Scoliosis is a complex deformity of the spinal column, in which there is a lateral curvature of it in the plane of the back and a twisting rotation of the spine within its axis.
The factors for the appearance of scoliosis have not been fully studied, among the main ones are general weakness and underdevelopment of the ligamentous-muscular apparatus, which, during the period of the most intensive growth (6-8 and 10-12 years), in combination with provoking influences (incorrectly established habits, poor posture, slight natural asymmetry of the legs, pelvis) leads to the appearance and development of curvature of the spine.
With large deformations, a rib hump appears, the pelvis is warped, the wedge-shaped vertebrae are detected, and the work of internal organs is hindered.
To determine the existence of scoliosis, you will need to ask the baby to stand with his back to you and relax (let him take a typical posture for him). First of all, you will need to pay attention to the following main symptoms of scoliosis:
- one of the shoulder blades went bulging a little (the corner of the shoulder blade protrudes);
- different distance from the hand pressed to the side to the waist;
- one shoulder slightly higher than the other;
- when leaning forward, the curvature of the spine is noticeable.
Scoliotic curvature is formed in the thoracic or lumbar spine, sometimes observed in both at the same time. The magnitude of scoliotic deformity is measured in degrees. True scoliosis is a deformity in which the deviation of the spinal column from the vertical axis is more than ten degrees, occasionally it reaches 100 degrees or more. Determining the number of broken vertebrae at the apex of the deformity will help the doctor determine the best way to treat scoliosis. Non-surgical treatment is traditionally used for deformities less than 40°, large curves need surgical treatment.
If at least one of these signs is found in the very near future, you will need to contact an orthopedist or surgeon. The causes of scoliosis are very different and depend on the age and time of occurrence of the deformity.
Types of scoliosis
There are the following types of scoliosis:
- infantile (determined up to 3 years);
- juvenile (determined from 3 years to 10 years);
- youthful (determined from 10 to 15 years);
- scoliosis in adults (diagnosed in adulthood, after the cessation of growth).
Most often, scoliosis is diagnosed in adolescents. In adults, the main cause of scoliosis is degenerative-dystrophic changes in the spine.
Degrees of scoliosis
Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis
The vast majority of cases of this scoliosis are initially detected and treated during childhood or puberty during puberty, when the curvature becomes very noticeable. If it is impossible to determine the cause of the spinal deformity, then experts call such scoliosis idiopathic. This form of scoliosis can appear in babies against the background of absolute health, without prior damage to the neuromuscular or skeletal systems. This is the most common form of spinal deformity, and occurs with a frequency of up to three percent.
Scoliosis in adults
Scoliosis that appears or is discovered after puberty is called “adult”. Adult scoliosis can be the result of untreated or undiagnosed childhood scoliosis, and it can also appear throughout adulthood. The causes of scoliosis in adults are traditionally different from those that provoked children.
Degenerative scoliosis in adults
Degenerative adult scoliosis occurs during a combination of age-related and degenerative lesions of the spinal column, which lead to the development of spinal deformity. Degenerative scoliosis usually occurs after 40 years. In older groups, especially in women, it often occurs on the basis of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis weakens the bone, increasing the deformity. The combination of these changes causes the spinal column to lose its ability to maintain its normal shape. The spine begins to bend, and with the progression of osteoporosis, the deformation slowly increases.
Treatment of scoliosis
The treatment of scoliosis is a rather complicated event, the effectiveness of which depends mostly on the patient himself.
With conservative treatment, as a rule, measures are taken aimed at unloading the spine and correcting the curvature (sparing day regimen, corset therapy, orthopedic styling), developing the muscles of the back and trunk (special corrective physical therapy), restorative and tonic procedures (electrical stimulation of the back muscles, massage, courses of vitamin therapy, physiotherapy).
Surgical treatment is prescribed for significant and rapidly developing scoliosis and consists in the installation of various kinds of mechanical endocorrectors that correct the curvature of the spine.
Usually, it is possible to completely correct the curvature in childhood only with scoliosis of 1-2 degrees, when there are no pronounced irreversible (dysplastic) changes in the spine. With scoliosis of 3-4 degrees, only the elimination of the development of the disease can be achieved.
As the end of body growth is reached (16-18 years), the development of scoliosis stops. It is believed that after 20 years it is impossible to straighten the spine.
Despite the favorable overall prognosis (the development of scoliosis proper after 20 years traditionally stops), long-term prospects for significant scoliosis of 3-4 degrees threaten the development of osteochondrosis, impaired respiratory function and other internal organs.