Signs You May Have Scoliosis

Scoliosis, a condition marked by a sideways curvature of the spine, is most commonly diagnosed in children and teens, particularly when they’re at the point of entering puberty. It’s important, when a diagnosis is made, that a sound treatment plan is created, because the earlier you receive treatment, the better your outcome is likely to be.

Some patients have mild scoliosis, which typically requires regular provider check-ins to ensure that the curvature isn’t getting worse. But if you have severe scoliosis, it can interfere with your quality of life, and the solution is usually surgical. 

Dr. Benjamin Cohen has valuable experience in following and treating scoliosis patients of all ages whose conditions range from mild to severe. He brings needed compassion and expansive training to the table as he works with his patients living with scoliosis.  

Important facts about scoliosis

Scoliosis can manifest differently, and a true cause has yet to be found for the most commonly diagnosed type. It’s not unusual for a person with scoliosis to have the disorder run in their family, but some individuals who have a neuromuscular disease like cerebral palsy are diagnosed with a different type, appropriately named neuromuscular scoliosis. 

Developmental defects of the neural tube — which later becomes the spine, spinal cord, skull, and brain  — also put you at higher risk for developing the congenital type of scoliosis. 

Idiopathic scoliosis is the most prevalent and mysterious form of scoliosis, because its cause is simply not clear, unlike the other types. It’s often diagnosed when a child is in their final pre-puberty growth spurt or during puberty. About 80% of scoliosis diagnoses are idiopathic, affecting those in the 10-15 year-old age group. 

Girls who are diagnosed with mild scoliosis are more likely than boys to see it worsen as time goes on and need medical intervention. 

In addition, adults are diagnosed with degenerative scoliosis, which is caused by decades of spinal degeneration, including disc and spinal joint depletion. Arthritis and osteoporosis usually follow, unfortunately. 

The signs of scoliosis are obvious and subtle

The most visible scoliosis symptom is the hallmark spine curvature. If you look at someone’s back, their spine is usually a straight vertical line. When you have scoliosis, your spine is curved sideways in a “C” or an “S” shape. In the most severe case, your spine may even rotate or twist. 

Indications that you or your child has scoliosis include:

The overall “cockeyed” look of a scoliosis sufferer can even cause their head to look awkwardly positioned on their shoulders.

Adults who have scoliosis are often first made aware of it because their backs start to hurt. As spine curvature increases, pressure may cause numbness, weakness, and pain in both the back and legs, spinal bone spurs develop, and sufferers shrink in height.

Just standing straight can become difficult, and breathing becomes harder due to the spine’s awkward positioning in serious cases.

Though you’ll notice most of these symptoms quickly, if not immediately, some are more subtle. For example, your clothing may fit differently on each side of your body. Examine whether your hemline dips when wearing a dress or look to see if your neckline isn’t smooth and even. 

You may also simply feel tired after standing or sitting for extended periods, feel uncomfortable when carrying a purse or backpack, or notice uneven wear patterns on the soles of your shoes. All these less-obvious signs also point to scoliosis. 

Effective treatments exist for scoliosis

Thankfully, there are successful treatments for mild and severe scoliosi. If your symptoms are mild, they can be managed with conservative treatments, such as medications that address your inflammation or a course of physical therapy. 

If Dr. Cohen sees that your curvature is approaching a 40-50-degree angle, he may recommend surgery. The type of surgery he performs depends on the severity of our scoliosis and your individual needs, but there are several minimally invasive options available:

Each procedure is performed to correct curvature issues and prevent scoliosis from progressing. Dr. Cohen and our team are committed to preparing you for any of these procedures fully, executing them safely, and being by your side as you recover. 

Schedule a consultation to discuss scoliosis

Whether you’ve been diagnosed or simply suspect you may have scoliosis, it’s imperative to connect with a respected physician and recognized scoliosis expert, and that’s Dr. Cohen. Call our office to make an appointment or reach out to us online.

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