The spine is the central point of movement and operation for the whole body, so what happens when the spine grows in an abnormal way and is unnaturally curved? A curved spine is most often indicative of a spinal condition known as scoliosis. Scoliosis is a condition that means your brain does not communicate well with the muscles that surround the spine for proper support. Most often deemed as a degenerative disease that will progress with time, being diagnosed with scoliosis can be scary. Here's a look at a few of the most common questions about scoliosis and the answers you should know.
Is it true scoliosis is hereditary?
Scoliosis is often considered genetic or hereditary because the condition does tend to affect the same members of one family, but there is no genetic research to prove that this is the case. Genetic associations between related family members with scoliosis are very small, and there are ongoing studies on scoliosis as a hereditary disease. It is worth noting that your chances of developing scoliosis can be increased if you have a family history of the condition.
What are the treatments for scoliosis?
Treatment for scoliosis usually doesn't begin until the problem is already pretty substantial. This is not because doctors will not treat scoliosis early on; it is more because patients who have scoliosis will not seek treatment for the problem until later in life when the problem is more obvious and disruptive to normal life and everyday activity. The primary form of treatment for scoliosis is merely pain management, especially later in life. However, there are also surgical options that are designed to help straighten the curvature of the spine.
Are there complications that can stem from scoliosis?
Pain is probably the most well-known complication of scoliosis. As the spine curves with age, it can create problems with either constant or intermittent pain in several areas, including:
- pain in the neck and shoulders
- pain in the hips and buttocks
- pain that radiates down through the legs or out to the arms
Most people diagnosed with scoliosis will have to see a pain specialist for either medication or other forms of ongoing treatment to combat problems with pain. In the most severe cases, scoliosis can also disrupt lung and heart function as the curvature of the spine worsens. Additionally, people with extreme scoliosis can have issues with staying balanced when they walk.
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