Before you get into the details of non-operative treatment for scoliosis and the surgical options for this condition, it’s best to touch briefly on just what it is. The dictionary definition: abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. This sideways curvature often occurs during a child’s growth spurt before they reach puberty. The condition may have specific causes, such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy, but the cause of most scoliosis remains unknown.
What Is the Natural History of Scoliosis?
To further understand this serious medical condition, consider a detailed definition provided by the Scoliosis Research Society and the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
“Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is defined by the Scoliosis Research Society as scoliosis whose onset occurs after ten years of age and whose cause is essentially unknown. It is a relatively common condition among adolescents.”
Many studies and journal articles by medical professionals state that there can be long-term complications if scoliosis is left untreated. During a study involving a 38-year follow up of 130 patients with untreated scoliosis, about 38% were disabled due to their deformity, with a significant amount of constant backache and cardiopulmonary symptoms.
What Types of Non-Operative Treatments Are There for Scoliosis?
Medical professionals, like the experts at The Spine Center, will consider several factors when they determine how best to treat scoliosis. The list includes:
- Patient age
- Sex of patient
- Curvature degree and location
- Puberty status
- Curve progression
- Family factors
- Underlying cause
Non-operative options include bracing, postural training, and the Schroth Method. The latter includes specific therapeutic procedures designed to help decrease spine rotation. Breathing techniques may also be incorporated during attempted correction, along with pelvic corrections that help elongate the spine.
When Do You Operate for Scoliosis?
Scoliosis detected early, during childhood, can generally be managed with non-surgical techniques, such as bracing and physical therapy. When the condition is severe, however, it may be necessary to prevent or correct deformity, and reduce pain, with surgery.
Many specialists in this field recommend using surgery as a last resort. Working closely with a specialist is strongly urged. Children should be assessed at an early age, especially when there’s a family history of scoliosis.
What Types of Surgery Are Available for Scoliosis?
The most common surgical treatment for scoliosis is spinal fusion, designed to stabilize the back and provide support. The method also helps protect nerves from compression, thus reducing discomfort and pain.
If you believe you or your child may have scoliosis, contact The Spine Center for a consultation. You are also urged to contact these experts if you’ve been diagnosed and are interested in minimally invasive treatment of scoliosis.