Surgical vs. Non-surgical Ways to Treat Scoliosis

scoliosis

Each year, there are about 3 million cases of scoliosis in the United States. Most of the time, these cases involve children who have not yet reached their growth spurt. In most cases, scoliosis will have no known cause. For this reason, a lot of parents are probably worried about their child’s sake. Most of them will be wondering what exactly this condition is and what the best treatment options for their child are.

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a common condition wherein there is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. The most frequent type of this condition is usually identified during childhood or early adolescent stages, which is called adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Experts have expressed how scoliosis is not just the bending of the spine. Rather, it is a three-dimensional malformation of the bones in the coronal, sagittal, and axial planes. Nonetheless, it is fortunate that most children diagnosed with scoliosis will not need surgery to correct the deformity.

Some symptoms that hint at the possibility of scoliosis are:

  • An unevenness of the shoulders and waist
  • The misalignment of the head and pelvis

Furthermore, a child’s rib cages might be located at different heights, or one of both of their hips seems to be raised. If any of these signs are observed, it is best to schedule an appointment and consult a health professional immediately.

Getting treatments for scoliosis will usually depend on what scoliosis specialists recommend. This is based on the physical age of a child and the seriousness of the current condition. For this reason, it is best to thoroughly consider the options and information that doctors will present to choose the best treatment for the child before immediately agreeing to surgery.

Non-surgical ways to treat scoliosis

There are plenty of alternative treatments for scoliosis that does not involve surgery. For more information, here are some of the non-surgical ways to treat scoliosis.

Observation

In some cases, a child will only have a slight curvature of the spine. If the curvature does not exceed 20 degrees, then the patient will not require immediate treatment. However, the physician will need to regularly check the spine until the child reaches late puberty to ensure that the curvature does not further develop. Once the curvature exceeds 20 degrees, this will be the time the doctor suggests additional treatments to stop the curve from worsening.

Physical Therapy

physical therapy

A child may experience pain because of the curve of their spine. One way to treat this condition is through traditional physical therapy. This is done by licensed physical therapists who can strengthen a patient’s muscles on their back and legs. At the same time, this also increases their flexibility and helps in preventing further injury. Physical therapy will not correct the abnormal curve of the spine. Instead, it can reduce and relieve any pain or discomfort that the child might be experiencing.

Yoga

Patients with scoliosis commonly use yoga to reduce the pain levels that they experience and refine the functionality of their hip, leg, and back muscles. In addition, this form of treatment can lead to better posture and increased strength and flexibility. Yoga is also known to be an effective pain reliever and joint mobilizer. There are also specific types of yoga that cater more to patients who are suffering from scoliosis. A particular set of poses are compiled to make sure that this practice will not make the condition of your spine worse.

Bracing

This type of treatment is usually given to patients with a spinal curve that exceeds 20 degrees. When this happens, the physician will more likely recommend getting a custom-made brace for the patient. An orthotist makes these braces with the physician’s help to ensure that the brace will fit and be comfortable to wear. Bracing does not aim to correct the curve, but it can prevent the curvature from worsening as the patient ages and grows.

Surgical ways to treat scoliosis

The surgical operation for scoliosis is called a spinal fusion. With the help of today’s technology and tools, surgeons can realign the curvature and fuse them so that they can heal into a single straight bone. Surgery is only required for patients whose curve now exceeds 45-50 degrees. As soon as this happens, the condition will only worsen even after a child has fully reached the end of their growth spurt. Fortunately, doctors can now successfully straighten the curve with the help of today’s technological advancements.

Seek professional help

Ultimately, the success of the scoliosis treatments will depend on the patient. It is advisable to communicate closely with experienced medical professionals to know what the best treatment will be. Though non-surgical treatments are available, the only way to correct and realign a curvature is through surgery. Thanks to advanced surgical techniques, patients who are suffering from worse cases can be healed.

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