Scoliosis refers to a curvature of the spine that tends to occur during a child’s growth spurt just prior to reaching puberty. It’s a condition that affects about three percent of all adolescents.
Although most cases of scoliosis are mild, some spine deformities become more severe as children grow and they can be disabling. That’s because a particularly severe spinal curve can reduce the amount of space within the chest, which makes it difficult for the lungs to function properly.
Scoliosis can also be caused by neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, but the primary cause of the disease is unclear. If the disorder runs in a family, it may involve hereditary factors. Other possible causes include a birth defect affecting the development of the bones of the spine or an injury to or infection of the spine.
- Uneven shoulders
- Uneven waist
- One shoulder blade being more pronounced than the other
- One hip higher than the other
If the curvature worsens, the spine will also twist or rotate, besides curving side-to-side. As a result, the ribs on one side of the body will protrude further than on the other side.
Complications associated with severe scoliosis include lung and heart damage, chronic back pain, and noticeable deformity.
Treatment depends on the degree of curvature. Mild cases that involve a curvature of less than 20 degrees do not require treatment. Instead, Dr. Bradley Ahlgren will monitor the condition for any changes.
Spinal curvatures of 25 to 30 degrees typically require a back brace to straighten the spine, especially for children who are still growing. However, a back brace is not effective for those with congenital or neuromuscular scoliosis.
Spinal fusion surgery is the most effective treatment for spine curvatures greater than 40 degrees, which usually worsen without treatment. The goals of surgery are to stop the progression of the curvature and reduce the deformity.
Scoliosis Treatment in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Lapeer, Michigan
If you suspect your child may be affected by scoliosis, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Bradley D. Ahlgren at Ahlgren Spine in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, or Lapeer, Michigan. Dr. Ahlgren is a board-certified specialist in spinal disorders and, depending on the severity of the curve and its risk of worsening, can treat your child with observation, monitoring, bracing, or, if necessary, surgery.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Ahlgren at a location nearest you, call us at (248) 215-8080 or request an appointment online today.