Your spine has a natural S-shape when viewed from the side, while from the front it follows a straight line. Scoliosis describes the condition where there’s also side-to-side curvature. While mild cases may not cause problems, scoliosis can get worse, so monitoring by spinal health experts such as the team of The Spine Center of Baton Rouge, located in Baton Rouge, Walker, and Prairieville, Louisiana, keeps your back in the best shape possible. Call or schedule an appointment online.

Scoliosis Q & A

What is scoliosis and how is it caused?

Scoliosis can occur because of conditions such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, but it’s most often seen during the growth spurts before puberty. The reason why it affects some children rather than others is unknown. Usually, scoliosis is minor and corrects itself as the child grows, but there are times when it gets worse and severe deformities develop. When this happens, complications may occur, such as breathing issues as the space for the lungs is compromised.

Scoliosis tends to run in families, and in rare cases, it may occur due to birth defects that affect bone development, injuries to, or infections of the spine. Boys and girls develop mild scoliosis at about the same rate, but girls have a higher risk of the condition becoming more serious.

How is scoliosis diagnosed?

In the case of preadolescent scoliosis, sports teammates, friends, or teachers may first notice the changes to body shape that indicate the condition. These signs include:

  • One shoulder blade becomes prominent
  • The shoulders are uneven, with one lower than the other
  • The waist and hips appear uneven

Mild scoliosis doesn’t usually cause pain, so if your child has some of the warning signs but no discomfort, you should still contact The Spine Center of Baton Rouge to get the opinion of an experienced back specialist. Your caregiver will examine your child’s body and perform neurological checks for abnormal reflexes, numbness, or weakness. Further diagnostic imaging may be necessary to confirm diagnosis.

How is scoliosis treated?

Treatment depends on the individual case, since severity varies widely. For instance, a single curve in a C-shape is generally less likely to get worse when compared with complex S-curves. Non-surgical treatment usually involves a custom-made brace that’s worn day and night. While this doesn’t cure or correct curves due to scoliosis, it will prevent further curvature.

Severe scoliosis may require surgery if it progresses to the point where other body systems are affected. Spinal fusion is the most common approach, fixing the relationship of two or more vertebrae and preventing these from curving.

When scoliosis becomes worse in a young patient, another treatment uses an adjustable-length rod that can be changed as the child grows.