Adolescent scoliosis refers to the sideways curving of the spine among children aged 10-18 years old. While milder cases only cause minor inconvenience, extreme curving may restrict them from several physical activities. Leaving it untreated may also cause further inconvenience or complications as you grow up.
This article will teach you more about adolescent scoliosis, the importance of early treatment, and available procedures you can go through.
Living with Adolescent Scoliosis
As a scoliosis patient, one of the biggest burdens you might encounter is the difficulty in engaging with physical activities. But doctors actually encourage patients to actively engage in certain exercises to keep their core strong and flexible. Activities like swimming, cycling, and yoga are often suggested for patients with adolescent scoliosis, although frequent breaks are recommended to avoid injuring the back.
After diagnosis, your doctor should explain the various treatment options available for your circumstances. The most common treatment options are wearing a back brace or undergoing surgical procedures. Both treatments have their advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right treatment for you is crucial in determining your recovery process.
Importance of Getting Adolescent Scoliosis Treated Early
Without surgery, scoliosis is irreversible. Alternate and non-surgical treatments are not for curing the condition, but rather for preventing it from worsening. If left untreated, children are at risk of acquiring restrictive pulmonary dysfunction as they grow.
Without knowing the exact cause for a patient’s adolescent scoliosis, overall prevention is practically impossible. However, not all is lost once the patient is diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Here are some of the treatments that most patients undergo:
Most adolescents are advised to undergo spinal fusion if their spinal curve is greater than a 45-degree angle. This procedure will straighten the curve so that it heals into a straight and solid bone.
The treatment utilizes bone grafts placed in between the spaces of the vertebrae so they become fused as they mend. As the fusion is underway, metal rods are also placed to keep the bones in place.
For spinal curves between 25 to 45-degree angles, wearing a brace may be enough. While it cannot correct the abnormality, studies show that it helps prevent the existing curve from worsening and requiring surgery. Depending on the patient’s needs, a custom-made brace should be worn every day. If you are playing sports, you can remove the brace for the meantime. You can also hide the brace by wearing loose-fit clothes.
Other Alternative Treatments
Other physical treatments are suspected to help with adolescent scoliosis, such as chiropractic medicine and yoga. However, there is insufficient evidence available to prove their effectiveness. Doctors recommend these activities for their extra benefits that can improve the physical condition of the patient, but it is not considered to be formal treatment.
Long Term Treatment Effects
Successful spine fusion surgeries straighten the spines of patients significantly. With some physical therapy after the procedure, you can return to your old routine in a matter of six to nine months with few restrictions.
Treat Your Spine Today
Scoliosis can cause a variety/number of minor inconveniences to an adolescent as they grow into their bodies. It might even result in dire consequences in their adult years if left untreated.
With over 50 years of experience in treating scoliosis patients of all ages in New York, our doctors at Scoliosis & Spine Associates will provide you with a professional diagnosis and optimum treatment you deserve. Schedule a consultation with us by calling 212-241-8947.