There are a range of medical conditions that affect people no matter their age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. One condition we’d like to shed light on at this time is scoliosis because June is Scoliosis Awareness Month. As promoters of wellness in Kansas City, we’d like to further inform you about this condition to help bring awareness in the hopes of providing valuable information for early detection and helping those facing the potential struggle with much-needed assistance.
Scoliosis is not a disease, but rather a deformity caused by a curvature of the spine. This condition is typically diagnosed when children have reached adolescence and their spines begin to form in the shape they will remain throughout adulthood. There are early signs of scoliosis curvature in young children that can be detected, but are sometimes overlooked. If scoliosis is not treated with preventative measures early on, an individual can expect a more extensive process of attempted correction later on in life.
Early detection can provide patients with more options for correction such as braces and physical therapy, but if not treated correctly may result in surgery down the road. In some cases, braces will provide children with short-term correction, but may be most beneficial with surgical options provided by their healthcare professional.
The cause of scoliosis is difficult to pinpoint definitively in nearly 85% of patients because of its typically unknown origins. Scoliosis is diagnosed in 3 different ways:
- A C-shaped curve causing the spine to curve to the left, which is called levoscoliosis
- The spine curving to the right in a C-shape, which is called dectroscoliosis
- An S-shaped curvature that results in the spine going both directions, referred to as idiopathic scoliosis.
Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common form of scoliosis and is found in nearly 2% of the population. This form is a bit more manageable for individuals to leave a relatively painless life if it is detected early on for proper monitoring. When scoliosis is not treated early on or is determined in adults later in life, it is called degenerative scoliosis. This form is typically found in patients over 65 years old and affects the facet joints of the spine. The process of degenerative scoliosis begins as a gradual deterioration of the facet joints and is the same process as osteoarthritis of the spine. Often, these two diagnoses are one in the same. Patients may experience mid- to lower-back pain, numbness, and weakness in the hands and feet throughout their lives.
It is important to bring awareness to this condition that affects nearly 7 million people during the month of June especially, but throughout the rest of the year as well. Whether you face the battle yourself or are interested in learning more about the treatment options available for someone you care about, we hope this information has begun the enlightening process for you.