What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine in the lateral plan, and it can vary from mild to severe. Although it can affect multiple areas of the spine, in this article we will be discussing scoliosis that affects the lower, or lumbar, part of the spine.
It must be mentioned that although lumbar scoliosis is often associated with lordosis – which is another type of abnormal spinal curvature – they are not the same thing. Scoliosis is abnormal sideways curvature of the spinal column, whereas lordosis causes an exaggerated inward spinal curvature in the lumbar region.
Although there are over 80 types of scoliosis curves that can be identified, there are 4 main categories of scoliosis that you should be aware of. They have been categorised based parts of the spine that they affect:
- Lumbar scoliosis, that affects the lower section of the back
- Thoracic scoliosis, that affects the middle of the back, or the thoracic spine as it is also known
- Thoracolumbar scoliosis, which affects both the lumbar and thoracic sections
- Combined scoliosis, which presents a more complex spinal curve deformity
In this short essay we will be focusing on the type of scoliosis that affects the lumbar spine.
Lumbar scoliosis symptoms include:
- Back pain in the lower or lumbar region of the spine
- Leg pain
- Visible deformity of the spinal column
- Lateral leaning of the upper body towards one side or the other
- Uneven shoulder heights, with a visible tilting towards one side
In a large number of cases, scoliosis doesn’t have a known cause. This is known as idiopathic scoliosis.
There are, however, some factors that can contribute to the onset of scoliosis. These are:
- Certain neuromuscular disorders
- The wear and tear effect on the spine, which can lead to degenerative scoliosis
- Genetics, which can make you more prone to developing this spinal condition
If left untreated for too long, scoliosis can cause complications. Some of these include developing other spinal conditions such as:
- Spinal stenosis
- Nerve root compression
- Other spinal cord disorders
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you think you or one of your family members might have scoliosis, it is best to consult a medical professional who can help you diagnose your condition correctly. The clinician will start by performing a physical examination to determine if there is any abnormality of the spine present. If he/she considers that there are causes for concern, you may be referred to have further tests to rule out other possible conditions and to accurately determine the severity of your back problem.
After receiving your diagnosis, depending on the severity of your condition, one of the following treatment options might be suggested to you.
In mild cases, where the abnormal curvature of the spine is between 10 to 20 degrees, scoliosis is usually harmless and causes no symptoms. However, it should still be treated in order to prevent it from evolving. The first course of action in this scenario is to engage in physical therapy. Spinal decompression and exercises that focus on correcting the scoliosis curve should be the main focus here.
You can also use a medical device, such as the Spinal Backrack to enhance the effectiveness of your physical therapy treatment.
Spinal Backrack Technology
The Backrack is a medical device created to help people treat their back pain at home. It comes from the medical experts at Harley Street with years of experience under their belt. This therapeutic device is MDA approved and it is being used by Chiropractors and Physiopractors to help their patients with back pain.
Because more moderate and severe cases may cause additional symptoms, including back pain to various degrees, pain relief becomes one of the main priorities. Physiotherapy might still be effective to some degree in this case. Abnormal curvatures of up to 40 degrees can be treated without surgery.
However, for really severe cases where the abnormal curvature of the spine is over 40 degrees, surgery is considered to be the main option. In order to fix severe lumbar scoliosis through surgery, a process called spinal fusion will be carried out. It is a surgical procedure similar to wielding, where sets of bones are held together by metal rods to allow the bones to fuse together and alter their shape to the desired one.
Needless to say, surgery comes with various side effects. That’s why, if possible, it is always best to try and diagnose scoliosis early on, in order to prevent it from evolving and aggravating.