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Scoliosis Information: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments 2017-04-13T22:36:59+00:00

Scoliosis Information: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Scoliosis is a sideways curve in the spine (backbone). When the curve measures at least 10 degrees, the diagnostic term of scoliosis is used, though a lesser curve can still cause problems. The other curves in the spine, such as the forward curves of the neck and low back, and the backward curve of the mid to upper back are normal. This article provides foundational scoliosis information.

The causes of scoliosis are many. Cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and rare congenital diseases are the less common causes. The more common culprits are hereditary factors and “idiopathic,” unexplained, abnormal development of the spine. Doctors use the word “idiopathic” when the cause is not known. Over 75% of people with scoliosis are idiopathic, and most of them function fine and have little pain.

There are some signs and symptoms to be aware of:
-Uneven shoulders
-One shoulder blade sticking out more than the other
-Uneven hips
-Achy Back
-Standing a little crooked

During pregnancy, a baby’s spinal vertebrae may develop abnormally and lead to congenital scoliosis. A doctor can generally detect this on examination of the infant. Scoliosis appears most often during the typical growth spurts of ages 11 to 16 and can affect both boys and girls; however, girls are more likely to get worse and require treatments. If you had scoliosis as a teenager, getting checked periodically, especially during a time of feeling symptoms, is recommended. Scoliosis in adults can accelerate the process of spinal arthritis, aka degenerative joint disease. If the sideways curve is severe, it can alter the shape of the rib cage and put pressure on the lungs and heart, sometimes affecting their function.

Treatments for scoliosis range from physical therapy to surgery. In the majority of cases, conservative treatments like exercise, stretching, and spinal manipulation can relieve some of the pain and help make your lifestyle manageable. The strengthening of muscles that support the spine helps to stabilize the spine, improve posture, and reduce pain. Sedentary lifestyles usually contribute to the problems with scoliosis. Braces may also be a valuable tool to help correct and minimize the symptoms of scoliosis. In severe cases, surgery can be performed to correct the scoliotic curve, at least partly. Braces are an important part of scoliosis information.

Braces for Scoliosis

The Boston Brace

The Boston Brace is the most-commonly prescribed brace for scoliosis. It is one type of thoracic-lumbar-sacral orthosis (TLSO). A Boston brace is typically made from one of several prefabricated mold options. A trained orthotist (the person making the brace) selects the mold that best fits the patient’s body type, then places corrective pads and trim lines (cutouts) on the brace to match the patient’s specific scoliosis curve.

The Boston brace works by applying pressure on the outer (convex) side of the curve and cutting out corresponding areas of relief on the inner (concave) side of the curve so the spine can shift correctively toward that direction.
Wilmington Brace
The Wilmington Brace is another common TLSO, but it is custom-fitted based on a cast taken of the patient while lying down, supine. After the cast is made, corrective forces specific to the patient’s spinal curve are added before the brace is completed.

The Milwaukee Brace

The Milwaukee Brace was invented in the 1940s and is the original cervico-thoracic-lumbar-sacral orthosis (CTLSO), so it is an older and bulkier brace. The Milwaukee Brace is rarely used anymore.

Scoliosis Information: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Scoliosis Information

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