliosis, realignment of the body is accomplished.
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