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Scoliosis : Keep things straight

Spine Awareness


The moment we see a person standing or walking, we can see a small "s" shaped curvature of the spine when observed from the sides. This curvature is normally front-to-back and is considered normal, but when this curvature happens laterally or side-to-side, this spine condition is called as "scoliosis" medically. It is surprising to note that at least 10% of the adults do have some degree of scoliosis. It really matters only when the less-than 1% progress with scoliosis curvature large enough to cause some postural imbalance and ultimately muscle pain and fatigue. More serious curvature can even interfere with breathing and cause arthritis of the spine. Scoliosis is seen in both boys and girls, but the spinal curve progresses faster in girls and girls undergo treatment for this five times more than boys. The reason for this difference has remained a puzzle till date. Although, there are a few causes for scoliosis, four out of five cases of scoliosis remain unidentifiable or idiopathic in medical terms which can only be concluded as inherited.

We often think that children carrying heavy school bags will sustain some sort of a spine injury for sure, but it is a good news that scoliosis is not caused by this or a poor diet and the children afflicted by scoliosis are otherwise entirely normal without any early bone problems.

The unknown or "idiopathic"cause of scoliosis is further classified according to the age of occurrence. The 'infantile' occurs before age 3; between ages 3-10 is 'juvenile'; between 10-13 (onset of puberty) is 'adolescent' and 'adult' if the problem occurs at the end of physical maturity. It can be seen that scoliosis is most prevalent between 10-16 years and progresses fast especially among girls during the growth spurt period, but usually stops during adulthood.

The other types of scoliosis is "congenital" or abnormal formation of spinal bones associated with some other organ defects. The"neuromuscular" type is due to loss of control of the nerves and muscles that support the spine. The "degenerative" type occurs due to the degeneration of the discs separating the vertebrae or arthritis in the joints that link them.

Generally, scoliosis is mostly identified during school physical exam or screening programs in schools by gym teachers or trained nurses. A child may have asymmetrical torso or a tilt in the waistline. It may appear one shoulder is elevated compared to the other or a prominent shoulder blade. Girls may have breast dissimilarities due to spine rotation. An orthopedist can make the exact diagnosis with bone exam, x-rays or MRI. Approximately 2-3% of Americans at age 16 have scoliosis.

The degree of curvature plays a major role in the treatment options. For less than 20 degrees no treatment is required. For 20-30 degree curvature in adolescents watchful waiting and routine checks are carried out to keep a close eye on the progression of curvature. As long as there is no pain adults even with a 40-degree curvature can wait.

The treatment options for scoliosis is usually 'braces'. Mostly, adolescents having a spinal curve between 25-40 degrees benefit by this, especially if the bones are in the maturing stage and if they have a couple of years to go. By this method only progression can be halted, but on removing the brace the curve will assume its original magnitude. For curvatures between 40-50 degrees 'surgery' is considered as the best option which can arrest the progression. Normally metal implants are placed until the bone graft forms a rigid fusion at the curvature. A scoliosis surgery usually means spinal fusion or joining of the vertebrae permanently.

There is no known way of prevention of development of scoliosis. Progression of scoliosis may be prevented through bracing or surgery. Exercise and physical fitness are of paramount importance for the scoliosis-afflicted. That not only maintains flexibility and health, but decreases the likelihood of osteoporosis, which can be extremely damaging and debilitating in these individuals.

Watch the Video: Check if your kids have Scoliosis.

13 minute workout plan for men - 5BX



5BX plan, published by Royal Canadian Airforce, represents 5 Basic exercise men can follow to keep themeselves physically fit. The whole plan is built around 13 minutes and it does not need any special equipment to follow. The plan publishes a series of progressive charts which can be followed to add difficulty into the same 13

Here is the 5BX plan.

Disclaimer: The above content is provided for information and awareness purpose only. It is not prescriptive or suggestive or meant to replaces your qualified physician's advice or consultation.