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Conditions

Scoliosis

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine to one side, often in an S-shape. Although the bend can occur anywhere on the spine, it is most common in the chest area or the lower part of the back. These are known as thoracic scoliosis and lumbar scoliosis respectively. Scoliosis is more common in girls than boys and only affects 3 or 4 out of every 1000 children.

Symptoms of scoliosis can include one shoulder blade being higher or more prominent than the other, one hip being more prominent, or the child leaning to one side. In babies, characteristics differ slightly, with telling signs being a bulge on one side of the chest or back or the baby always lying curved to one side. As scoliosis does not usually cause pain and develops gradually, it may be hard to notice.

In 80% of scoliosis cases, the cause is unknown, although it is thought there may be a genetic link to the condition. Other cases have been associated with neuromuscular conditions that affect nerves and muscles, such as cerebral palsy. If children are unable to walk properly, for example, their spine may not develop normally. It is rare for scoliosis to be present at birth, however when it is this is due to abnormal development of bones in the womb, and known as congenital scoliosis.

X-rays are necessary to confirm diagnosis of scoliosis, which also help determine the shape of the curve. Treatment depends very much on the individual and ranges from observation to casting, bracing and surgery. If scoliosis is diagnosed early, a plaster of Paris cast may be worn to initially guide the spine to a normal position. Bracing is necessary when a curve is more than 20 degrees and is a prevention method rather than a corrective procedure. A brace must be worn for 23 hours a day for as long as a child keeps growing. If a spine has a severe curve of more than 50 degrees, specialist surgery may be required. This will help prevent damage to other organs such as the heart and lungs and can reduce back pain and abnormal development. It is a major and complex procedure involving metal hooks and rods to straighten the spine before it is fused into place with bone grafts. If a child undergoes surgery, they will need to have the rods lengthened every six months as they grow.

If scoliosis is left unobserved or untreated, complications can arise such as kyphosis, which results in a hunched back, or heart and lung problems stemming from pressure exerted by the rib cage.

Watch the Live from the Clinic interactive case video on kyphosis >

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I'm 19 years old and was diagnosed with scoliosis, I have an S shaped spine and nerve twitches and problems with my shoulder, I'm on constant pain and feel miserable, waiting for the consultation and my spine is a 40 degree angle, I also have a tilted pelvis which is causing me and by boyfriend tonnes of problems yet the doctors and consultants don't want to know about, please can someone let me know if this is normal and what I should do because I'm miserable and in so much pain I'm cutting down work hours, thank you :)





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Hi I am 33 From Ontario I am not the average case with Scoliosis My curve consists of a total "S" I have Cerebral Palsy I was born with it I am in a wheelchair With that being said there is the basic questions to ask of course regarding the fusion surgery However seeing as I am a complex case I feel as though i need in depth questions to ask my surgeon He specializes in spinal deformities My appointment with my surgeon is tomorrow (Monday April 18th 2016) Not sure of in depth questions to ask regarding the fusion surgery Therefore Help would be greatly appreciated!!!! Thank you!





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Hello i'm a 19 years old girl and i have been diagnosed with scoliosis and kyphosis. I've consulted 3 doctors and i've gotten different results. 2 of them say that i can't straighten it because i'm too old and i've stoped growing but they said it wasn't a big curve so it wouldn't be a problem. They recomanded for me to get a back brace but it wont be that effective, it will just stop the curve from getting worse. I don't have pain or anything that's why i didn't notice until it was too late. One of the doctors told me that i definitely need the back brace but the best option would be surgery which most be done abroad, because they don't do it in my country. I don't know what to do, i don't want to have to keep a brace for 3 years or more 24/7 and then be told that it didn't help at all. But i'm also scared about the surgery, i've never had one before i've actually been quite a healthy child. And i'm especially not sure about surgery because i will need to do it in another country and i'm sure it will cost too much, i read about some people who didn't get better after surgery or they got worse and i'm not sure about going to all this trouble for nothing. Could there be another way? What do you suggest?





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Hi, I use a corset to treat my scoliosis which could help your kyphosis too. I have a steel boned over bust corset which is uncomfortable in a way but also makes me have much better posture and reduces the hump from scoliosis while also reducing the pain directly related to my back. I posted the comment above about it. It's something to try that has helped me. Of course it's a temporary fix but it kind of teaches my body to be straight after awhile.

I have s bend of the spine it is cause me so much pain I am 20 and I what it fixsed can't deal with the pain any long please help me





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I have a severe deformed back its a very pronounce hump on my back I'm 51 and ten years ago I had a heart attack I also am so concise of my back I'm starting to not want to go out and hide away is ther any thing that can be done to help





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I have scoliosis of 42%+ diagnosed age 23 and am now 59. Have had some pain and sciatica over the years at times but generally reasonably fit and active. It seems to be giving me more trouble lately and pain from lower right rib(that is the side which sticks out) and I am very worried about the numbness and pain in my right leg.sometimes the right leg partially gives way. Then it is fine again. Seems random. My GP does not take it seriously as I appear well. Is there anything I can do to stabilise the scoliosis as I am very worried about the leg tingling etc. And what this means for the future. Thank you.





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I had spinal fusion when I was 17,I am now 45 but it didn't go to plan,I am now getting rib and chest pain and breathlessness





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I also had spinal fusion at 18 years old, and at age 61, I experienced the same symptoms, as you. I then went to the finest scoliosis surgeon on the West Coast, in the United States. He reconstructed my spine, to a healthier status, with titanium steel, and another fusion, using my original bony material. Hope this helps.

I have a thoracic scoliosis detected on a recent chest X-ray .i am under investigation for chest pain since July 2014.i have had all usual tests one thought is micro vascular angina and another is due to the scoliosis?any thoughts please of help would be appreciated on either condition thankyou





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Hi im 18,im having scoliosis.will surgery can be done at my age?will it be successful?which doctor will be best in india.





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Hi I'm 27 , iv got double scoliosis so twist lover spine & upper spine tho my head as pelvis are in the correct area they have said due to the severity of the twist they will not operate. My last mri last yr showed two discs together in middle of spine meaning I have no sponge left & it's an age of a 70 yr old. I'm in pain all day every day , from severe chest pain like some of you described as heart attack feeling too my legs just going from under me ! Really wish I could find someone to operate on me and help me out a bit ! Ashley





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I'm 53, have scoliosis and kyphosis which has become a lot more noticeable in the last few years, with my left shoulder much higher and bulkier, but my main problem is pain. I started to have excruciating pain in my chest about 15 years ago, which came on quite fast and lower back pain that started years later than my chest pain. I was given strong opiates for my chest pain, which I became dependant on, went to a detox clinic and basically started again so the painkillers work again. My pain specialist basically told me that scoliosis doesn't cause severe pain and strongly implied that I was faking it! I felt one inch tall. I got another pain doctor but he's told me he will never increase my pain meds, so what do I do when they stop working or lasting the 12hrs like before? I've become seriously depressed and anxious. I don't actually know what is causing my chest pain, lots of doctors have implied I'm imagining it but without painkillers I'm in total agony. Where do I turn? Susie


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