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By Megan Johnson McCullough
Special to the Village News 

Healthy Habits for Bonsall & Fallbrook Folks

Scoliosis: C or S shaped spine

 

Last updated 8/12/2019 at 11:54pm

Kathy Magerkurth photo

Keeping one's back and posture at their best is needed to help live pain free.

The human spine runs straight up and down the back. When a person has a curve to the side of their spine, they may have scoliosis. The shape is described as the letter "C" or "S." This curve can range between small or large, but the key is that anything that measures 10 degrees or more is diagnosed as scoliosis.

The backbone isn't visible for us to clearly see that a person has this condition, but a person with scoliosis usually leans to the side or may have one shoulder more elevated than the other. The hips might also look uneven.

The exact cause of scoliosis can remain unknown for some people. However, there are two known causes for other people. The first is referred to as nonstructural scoliosis in which the spine functions normally but has a curved appearance. This could be due to muscle spasms, one leg being longer than the other, or even appendicitis. This type of scoliosis normally goes away over time.

The other type, called structural scoliosis, does not go away on its own. The curve of the spine is more rigid. This type of scoliosis could be caused by infections, tumors, muscular dystrophy, genetic conditions, or cerebral palsy.

Another cause could be congenital scoliosis in which the back of a baby develops this way even before birth. The tiny bones of the back develop this way. This might not be detectable until teenage years.

Scoliosis typically makes itself known for children between the ages of 10 and 15 who have had a growth spurt. Even though both genders can have this condition, girls typically have complications that need to be addressed.

The greater the angle of the curve, the more likely this will increase over time. Family history is usually an indication of this. Adulthood might require having the back examined regularly. Some adults also experience degenerative scoliosis in which the joints and discs of the spine start to really wear down.

Contrary to popular belief, carrying heavy weight on the back (like a backpack) won't cause scoliosis. Poor posture will also not cause this. On a scientific level, there are different descriptions for the spine's shape which include:

● Kyphoscoliosis: outward and lateral spine curvature

● Dextroscoliosis: curvature to the right

● Rotoscoliosis (rotatory): vertebral column turned on its axis

● Levoconvex: curvature to the left

● Thoracolumbar: curvature near the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spine

If necessary, a primary physician who detects scoliosis, may refer the patient to an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon who specializes in spine surgery. An occupational therapist can also help. Sometimes wearing a brace or putting inserts in the shoes can help.

Surgery can also be performed to correct the curve of the spine. This can involve screws, rods, and hooks. Each case is different as each curve varies in size and shape. We all want to stand up tall and proud, so keeping the back and posture at their best is important and needed to help live pain free.

Megan Johnson McCullough holds a master's degree in physical education and health science, is a candidate for her doctorate, is a professional natural bodybuilder and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine master trainer.

 

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