Types of Scoliosis
Almost everyone knows what scoliosis is; but many people don’t know there are different types of scoliosis. What is scoliosis? Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine. The curvature appears to be in a C shape or an exaggerated S shape. Scoliosis can be slight or very pronounced. The word scoliosis means bent or crooked.
There is the congenital form of scoliosis which is present at birth. The rib cage and spinal column of the fetus become deformed within the mother’s womb. The condition often gets worse as the child gets older. There are two other forms of scoliosis which are idiopathic and neuromuscular scoliosis.
Idiopathic scoliosis is caused by an underlying disease or condition; it can affect anyone of any age. There are three subcategories of idiopathic scoliosis which are juvenile, adolescent and adult.
Neuromuscular scoliosis is caused by an underlying disease or condition; it is a symptom of the condition causing it. It is a deformity of the coronal (frontal) and sagittal (side) planes of the body. You can see an illustration of the different planes here.
The neuromuscular form of scoliosis is found in people who have abnormal muscle/nerve pathways in the body. For instance, a person with a neuromuscular disorder could suffer from neuromuscular scoliosis.
Symptoms of scoliosis
The symptoms of scoliosis may involve deformity of the rib cage, spine and hips. The bent appearance may form into an exaggerated C or S shape. In severe cases, the curvature of the body can cause respiratory problems because the individual cannot breathe properly. An early death could result from heart and respiratory failure in severe cases of scoliosis which aren’t treated.
In some children and adults, scoliosis is obvious and in others the curvature may be very slight. The amount of curvature needs to be measured with a scoliometer. The doctor will order tests to rule out any underlying disease or condition which could attribute to the deformity. X-rays and scans may be done to visualize the curved part of the body.
After tests to determine the severity of scoliosis, the doctor and the patient or the patient’s parents can determine the best way to treat it. In most cases a brace can be worn to help correct the curvature. A physical therapist will likely be on the case to plan and execute the exercise routines to best facilitate correction of the spine, rib cage and/or hips.
If the curvature is severe, surgery may be necessary. Once healed, physical therapy may be necessary to teach the child/adult how to walk normally. For years the individual stands and walks in a way to accommodate the curvature. When that abnormal curvature is fixed, the individual will need to learn how to walk erect with a spine that is anatomically correct. It can take a lot of getting used to, to learn how to walk normally.