The normal human spine has curves at the top, in the middle, and at the bottom in what experts call the “sagittal plane.” That means the curves are from front to back or back to front. When your spine curves to one side, the curve is said to be in the “coronal plane,” and you have scoliosis.
Our experts at Dr. Louis Keppler & Associates have worked with numerous patients who have scoliosis. We’re experts in diagnosing, monitoring, and treating scoliosis. In this post, we talk about the types of scoliosis and the treatments that are available.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 6-9 million people in the United States have scoliosis. Most of the time, scoliosis occurs between the ages of 10 and 15 years old, and both boys and girls are equally likely to have it. However, girls are eight times more likely to require treatment.
Scoliosis is divided into three types, and each requires a different treatment approach.
This type of scoliosis happens before you’re born due to an embryological malformation of one or more vertebrae. Where the malformed vertebrae are located and the way that they’re malformed determines how quickly the scoliosis progresses.
Since congenital scoliosis is present when you’re born, it’s usually diagnosed at a younger age than other forms of the condition.
If you have a neurological or muscular disease, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or several others, you may also have scoliosis. In these cases, scoliosis is considered a secondary condition. It may progress more quickly than other forms and often requires surgery.
This is easily the most common type of scoliosis, making up around 80% of all cases. When there’s no apparent cause of your scoliosis, it’s called idiopathic scoliosis.
Most of the time, idiopathic scoliosis is diagnosed during adolescence, and usually the first step is to monitor the curve. If it doesn’t progress, you may not need any additional treatment.
Depending on the severity of the curve and its progression, your doctor may recommend bracing. Bracing works best in patients who are still growing. When patients wear the brace as directed, bracing can stop the curve from progressing in about 80% of cases.
In more severe cases, surgical intervention may be the best option. Surgery is generally only recommended when the curve is more than 40 degrees and continuing to progress.
Scoliosis in adults
There are three categories of people who have scoliosis as an adult:
- People who underwent surgery for scoliosis as adolescents
- People who had scoliosis as adolescents but never received treatment
- People who have a condition called degenerative scoliosis
Degenerative scoliosis is associated with aging, and it’s often accompanied by spinal stenosis or a narrowing of your spinal canal. The curvature of the spine caused by degenerative scoliosis is usually mild.
If you’ve been diagnosed with scoliosis, or you suspect that you may have it, schedule an appointment with one of our experts at Dr. Louis Keppler & Associates. Call our office in Independence, Ohio, to speak with our friendly staff.