Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine develops abnormal curves. The
spine naturally has curves that point toward the front and back of the
person. But for
people with scoliosis, the spine curves in an abnormal fashion from side to side. Scoliosis
is typically diagnosed in childhood, although adults may develop scoliosis
later in life. Depending on the degree of curvature and the presence of
symptoms, an orthopaedic doctor may recommend either nonsurgical treatments
or surgical interventions for patients with scoliosis.
After diagnosing a patient with scoliosis, the orthopaedic doctor will
measure the degree of curvature and monitor its progression. If the abnormal
curvature is mild and further progression is not anticipated, the doctor
may recommend watchful waiting. No treatment will be administered, but
the curve will be closely monitored to determine if treatment is needed
at a later date.
Even when scoliosis does require treatment, surgery isn’t always
the first option. Patients can be custom-fitted with specialized back
braces. These braces cannot reverse the abnormalities, but they can halt
the progression of the curve. Scoliosis braces are only used for pediatric
patients who are still growing, since skeletal maturity is unlikely to
support the worsening of an already existing curve.
Like back braces, physical therapy cannot reverse the abnormal curvature.
It also cannot halt the further progression of the condition, but physical
therapy can strengthen the back muscles. Physical therapy may be helpful
for patients who experience pain or other symptoms arising from the spinal
In severe cases, orthopaedic surgery may be recommended for scoliosis patients.
Most often, surgeons use spinal fusion. This involves
fusing two or more vertebrae together to prevent movement between them. If the patient is a particularly young
child, the surgeon may insert a “growing” rod, which connects
to the top and bottom areas of the curvature. This rod is adjustable to
allow for the child’s growth over time.
MK Orthopaedics, our orthopaedic doctors in Joliet treat a range of spinal problems, including
scoliosis. If you or your child has been diagnosed with scoliosis, call
us today at (815) 741-6900 to request a consult with an orthopaedic doctor.
Our practice also sees patients with sports injuries.