Your spine has a natural curve. However, genetics, a tumor, a spinal infection, an injury, or a birth defect can cause an abnormal curvature of the spine known as scoliosis. When it’s mild, it doesn’t require treatment and can be fairly unnoticeable.
However, in more serious cases, Dr. Ahlgren or a member of his team may recommend scoliosis treatment, such as a brace or back surgery.
In mild cases, no treatment besides monitoring is necessary. Your doctor may recommend routine screenings to evaluate for any muscle weakness or numbness, as well as if the condition is worsening. Your doctor may recommend routine X-rays to view the curvature of the spine. They may do comparisons with previous X-rays to check for changes.
While the physician monitors the spine, certain factors are taken into consideration when determining if treatment is necessary. For instance, if the spine bends in an “S,” it tends to worsen more than a curve in a “C” shape. Curvature in the center of the spine usually worsens more than curves in other locations of the spine. In children, the risk of scoliosis worsening is higher than in adults.
A doctor may recommend bracing for a child who is still growing or when moderate scoliosis is present. A doctor may recommend either a rigid brace or a dynamic brace. The dynamic brace retrains the body to remain in a proper position, while a rigid brace places pressure on certain areas of the spine to prevent it from curving further. Neither type of brace corrects scoliosis but can slow the progression of the abnormal curve.
Some types of braces can be worn underneath the clothing and are rather discrete. A person usually has to wear the brace for at least 23 hours per day. Once a child stops growing, they may only need the brace at night or not at all. Girls may no longer need a brace two years after starting menstruation. Boys may no longer need it once they need to shave every day.
In more severe cases, a practitioner may recommend back surgery, often a spinal fusion. The surgery will lessen the curvature and stop the progression of the condition.
With a spinal fusion, the surgeon fuses two or more vertebrae together, which inhibits them from moving separately.
During a spinal fusion, the physician places real or artificial bone in between the vertebrae. If the surgeon uses natural bone, they may use it from another portion of the body, such as the pelvis. It’s also possible to use a donor’s bone.
Using rods, screws, wires, and hooks, the surgeon will create a system to hold that portion of your spine in place. This allows for the vertebrae to remain in position while the bones fuse together.
In cases where the spine is curving quickly, the surgeon may install a rod that connects to the top and bottom portions of the spinal curvature. They will then lengthen the rod every six months to accommodate growth.
Getting Scoliosis Treatment in Rochester Hills, MI
It’s important to get children screened for scoliosis on a routine basis, and Dr. Ahlgren and his team at Ahlgren Spine can help. Our practitioners customize screenings to the patient’s growth and condition and choose the ideal option to slow or stop the progression of scoliosis. Dr. Ahlgren can also help adults who acquire scoliosis later in life.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Ahlgren at Ahlgren Spine, serving Rochester Hills and nearby areas, for a scoliosis assessment or treatment by calling (248) 215-8080. You may also use our online form.