Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Scoliosis

Scoliosis faq

Story at-a-glance -

  • Scoliosis is a musculoskeletal disorder wherein a patient’s spine curves to the side, affecting the chest area and lower section of the back
  • Patients can also develop scoliosis because of congenital scoliosis (a rare disease that develops because the baby’s spinal bones developed abnormally while the fetus was growing inside the mother), osteoporosis, bad posture or carrying heavy backpacks or satchels

Q: What is scoliosis of the back?

A: Scoliosis is a musculoskeletal disorder wherein a patient’s spine curves to the side, affecting the chest area and lower section of the back. A patient’s age, gender and genetics may all play a role in the development of the disease.1 Common symptoms of scoliosis include:2,3

  • Body parts, such as shoulders and shoulder blades, hips, waist, ribcage and legs, that may look uneven or have one side that’s more prominent compared to the other
  • Head that’s slightly off center
  • Clothes that don’t hang properly on the body
  • Tendency of the individual to lean on one side

Q: What is idiopathic scoliosis?

A: Idiopathic scoliosis is a type of scoliosis where the cause of the disorder is unknown.4 There are three types of idiopathic scoliosis:5,6,7

  • Infantile idiopathic scoliosis: This affects infants, starting from birth, until they turn 3 years old.
  • Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis: It manifests in children aged 4 to 10 years old.
  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: Considered the most common form of scoliosis in adolescents, patients with this condition are usually 10 to 18 years old.8

Q: How do you get scoliosis?

A: Most scoliosis cases have no known causes, but physicians or doctors can check for other reasons why the disease developed. Should they find a possible cause, it can be classified as non-structural, where the spinal curve is caused by a difference in leg lengths, muscle spasms or appendicitis, or structural, where the spinal curve can develop because of an existing syndrome or another disease.9

Patients can also develop scoliosis because of congenital scoliosis (a rare disease that develops because the baby’s spinal bones developed abnormally while the fetus was growing inside the mother), osteoporosis, bad posture or carrying heavy backpacks or satchels.

Q: Is scoliosis genetic?

A: It’s often said that there is at least one gene that can play a role in the onset of the disease.10 The Scoliosis SOS Clinic highlights that 1 in 4 scoliosis patients may have at least another family member with signs of the disease, while first-degree relatives of scoliosis patients have an 11 percent chance of developing scoliosis.11

At the moment, however, no specific study has confirmed if scoliosis is hereditary or not, although initial research has looked into possibilities that genes linked to nerve fiber elasticity, bone density, tissue structure and joint hypermobility are associated with a scoliosis risk.12

Q: Is scoliosis considered a birth defect?

A: Scoliosis isn’t a birth defect per se, but the disease can be caused by a birth defect (such as hemivertebra) and become already present at birth, as seen in patients with infantile idiopathic scoliosis13 or congenital scoliosis.14

Q: Is scoliosis a disability?

A: Having scoliosis can be considered a disability if it results in spinal problems and negatively affects breathing or the heart. If this happens, a patient can be considered a disabled person with a spine-related or a respiratory or cardiovascular disorder, and may be entitled to certain benefits. Some scoliosis patients can also be considered disabled due to a mental illness or inflammatory arthritis.15

Even if Social Security doesn’t allow a patient to be called disabled because of certain factors, the patient can still be eligible for benefits if he or she cannot return to work because of physical, mental and sensory limitations.

Q: Does scoliosis get worse with age?

A: Yes. If the disease is left untreated, scoliosis can lead to the following side effects:16,17,18

Changes in body appearance

Reduced self-esteem and increased self-consciousness

Breathing problems

Higher risk for chronic back pain

Persistent pain, especially if there is wear and tear of the spinal bones

Crowding of the ribs on one side of the patient’s body and increased separation from the other side

Narrowing of the space between the spinal bones

Lung and heart damage

Heart failure

Q: Can scoliosis be fixed?

A: The spinal curve of a scoliosis patient can be addressed. How health professionals will treat scoliosis depends on a patient’s condition. Scoliosis back braces may be used if a patient has a Cobb angle that’s at least 25 degrees and has significant growth left until skeletal maturity, or If the spinal curve has a Cobb angle less than 25 degrees, but the curve has exhibited rapid progression (by at least 5 degrees) in the four to six months between appointments.19

Patients, especially infants, may also be recommended to wear a cast to help the spine return to its normal position as the baby grows.20 In some cases, a physician or doctor may simply monitor a patient and not require additional treatment, especially if the curve is seen in a young child, because the spine can straighten as the child grows.21

However, if a patient diagnosed with either idiopathic or neuromuscular scoliosis has a spinal curve with a Cobb angle of around 40 to 45 degrees, he or she may be advised to undergo surgery. Infants with congenital scoliosis or patients with adult scoliosis may be good candidates for surgery too.22

Q: Is scoliosis curable?

A: While there is no known cure for scoliosis at the moment, patients can use certain treatments that can help with addressing and/or potentially alleviating scoliosis-caused discomfort.23 The thing is, majority of children with scoliosis tend to have mild curves, so most of them don’t need further treatment, and may undergo follow-up check-ups instead.24 If you want to try natural remedies for scoliosis, here are good examples:25

  • Herbal oils like oregano, thyme, peppermint, evening primrose, black currant and borage
  • Arnica, ginger, Boswellia or cayenne or capsaicin cream
  • Supplements like astaxanthin, curcumin, bromelain or Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO)

MORE ABOUT SCOLIOSIS

Scoliosis: Introduction

What is Scoliosis?

Types of Scoliosis

Severe Scoliosis

Scoliosis Symptoms

Dealing with Scoliosis-Related Pain

Scoliosis Causes

Scoliosis Side Effects

Scoliosis Treatment

Scoliosis Back Braces

Yoga for Scoliosis

Exercises for Scoliosis Patients

Scoliosis Surgeries

Scoliosis Prevention

Diet for Scoliosis Patients

Scoliosis FAQ



< Previous

Diet for Scoliosis Patients

Diseases A-Z >

Back to Diseases Index

+ Sources and References
Post your comment
Click Here and be the first to comment on this article