Scoliosis Treatments at Maimonides Spine Center in Brooklyn, NY
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Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine (sometimes simply called “curved spine”). The curve is often S-shaped or C-shaped. Scoliosis can affect all sections of the spine, including the cervical spine (neck), the thoracic (middle and upper) spine, and the lumbar (lower) spine.
Most cases of scoliosis are diagnosed during puberty. Thoracic scoliosis and lumbar scoliosis are the most common patterns of idiopathic scoliosis (scoliosis with no known cause). Cases of mild scoliosis may not require treatment, while more advanced cases may require an intervention, such as a custom-made back brace or surgery.
Types of Scoliosis & Scoliosis Causes
There are several different types of scoliosis, which fall into one of two categories: structural or nonstructural. Types of structural scoliosis include:
Idiopathic scoliosis: Usually starts during adolescence and accounts for 8 of every 10 cases of scoliosis. Idiopathic means that the cause is unknown, but genetics may play a role.
Degenerative scoliosis: Occurs later in life as the joints in the spine degenerate; also called “adult scoliosis.”
Neuromuscular scoliosis: Develops in some people who cannot walk (e.g., those with muscular dystrophy).
Congenital scoliosis: Very rare type of scoliosis that develops in utero and is present at birth; usually requires surgery to correct.
Non-structural scoliosis is rare but can develop from differences in leg height (when one leg is significantly longer than the other). It can also develop when frequent muscle spasms pull the spine in one direction or from inflammation on one side of the spine.
Scoliosis Symptoms and Signs
In most cases, there are no visible signs of scoliosis (to the untrained eye). Parents or close friends may notice that the person’s clothes hang unevenly or may observe the curvature while the person is in a bathing suit.
Mild cases of scoliosis usually have no symptoms. Moderate to severe cases can cause scoliosis pain and other symptoms, including:
Altered gait, if the hips are misaligned due to the spinal curvature
Reduced range of motion (such as difficulty bending or twisting)
Trouble breathing (if the rib cage becomes twisted and reduces space for the lungs)
Muscle spasms and inflammation around strained muscles
Joint problems, such as disc problems or degeneration of the facet joints
In moderate to severe cases, scoliosis can impact a person’s self-esteem—a frequently overlooked but significant symptom, especially for young people.
The majority of idiopathic scoliosis cases are mild and only require observation. The scoliosis specialist will usually see patients every 4 to 6 months through adolescence until their skeletons are fully developed.
Adolescents who have a pronounced curve of 25 to 30 degrees or more and years of skeletal growth ahead, or those who experience a change in curvature of 5 degrees or more in a short period (6 months or less), may need to wear a custom back brace. Some people will need to wear a full-time brace (16-23 hours a day), while others may only need to wear a hyper-corrective brace while they sleep (8 hours a day).
Scoliosis that progresses beyond 40 or 50 degrees may require surgery (vertebral fusion surgery or spinal rod placement surgery).
Scoliosis Specialists at Maimonides Medical Center
The expert scoliosis doctors at Maimonides provide customized solutions for children, adolescents, and adults with scoliosis at our state-of-the-art facility in Brooklyn.
We know that receiving a scoliosis diagnosis can be frightening, especially for children and adolescents with moderate to advanced cases. We work closely with patients and their families to find the best possible solution.
Maimonides Spine Center is conveniently located at 6010 Bay Parkway, 8th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11204.