Approximately 80 percent of all scoliosis cases originate from an unknown cause, making it an idiopathic condition. However, scoliosis also tends to run in families and affects more girls than boys. Statistically, 23 out of every 1000 individuals will develop scoliosis.
Posture has no known relationship to scoliosis, nor does athletic movement, carrying heavy items or minor limb length inequalities. Though it primarily affects children, scoliosis occurs in adults as well. If left untreated, the deformation of the scoliotic spine will progress and can affect vital functions and locomotion, as well as posture and appearance.
Understanding the spine can help you to better understand scoliosis. The spine is the framework of the trunk that supports the head, thoracic cavity (chest) and upper arms. It is embedded in the pelvis, that in turn, is supported by the legs.
The spine performs a critical function for the body, allowing it to remain erect, protecting the spinal cord and enabling the proper function of the heart and lungs. Its role in locomotion is to allow proper body balance while controlling movement harmony and magnitude.
Early detection is very important in the treatment of scoliosis. While the condition is not preventable, symptoms can be lessened or halted if treated early, especially during a child's growing years.
Another condition, known as kyphosis (round back), may also occur in developing adolescents. Screening for it can be conducted at the same time as when screening for scoliosis.
Some schools have nurses that screen children for the warning signs of scoliosis. Physicians, including your general pediatrician or family physician, can accurately diagnose scoliosis in an office setting. Again, a simple, 30-second postural screening can make the difference in diagnosing scoliosis in its earliest stage.
Most spinal curvatures remain small and only need to be monitored for progression. When medical intervention is necessary, advances in modern orthopaedic techniques have made scoliosis a highly manageable condition: