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What Patients Need To Know About Scoliosis In Singapore

What Is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that visually shows a C- or S-shaped spine. It can affect any part of the spine, but the most common regions are at the level of the chest and the lower back. This medical condition can appear at any age but is commonly diagnosed during the adolescent period – from the age of 10 to 12 years or during the teens. While it is rare, infants may display symptoms of scoliosis as well.

This medical condition affects children of all races but is more commonly detected in girls than boys, with a staggering ratio of 7:1 in Singapore. Furthermore, the prevalence of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in schoolgirls rises over time, with 1.4% detected at ages 11 to 12 and 2.2% at 13 to 14 years of age. This indicates that the older the child, the higher the prevalence of scoliosis.

While scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, or a birth defect, the cause of most Scoliosis is idiopathic. Scoliosis ranges from 10-20 degrees (mild), 20-50 degrees (moderate), and severe (greater than 50 degrees).

Fortunately, most cases of scoliosis fall into the first category (mild). Nevertheless, patients need to undergo regular monitoring with a health practitioner to ensure that the curve does not worsen. However, in rare instances, scoliosis may worsen as the child grows. When this happens, the patient may be recommended to wear a brace to stop the condition from worsening.

Severe scoliosis can be disabling, as the severe spinal curve reduces the amount of space within one’s chest. This makes it difficult for the patient’s lungs to work properly, causing breathing difficulties.

Signs & Symptoms Of Scoliosis

⁣Signs and symptoms of scoliosis may include uneven shoulders⁣, uneven waist⁣, one shoulder blade that appears more prominent, and one hip higher than the other⁣. If a scoliosis curve worsens, the spine will twist or rotate in addition to curving side to side. This causes the ribs on one side of the body to stick out farther than on the other side.⁣

Types & Causes Of Scoliosis

There are various types of scoliosis and causes of spinal curvature. The four main types of scoliosis include:

  1. Idiopathic Scoliosis – It is one of the most common forms of scoliosis. As its name implies, the cause of this medical condition is unknown. However, specialists have theorised that Idiopathic Scoliosis may be hereditary, as this illness is known to run in families. But no responsible genes have been identified currently. Patients with Idiopathic Scoliosis generally fall into the following age group – Infants (0 to 2 years old), juveniles (3 to 10 years old), and adolescents (10 years and older).
  2. Congenital Scoliosis – Scoliosis is rare at birth, but it can still occur if the bones in the spine develop abnormally when the infant is growing. This condition is referred to as Congenital Scoliosis.
  3. Neuromuscular Scoliosis – Medical conditions affecting the muscles and nerves, such as Muscular Dystrophy and Cerebral Palsy, can cause a loss of control of the nerves or muscles that support the spine, resulting in Neuromuscular Scoliosis.
  4. Degenerative Scoliosis – Unlike the first three types of scoliosis, Degenerative Scoliosis generally occurs later during adulthood. This condition may be caused by wear and tear on the discs and joints of the spine. It typically occurs in the lumbar spine and is the leading type of scoliosis in adults.

Despite popular misconceptions, scoliosis is not caused by a lack of calcium in the diet, any sports or physical activity, poor posture, or carrying heavy objects.

Treatment For Scoliosis

To treat scoliosis, physical therapy takes a comprehensive approach to treatment. Manual therapy techniques are utilised to assist with joint and soft tissue dysfunctions along with deficient neuromuscular strength and endurance. In addition to providing postural recommendations for sitting, standing, and sleeping, self-management strategies that are designed to facilitate the overall rehabilitation process will be provided. Strengthening exercises that exhibit safe and appropriate flexibility will also be prescribed to help improve tolerance for everyday and recreational activities. If in doubt, please seek professional advice.

Common Conditions

Scoliosis

28/08/2020

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that visually shows a C- or S-shaped spine. It can affect any part of the spine, but the most common regions are at the level of the chest and the lower back. Scoliosis can appear at any age but it often presents from the age of 10 to 12 years or during the teens. Infants can sometimes have symptoms as well. While Scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, or a birth defect, the cause of most Scoliosis is idiopathic. Scoliosis ranges from 10-20 degrees (mild), 20-50 degrees (moderate), and severe (greater than 50 degrees).⁣

⁣Signs and symptoms of Scoliosis may include uneven shoulders⁣, uneven waist⁣, one shoulder blade that appears more prominent, and one hip higher than the other⁣. If a Scoliosis curve gets worse, the spine will also twist or rotate in addition to curving side to side. This causes the ribs on one side of the body to stick out farther than on the other side.⁣

To treat Scoliosis, physical therapy takes a comprehensive approach to treatment. Manual therapy techniques are utilised to assist with joint and soft tissue dysfunctions along with deficient neuromuscular strength and endurance. In addition to providing postural recommendations for sitting, standing, and sleeping, self-management strategies that are designed to facilitate the overall rehabilitation process will be provided. Strengthening exercises that exhibit safe and appropriate flexibility will also be prescribed to help improve tolerance for everyday and recreational activities. If in doubt, seek professional advice.

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