Scoliosis is the lateral curvature of the spine, which may be on the left or right side. It can range from mild scoliosis (which doesn’t require treatment) to severe scoliosis prompting more aggressive treatments like bracing and even surgery. In scoliosis, all the levels of the spine may be affected, but the most common sites are the lower (lumbar region) and mid portion of the vertebrae (thoracic). The cervical spine located in the neck area rarely suffers from scoliosis because of the innate characteristics of the area, so an in-person visit with your local Lutz chiropractor can provide deeper answers.
Scoliosis may develop due to a variety of causes, but a study revealed that up to 80% is idiopathic, which means that there is no known cause. Idiopathic scoliosis may be caused by an interplay of various factors, which becomes unclear on what is the direct cause of the condition. Most individuals with no other clear cause of scoliosis suffer from the idiopathic type. Another possible cause of scoliosis is neuromuscular conditions. These include complaints relating to the nerves and muscles such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy leading to the weak muscles unable to support the spine subsequently causing the lateral bending of the vertebrae. Scoliosis from neuromuscular conditions tends to be more severe than idiopathic scoliosis and as much as 20% of scoliosis cases are neuromuscular in nature.
Aside from these two major classifications of scoliosis, there are other types that are caused by congenital conditions or scoliosis present at birth. Congenital scoliosis develops because of the failure of the spine to develop normally during intrauterine development. This is a rare cause of scoliosis and could have a significant impact on the child’s life. Leg length may also play a role on the development of scoliosis. When one leg is longer than the other, scoliosis may possibly develop. Furthermore, carrying heavy loads on one side of the shoulder, poor posture as well as inappropriate implementation of exercises may also cause scoliosis. Heavy loads on one shoulder may pull one side of the body downwards pulling the underlying spine as well contributing to the bending of the vertebrae sideways. When exercises, especially weight lifting, are done inappropriately, they may strain the spine leading to weakening of the connective tissues.
Aside from these, there are certain risk factors that may predispose a person to develop scoliosis. These include:
• Age- Individuals in the pre-pubertal stage are more at risk to developing scoliosis.
• Genetics- The presence of scoliosis in a family may predispose other family members for developing scoliosis. This is more evident among twins.
• Gender- Males and females have equal chances of developing scoliosis, but females have the higher risk for worsening condition.
By knowing the possible causes and risk factors to scoliosis, scoliosis becomes more preventable. Regardless of the cause of scoliosis, the degree of curvature should be noted to determine the appropriate treatment for the condition. Mild ones may only require observation and more severe ones require more aggressive treatments so the key to managing the spinal problem is determining the cause and the extent of scoliosis.