What is Scoliosis of the Spine?

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Scoliosis is a condition that affects more than 6 million people in the U.S. each year, according to the National Scoliosis Foundation. Although scoliosis can be a serious skeletal disorder, it can be effectively managed.

Types

Scoliosis patients may have one or more curves that are present in different areas of the spine. Curves may occur in the lower (lumbar), middle (thoracic) or upper (cervical) portion of the spine.

Considerations

Left untreated, moderate to severe scoliosis will generally continue to progress throughout a person's lifetime. The earlier that it is treated, the better the prognosis for the patient.

Causes

The National Scoliosis Foundation states that in 85 percent of patients with scoliosis, there is no known reason for the condition. Although there does appear to be some genetic component.

Treatments

Abnormal spine curvature may be treated through orthopedic bracing, surgery or electrical stimulation. Bracing is the least invasive option where curves are moderate and not affecting other organs or causing pain.

Complications

Scoliosis may cause physical deformity and pain. Ultimately, it can lead to decreased lung capacity or restrict blood flow to the heart or lungs.

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