Postural deformities are not only painful but also have strong effects on our physical health. Spinal deformities affect the digestion and are known to be difficult to cure as well. A person with postural deformity often experiences lack of confidence and difficulty in doing normal tasks with efficiency. All the above reasons make it important that we take care of our posture. We must be mindful of the way we sit, stand and even lie down. However, there can be many reasons for a postural deformity. Scoliosis is one such deformity.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a postural deformity which takes place when the spine tends to curve sidewards forming an S or C like shape. This postural deformity often occurs when in the young age or the teenage years. There are mainly four types of scoliosis-
- Idiopathic scoliosis
- Congenital Scoliosis
- Neuromuscular scoliosis
- Degenerative Scoliosis
There can be many causes for this problem to occur. However some of the main reasons why Scoliosis happens is because of consistently maintaining a bad posture, palsy, tumors and infections, underdeveloped bones and it can be hereditary too. In extreme conditions, scoliosis can be very fatal. When a person has extremely large postural deformity, it can damage the organs like heart and lungs. It is often seen that people with extremely twisted spines can experience problems like-
- Chronic back pain and muscle pain
- Appearance deformities like uneven shoulders and hips, dislocated waist etc.
- Breathing problems due to lung damage
- Difficulty in pumping the blood
Scoliosis can not only be painful but harmful to the other body organs. It can be easily diagnosed. Now that we know about the causes and effects let us understand the diagnosis too.
How is scoliosis diagnosed?
It is very easy to spot someone who has scoliosis. If any of the symptoms mentioned below tend to show up then you can expect that the patient might have this postural deformity. The general symptoms of scoliosis are as follows:
- A person with scoliosis will have an uneven waist.
- One hip will be raised
- It will be easy to spot uneven shoulders
- One shoulder blade will be sharper than the other
- The person may lean to one side.
- The clothes will hang unevenly.
- The legs may be slightly different length when examined carefully.
The physical appearance of a person with scoliosis changes due to the shape of the spine. This condition is extremely painful but can be treated and hence cured.
How can scoliosis be treated?
Scoliosis once diagnosed, can be cured with medicines and exercise. Mild scoliosis goes way with time and it does not require any treatment however if the scoliosis is growing then the patient must consult a doctor and take the necessary treatment. There are certain precautions that the patient must take so as to control this deformity. There are different types of scoliosis and these types have different treatments as well. You must see a doctor if there seems a slight curve or change in the posture. The patient must immediately visit a doctor if the postural deformity causes pain and troubles in carrying the day today tasks.
There are several ways to treat scoliosis-
- Spinal Fusion Surgery: Children or adults with a spinal deformity of more that 30 degrees cannot be cured with the help of bracing. In such a case where the spine is bent highly, causes pain and even hinders breathing, there could be no better option than a surgery. Doctors often recommend surgery to their patients with higher degrees of curves. Spinal fusion limits the movement of the spine due to which the pain is being caused and also stops the curve from growing and getting worse. Spinal fusion as the name suggests, aims at fusing two or more vertebrae together to form a stronger and healthier bone. This surgery helps to cure pain and restores stability and good posture too. The scoliosis spine surgery cost in India is comparatively cheap. This makes it an excellent place for medical tourists to get treated.
Braces: Bracing is the best option for those patients whose bones are still growing. If a person has scoliosis and their bones are still growing then it is advised for them to use braces as they prevent further curving of the spine. Bracing is advisable because it gives shape to the spine. This brace should be worn by the patient all times of the day and even while sleeping. Most of the physical activities can be carried out with the braces on. However if the patient wants, they can remove the braces for several physical activities as well. Bracing prevents the further curving of the body and once the bones stop growing, the braces can be removed.
Casting: Scoliosis is very common in teenagers and infants. In cases where the patient is newly born, the doctor uses casting to prevent further curving of the spine. In casting, a plaster like structure is used instead of bracing to support the infant’s spine. Casting gives the spine a structure and helps it grow in a particular position. The cast is changed regularly until the spine stops curving more. Once the spine starts to grow in the right position, the cast can be removed as well.
Spine and rib based operation: In this operation, the spine is provided with support with the help of rods. Two rods are stuck on either side of the spine to straighten it without damaging the tissues or skin around it. After this operation, the curve can be corrected to about 50%. It is one of the most sure shot ways by which scoliosis can be treated. These rods are removed every six months to avoid infection. Once the spine growth completes, the rods are removed permanently.
While there are different types of scoliosis, the cost of treatments also varies. Simple scoliosis problems can be treated without any surgery. For example the adolescent idiopathic scoliosis treatment cost in India is very nominal and it can be cured with least complications.