Scoliosis is the development of “C” or “S” shaped curves of the spine in addition to its normal curvature. It can occur at any age, but scoliosis most commonly occurs after age ten, and twice as many girls than boys develop the condition. Scoliosis is often hereditary, but it can also occur randomly in families.
According to spinal specialists and board-certified spine surgeons in Los Angeles, treatments for the ailment vary according to the severity of the curve and its potential to worsen. Treatments for scoliosis can include but are not limited to:
In cases of adolescent onset scoliosis with a curve of less than 25 degrees, periodic x-rays are taken to monitor the progression of the condition. The patient visits the doctor every three or four months, and if the curve remains less than 25 degrees until the child has finished growing, no additional intervention is needed.
Bracing is the most common mode of treatment for adolescents with scoliosis when the curve is larger than 25 degrees. Braces are designed to stabilize the curve until the patient has finished growing. The length of wear depends on the individual, and some patients only need to use the brace at night, while others must wear it 24-hours per day except for showering.
Patients suffering from degenerative scoliosis exhibit pain and decreased mobility. Physical therapy and exercises often work best for these individuals, but spinal surgery (as discussed below) may be a better option if the patient doesn’t respond well to treatment.
Surgery is often indicated for patients who have a curve of greater than 40 degrees. Curves at this stage commonly worsen by one to two degrees per year of an individual’s life, and if allowed to progress, the heart and lungs may be affected. During surgery, the physician moves the spine to as normal a position as possible and then performs a spinal fusion procedure. Rods are inserted and attached to the spine with screws and hooks, which provide an excellent stabilization of the spinal column.
The Center for Spinal Restoration in Santa Monica, CA has a team of experienced interventionalists and world-class surgeons who can help you determine the best course of action if you are currently living with scoliosis. Reach out to our team of spinal specialists today by calling (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation.