Scoliosis is a condition that is characterized by a curvature of the spine. More commonly found in girls, the curvature can be very mild or extremely pronounced. In most cases, pain will be minimal unless the curvature continues to worsen over time and eventually begins to put pressure on other areas of the spine or on the internal organs. There is no cure for scoliosis but its symptoms can be treated so the patient can live as normal a life as possible. In more severe cases, surgery can be performed to lessen the curvature and support the spinal column to lessen the discomfort the person feels.
There are two main types of scoliosis. Congenital scoliosis is present at birth. It can worsen as the child grows or it can remain static, depending on several different factors. Neurological scoliosis is caused by damage to the nerves, structure, and soft tissues. Both types of scoliosis can cause the spine to curve into either a "c" or and "s" shape. The curvature can go towards either side, or it can result in a bowed or curved back, resembling a large hump located close to the shoulder blades. Congenital scoliosis is often diagnosed shortly after birth. If the case is very mild, it may not be noticeable until the child begins to grow.
The degree of the curvature will determine how the doctor chooses to treat the condition. Braces are often used because they are easily adaptable and can be altered as the child grows. Braces that are designed for adults are built to support the spine, skeletal structure, and muscle tissues in an attempt to reduce stress and prevent injury. If surgery is considered, the doctors have several options. They can fuse the vertebrae together or they can put rods in place to support the spine. For some patients, the option to use both may be extremely beneficial. Bone grafting and the use of adjustable rods are two options that are available to children who are diagnosed with the condition.
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