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What is scoliosis?

While everyone's spine curves a little bit, scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that can occurs just before puberty among other times. Scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy or as a result of degeneration, but the cause of most cases is unknown.

Common symptoms

On X-ray, the spine curves in a "C" or "S" shape. Symptoms may include:

  • back pain; uneven hips,
  • shoulders or waist;
  • or one shoulder blade appearing to be more prominent than the other.

How is scoliosis diagnosed?

The physician will perform a physical exam by asking you to bend forward, making your spine easier to see. X-rays will also help your physician determine the degree of curvature.

How is scoliosis treated?

Treatment will depend on the degree of curvature as well as symptoms. In most cases, the curvature is mild, and no treatment is needed. In these cases, the physician may recommend following up every four to six months. In some cases, surgeons may implant a rod in the spine, attaching it to the top and bottom of the curvature.

If the curve is severe, surgery may be recommended to reduce the curve's severity and stop it from worsening. Spinal fusion surgery, in which two or more vertebrae are fused together, is the most common type of surgery for scoliosis. A brace may be needed after surgery to help keep the spine stabilized.

The providers at REX Neurosurgery & Spine Specialists can help you decide on the treatment that's best for you. They specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery and are experienced in diagnosing and treating disc disorders and disease, using the newest techniques for relieving pain and returning you to an active lifestyle. To make an appointment at REX Neurosurgery & Spine Specialists, call 919-784-1410.