Scoliosis, or a curvature of the spine as it is more commonly known, is predominantly a disease of children. Occurring more frequently in girls than in boys, a scoliosis treatment can be tailored for either mild, moderate, or severe curving. Two of the primary treatments for a crooked spine include braces and surgery. Scoliosis treatment should be provided as soon as possible, as the curvature tends to be progressive and can eventually lead to serious health risks.
Braces are generally used as a scoliosis treatment if the afflicted child’s bones are still growing. While the brace won’t cure the disease itself, or even reverse the curve that has formed, it may prevent the spine from bending further out of alignment. A scoliosis brace is usually worn both day and night, and though uncomfortable, it will allow most children to continue with normal activities. The brace is removed after the child has passed through puberty and his bones stop growing.
Two different types of braces are used in scoliosis treatment. The first is a bulky and awkward device known as the Milwaukee Brace. This brace encapsulates a child’s entire torso, and has both a chin rest and a support for the back of the head. For less severe cases, a low profile brace is the preferred scoliosis treatment. This version is shape-fitting, barely noticeable by others, and covers the area from beneath the arms to the hips.
Extreme cases of scoliosis require surgery, a procedure referred to as spinal fusion. This surgery aims to correct the curvature and prevent it from worsening. Bones of the spine are connected and held straight via the use of metal rods and screws. The goal of spinal fusion surgery is to not only straighten the spine, but to have it remain straight once the spinal bones have mended together.
Scoliosis in adults is something of a rarity, but it does exist. Usually the cause is an undiagnosed curvature from childhood that has progressed to the point that it causes pain. Adult scoliosis may also be a result of trauma, such as a car accident or severe fall that results in a fracture of the spine. Unless the curvature is very severe, causing great amounts of pain, visible deformities, or breathing problems, adult scoliosis is often left untreated. When these factors do come into play, a spinal fusion surgery is really the only option that is viable.