Scoliosis is common in children and teenagers but can also affect adults. In adults, it either occurs when a pre-existing curve progresses or is caused by osteoporosis or the spine’s degenerative changes. Scoliosis Las Vegas is characterized by lateral or sideways curvature in one or more areas of your spine. Common scoliosis signs include a shoulder blade sticking out more, back pain, difficulty breathing, rotating spine, and uneven hips and shoulders.
Scoliosis is prevalent in kids between 10 to 15 years. Even with no signs, screening is advisable, especially as they approach puberty. Before puberty, their growth bursts, a risk that accelerates scoliosis curvature. The diagnosis process includes considering the medical history, a physical exam, and imaging. Your doctor can also undertake a neurological test, looking out for:
- Muscle weakness, and
- Abnormal reflexes
Timely diagnosis allows the doctor to observe and/or start interventional treatment, preventing further development. Early diagnosis and treatment help avoid other health concerns. If unaddressed, the curvature can extend to severe levels, pressing the ribs into the lung and heart. The press can make breathing difficult and cause heart damage, among other health concerns.
The curvature can extend, causing physical appearance changes that dent your child’s confidence. The problem can also cause persistent back pain in adulthood. Moreover, you might need a more invasive treatment (surgery) if the curvature gets to 45 degrees or more.
When spotted early, your doctor may recommend observation following the extent of the curvature. Mild curves don’t need treatment, but regular checks are essential to establish if the situation is worsening with a child’s growth. When the child’s bones are still developing, moderate curves are treated using braces. Wearing a brace does not reverse or cure scoliosis. They prevent the curve from worsening.
Braces’ effectiveness increases with the time they are worn. Most wear between 23-15 hours a day and do not interfere with everyday activities. The braces are not restricted. They can also be removed when your child wants to participate in physical activities like sports. This is without affecting their scoliosis management effectiveness. When there are no further changes in your child’s height, the braces are discontinued.
If the curve is severe, surgery is the best treatment option. This is more so considering that severe cases usually progress with time. The surgery straightens the curve and helps prevent scoliosis from worsening. The common surgical scoliosis treatments include:
The treatment is used in cases of rapid scoliosis development at a young age. It entails the attachment of one/two expandable rods along the spine. They are adjusted as your child grows, either using a remote control or surgically, typically every 3-6 months.
Vertebral body tethering
The treatment involves the placement of screws along the edge of the abnormal curve. The screws are threaded using a strong and flexible cord. As the cord tightens, the spine straightens.
The procedure entails connecting two/more bones in the vertebrae together. This is while ensuring they can move independently. Bone/bone-like material is placed between the vertebrae. Screw, metal rods, wires, or hooks are used to hold the spine straight. The new bone/material fuses, straightening the curve.
Scoliosis can go undetected as your child grows independent, such as bathing or dressing. This is more so as it develops with less visible signs. Regular checkups are necessary at this stage, allowing timely diagnosis and treatment. Call McNulty Spine or schedule an appointment online for all your scoliosis and spine-related concerns.