Scoliosis is a condition that affects the spine. The human spine features four normal curves which help our bodies move and be flexible. Some curvature in the neck, upper trunk and lower trunk is normal. All spines have these curves. Humans need these spinal curves to help the upper body maintain proper balance over the lower body.
However, when there are abnormal side-to-side or lateral curves in the spinal column, we call this scoliosis.
Once suspected, scoliosis is usually confirmed with an x-ray or scan of the spine. The curve is then measured and is discussed in terms of degrees. Generally speaking, a curve is considered significant if it is greater than 25 to 30 degrees. Curves exceeding 45 to 50 degrees are considered severe and often require treatment.
When considering scoliosis treatment options:
- Is the patient's spine still growing and changing
- How severe is the curve and how does it affect the patient's lifestyle
- Location of curve: thoracic (upper spine) curves are more likely to progress than thoracolumbar (mid-spine) or lumbar (lower spine) curves
- Potential for progression: patients who have large curves before their adolescent growth spurts are more likely to experience curve progression
After this complex set of variables is analyzed, treatment is discussed. There are four basic treatment options for scoliosis: (1) observation (2) therapy (3) bracing (4) surgery.
My approach to scoliosis begins with a thorough evaluation of your spine and considers:
- The stability of the back is dependent on a properly functioning spinal core
- The spinal core is a complicated series of discs and vertebra, each with a slightly different function
- Faulty interactions between vertebrae create excessive strain in the back
- Optimizing interactions between vertebrae stabilizes the back, and may arrest the progression of scoliosis
Scoliosis treatment provided by Lori L. Malkoff, MD helps to improve key relationships within the spine, and optimize the function of the spine as it relates to the rest of the frame, especially the hips, pelvis and ribs. You will receive therapy that involves the whole body, including exercises. The goal of scoliosis therapy is to stop the progression of faulty curves, and to prevent the other complications of scoliosis, such as organ compression and difficulty breathing. My approach to treating your scoliosis allows you to take control of your health and prevent any further damage to your spine. Duration of treatment and number of visits will vary depending on your particular issues.