Scoliosis is a result of the spine being curved to the left or right in an S- or C-shape. The position of scoliosis can be located in the thoracic or lumbar sections of the spine or both simultaneously.
Majority of patients are adolescents and the rate of deterioration in girls tends to be higher than boys. More than 80% of scoliosis cases are of unknown cause.
Patients with scoliosis are divided into mild, moderate and severe levels. Most patients are categorised as mild to moderate, while a few severe cases of scoliosis may result in deformities of the sternum (breastbone) that affects the cardiopulmonary (which is related to the heart and lungs) function.
To determine the severity of scoliosis, the doctor will measure and assess the angle of scoliosis curve (Cobb's angle) from x-rays of the spine as follows:Above 10 degrees: Diagnosis confirmed10-20 degrees: Mild scoliosis20-40 degrees: Moderate scoliosisAbove 40 degrees: Severe scoliosis
Early scoliosis does not cause discomfort or pain, so it is often unnoticed until a later period. The followings are the specific symptoms of scoliosis:
Unequal shoulder height, asymmetrical prominence of the shoulder blades (commonly known as scapular), uneven waist and titling of the hips;Leg length discrepancy;Constant leaning on one side when standing;A hump appears on the back when bending down.
In severe cases, patients may develop symptoms of back pain and dyspnea (shortness of breath).
In general, the doctor will customize treatment for patients according to the angles of scoliosis. Patients with the degree below 20 only need regular conservative chiropractic treatment for follow-up observation of the condition. Patients with the degree between 20 to 40 will need to wear a scoliosis brace. While patients with the degree higher than 40 are advised to undergo surgical treatment.
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