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What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Scoliosis?

March 21, 2020
Dr. G. Balamurali

Scoliosis: Causes and symptoms

Scoliosis is a bone deforming disease that misshapes the spine to an angle of 10 degrees or more. Doctors make use of letters “C” or “S” to describe these spine curves. Though Scoliosis is a condition that does not cause significant physiological implications, it can severely affect the movement and respiratory health in individuals. Studies reveal that about 80 percent of Scoliosis cases do not exhibit any significant causes, and these are ideally termed as “idiopathic” by the doctors. Genetics and family history are considered as the significant risk factor for idiopathic Scoliosis, and the children who fall under these categories must be necessarily screened for Scoliosis regularly. You can search for the best spine surgeon in Chennai, India to get the right guidance about Scoliosis screening procedures.

Types of Scoliosis and Causes

Scoliosis curves are divided into two types, namely: Structural and non-structural.

Structural Scoliosis

Structural Scoliosis is a condition that is either caused as a secondary symptom to major diseases or due to congenital disabilities. Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, congenital disabilities, infections, tumors, and genetic conditions like Marfan syndrome or Down syndrome are the leading causes of structural Scoliosis. Scoliosis caused by these factors can make the curve of the spine too rigid and eliminates the slightest chances of reversal. The congenital Scoliosis is a defect that occurs in the baby’s back and develops before birth. The flaws in the tiny bones in the baby’s back or vertebrae can cause curves in the spine which do not develop properly or fail to divide. In most cases, doctors diagnose the defect when the child is born, whereas in some unfortunate cases, the problem is identified only when the child reaches puberty. Scoliosis is detected in the children when they reach their teens, mostly during their growth spurts. Adults may also show Scoliosis at a later stage in life, which is also known as degenerative Scoliosis. Degenerative Scoliosis is the result of wearing down of disks or joints in the spine as the body ages.

Non-Structural Scoliosis

People with non-structural scoliosis spines would work perfectly fine, though the shape may look curved. Muscle spasms, unequal leg lengths, and appendicitis inflammations are the significant causes of non-structural Scoliosis. Scoliosis defects are healed once these problems are adequately treated. Indeed, Scoliosis cannot be prevented, but a thorough probability diagnosis is recommended for those who have a family history of Scoliosis. It is also equally important to understand that a heavy backpack or poor posture does not cause Scoliosis.

Scoliosis symptoms in Children and adults

Symptoms in children

Symptoms of Scoliosis vary immensely for each kid. Many children show only negligible signs, while some others show the following.

  • Shoulders are of varying lengths
  • Head is not aligned with the rest of the body
  • One hip protrudes out or is higher than the other
  • Ribs protrude out.
  • Arms do not stretch straight while standing
  • Both the sides of the back would be of uneven heights when the child bends forward.

Symptoms in adults

Adults may show many other signs apart from protruding shoulders or hips. They are: Numbness, weakness or acute pain in legs

  • The hunch in the back
  • Trouble in walking and standing straight
  • Constant feeling of tiredness and shortness of breath
  • Loss of bone and bone spurs
  • The feeling of a full stomach

Awareness of Scoliosis is a bit less in our society. Routine awareness campaigns by experts such as HAMSA rehab’s visit to schools can boost the awareness levels about Scoliosis to a great extent.

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Internationally trained Spinal Neurosurgeon with 24 years of surgical experience, from UK. Extensively trained in all niche aspects of spinal surgery as part of 3-year fellowship in the UK (Liverpool & Nottingham), USA (San Francisco & Chicago) and Switzerland (Zurich). Senior Spine and Neurosurgeon in India since 2011.
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About Dr. G. Balamurali
Head of Spine Surgery
Consultant Spine and Neurosurgeon
MBBS, MRCS (Ed), MD (UK), FRCS (Surgical Neurology)
Fellow in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery - UK, USA, Switzerland
Fellow in Complex Spine Surgery – UK, Switzerland
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Dr. G. Balamurali
Dr. G. Balamurali is one of the leading spine surgeons in Chennai, India. He is internationally trained in all niche aspects of Spine Surgery. He has over 26 years of surgical experience in this field.
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