Scoliosis is defined as an abnormal curvature of the spine, of more than 10 degrees, causing the body to twist and suffer from strain. The curvature can cause pressure on the organs of the chest and abdomen as they fit around the curves of the spine. The abnormal curvature of the spine can occur at any point, from the top of the spine to the bottom or lower spine. If left untreated, scoliosis can worsen and cause damage to your spine, chest, pelvis, heart, and lungs.
The most common regions affected are:
- The chest area (thoracic scoliosis)
- The lower back (lumbar scoliosis)
Two types of scoliosis:
- Non-structural (mobile) scoliosis. Often caused by a condition outside the spine, which disappears when that is corrected. For example, if one of your legs is longer than the other, the curvature in your spine will disappear when you sit down.
- Structural (true) scoliosis: A fixed curvature in your spine. Usually the underlying cause of structural scoliosis can’t be treated.
Common symptoms scoliosis may include:
- Rotation of the bones in the spine, making it look as your waist or shoulders are uneven.
- One or both shoulder blades may stick out.
- One hip looking higher than the other
- You may lean to one side
- Spine curves to one side
- Tired feeling in the spine after sitting or standing for a long time.
- Backache or low-back pain.
Before Burak Ozgur, MD can diagnose your condition and design a treatment plan, a complete history and physical exam are necessary. A diagnosis is based on a medical history and a physical examination, as well as the symptoms and the circumstances where the pain started. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan) can show damage to discs, but it alone cannot confirm degenerative disc disease.
The goal of treatment for scoliosis is to prevent the spinal curve from getting worse and to correct or stabilize a severe spinal curve. Fortunately, few people who have scolios require treatment. The type of treatment depends on the cause of scoliosis. Scoliosis that is caused by another condition (nonstructural scoliosis) usually improves when the condition, such as muscle spasms or a difference in leg length, is treated. Scoliosis that is caused by a disease or by an unknown factor (structural scoliosis) is more likely than nonstructural scoliosis to need treatment.
This includes either routine exams by a doctor to check for any curve progression or the use of a brace to stop a spinal curve from getting worse. Children typically have these checkups about every 4 to 6 months. Adults are usually checked about once each year.
Surgery can be used to insert implants to hold the spine in place or fuse the spine together so that the curve does not worsen. Treatment is based on the age of the person and skeletal age (determined by the Risser sign), the extent of the curve (as measured using X-rays of the spine), and the risk of progression.
Burak Ozgur, MD treats scoliosis with minimally invasive, outpatient surgical procedures that are designed to help you find relief from pain. Learn more about our minimally invasive procedures or request an appointment for consultation by calling (949) 383-4190 or toll free 888-64-SPINE or Contact Us ➲.