WHAT IS SCOLIOSIS?
Scoliosis is a lateral (toward the side) curvature in the normally straight vertical line of the Spine. When viewed from the side, the spine should show a mild roundness in the upper back and a degree of swayback (inward curvature) in the lower back. When a person with a normal spine is viewed from the front or back, the spine appears to be straight. When a person with scoliosis is viewed from the front or back, the spine appears to be curved.
The causes for 80 to 85% of all scoliosis cases are usually unknown. Boys and girls are equally affected by small curves, but girls are eight times more likely to develop progressive curves. According to recent research, about one in three children whose parents have scoliosis will develop scoliosis. Scoliosis is considered a partially genetic condition; however, exactly which genes cause scoliosis is inconclusive.
Parents should understand that the following factors are not associated with the condition:
- Carrying school bags
- Bad posture
- Unequal leg length
- Back injury
- Playing musical instruments
- Sports activities
For moderate curves in growing children, brace treatment is recommended. Braces will not completely eliminate scoliosis. However, a well-fitted and diligently worn corrective brace can significantly slow or prevent curve progression.
For the very small number of children with severe curves, internal fixation is applied to the spine to correct the curve within the limits of safety. Nowadays, surgery for scoliosis has been made very safe by major advances in surgical techniques.
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