What is Scoliosis? Essay
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The human spine is a medical marvel of sorts, which is not only responsible for helping us to move or lift things, but to bare our body weight, and preserve a normal body alignment. It’s impossible to exist without a spine. Scoliosis is defined as the curvature of the spine and although it isn’t specifically considered a disease, it is very serious complication resulting from a multitude of different symptoms with no definite known cause. Fortunately, with the passing of time, and development of new technologies doctors are now treating this debilitating condition in numerous ways. We will explore the different technologies caregivers are currently using to fix this malformation using studies and articles written by doctors treating this…show more content…
Fortunately, doctors and scientists are constantly developing new methods and techniques to fight this condition. Depending on the severity of the curvature, different treatment methods are implemented to attack this abnormality of the spine. Although the effectiveness of using plastic back braces to deter the curvature is still to be determined, doctors still generally use this method for smaller curves. In recent years, doctors have been employing a minimally invasive surgical approach for larger curves, one that requires surgeons to only make a few small incisions along the spine, rather than the traditional two-foot incision along the spine. This technique is by far the most radical treatment since the first scoliosis surgery took place in the early 1900s.
Anatomy of the Spine
The spine has three primary functions: stability, protection of essential internal organs and nerves, and range of motion. Without the spine humans would not be able to carry out many everyday functions such as standing up straight, bending over, twisting in different directions, or even walking. In addition, important components, such as the spinal cord, would go unprotected. The spine is literally the backbone for the make-up of our bodies.
The basic structure of the spine can be broken into three basic regions, the cervical-our neck, the thoracic-our mid-back, and the lumbar-our lower back. The shape of our spine comes from four distinct curves,
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Everyone's spine has curves. These curves produce the normal rounding of
the shoulder and the sway of the lower back. A spine with scoliosis has abnormal
curves with a rotational deformity. This means that the spine turns on its axis
like a corkscrew.
Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine which may have its onset in
infancy but is most frequently discovered in adolescence. It is more common in
females by a 2:1 ratio. However, when curves in excess of 30 degrees are
evaluated, females are more frequently affected by a ration of approximately10:1.
The cause of the most common form of scoliosis; idiopathic scoliosis. is
unknown, but there have been hereditary factors discovered that are present.
Scoliosis causes shoulder, trunk and waistline "asymmetry". In mild
forms, the condition may be barely noticed; however, in severe forms there is
significant disfigurement, back pain and postural fatigue, and it may be
associated with heart failure. Fortunately the majority of scoliosis cases need
only close follow-up to watch for worsening of the curve. Some cases require
more aggressive treatment which could include surgery.
The non-operative treatment of scoliosis involves observing the
deformity with examinations and repeated x-rays. Under certain circumstances,
when spinal growth remains, a brace may be used in combination with follow-up x-
rays. Physical therapy exercises have not been shown to be effective treatment
The most common surgical treatment for scoliosis is a spine fusion using
special stainless steel rods, hooks, and a bone graft. The rods are attached to
the spine with hooks and the curved portion of the spine is carefully
straightened. Then, small strips of bone graft are placed over the spine to fuse
it in a straight position. As the bone graft heals over the next several months,
the spine becomes solid and will not curve again. But the part of the spine that
has not been fused will still be flexible, and allow nearly normal overall
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