Idiopathic Scoliosis & Spinal Deformities
What Is Idiopathic Scoliosis?
In the realm of Pediatric Scoliosis and Adult Scoliosis, Idiopathic Scoliosis is arguably the most prevalent subtype. And, despite this prevalence, it is also the form of scoliosis that science understands the least. Idiopathic scoliosis has no apparent cause, although medical researchers continue to uncover more knowledge and theories. At most, experts believe there can be an interplay between genetics and environmental factors. In vulnerable individuals, this combination can lead to abnormal developments in the spine.
Despite this apparent lack of understanding, we do know that idiopathic scoliosis affects approximately 4% of children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18. And, while society has traditionally viewed idiopathic scoliosis as a purely pediatric condition, in truth, the condition can emerge at any age.
Fortunately, advances in scoliosis detection, including genetic testing, have enabled doctors to catch idiopathic scoliosis for many individuals in childhood. However, missed signs of the condition during childhood can result in a latent emergence of idiopathic scoliosis in adulthood. Furthermore, the severity of idiopathic scoliosis can range from minor curves of less than 10 degrees to severe curves of 50-80 degrees. The extent of the curvature will affect not only the symptoms but also the ultimate treatment that one requires.
How Do I Know If I Have The Symptoms of Idiopathic Scoliosis?
The symptoms of idiopathic scoliosis can vary greatly from individual to individual. For some, symptoms can be minor, slowly progressing, and completely invisible to the onlooker. For others, the effects of idiopathic scoliosis can be fast-moving, severe, painful, and debilitating. Because of this fact, a definitive set of symptoms is difficult to declare. However, if you are concerned about scoliosis in your spine or the spine of someone you know, keep an eye out for any of the following general symptoms:
- Visible Abnormalities: In minor cases, the spine may have a slight sideways curve when viewed from behind. It is easier to scout this slight bend if the individual reaches for their toes, allowing the spine and structure of the back to push out on the skin.
- Unnatural Bending or Leaning: Abnormal forward or sideways bend, or lean, to the torso may occur. In severe cases, this bend can also result in the twisting of the spine.
- Uneven Posture: The body can take on an uneven appearance. This can occur in a variety of locations, including the shoulders, the hips, and the ribcage.
- Hunching: A hump may begin to appear in the spine where the curve is forming.
- Protruding Shoulder Blades: Shoulder blades, one or both, may begin to fan out behind the body due to the torque of the spine.
- Back Problems & Pinched Nerves: Severe scoliotic curves can result in muscle strain, damaged intervertebral discs, pinched nerves, and back pain.
- Cardiopulmonary & Sensation Disruptions: Severe cases of idiopathic scoliosis can cause severe symptoms such as trouble with respiration and circulation. The spinal cord can also be compromised, leading to pain, loss of sensation, and in some cases, loss of feeling and mobility.
Remember that these are the general symptoms of idiopathic scoliosis. These symptoms can occur individually, or one can experience them in a bundle. This tendency for very individualized symptoms to emerge necessitates the need for an individualized approach to treatment. To achieve this, you must trust the knowledge and experience of your physician.
How Can Dr. Lowenstein Help?
The right treatment at the right time is key in combating the potentially devastating effects of idiopathic scoliosis. Whether there is a need for careful monitoring, scoliosis bracing, or surgical intervention, you need to be able to trust your physician.
Dr. Jason Lowenstein has decades of practiced knowledge and surgical experience in treating the complex and often long-term scope of idiopathic scoliosis. The right treatment is often dependent on a variety of factors. And, Dr. Lowenstein is adept at determining the right actions to take at the right time. Don’t wait any longer! Scoliosis can swiftly escalate over time. Contact Dr. Lowenstein and his team of clinicians today to set up your first appointment today!