Dr Kelly Samson has a great interest in working with scoliosis and other postural abnormalities of the spine. She is an accredited scoliosis SpineCor Brace Fitter (UK) and specializes in the fitting of the dynamic corrective brace as well as the more rigid-type braces.
What is Scoliosis:
Scoliosis is a disorder that causes an abnormal curve of the spine, or backbone. There is a normal spinal curve when looking from the side, but the spine should appear straight when looking from the front. Kyphosis is a curve in the spine seen from the side in which the spine is bent forward. There is a normal kyphosis in the middle (thoracic) spine. Lordosis is a curve seen from the side in which the spine is bent backward. There is a normal lordosis in the upper (cervical) spine and the lower spine or lumbar spine. People with scoliosis develop additional curves to either side of the body, and the bones of the spine twist on each other, forming a C or an S-shaped or scoliosis curve in the spine. Scoliosis ranges from 10-20 degrees (mild), 20-50 degrees (moderate), and severe (greater than 50 degrees). Scoliosis is about two times more common in girls than boys. It can be seen at any age, but it is most common in those over about 10 years of age. Scoliosis is hereditary in that people with scoliosis are more likely to have children with scoliosis; however, there is no correlation between the severity of the curves from one generation to the next.
For many patients with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, it is a painless condition. However, there are several warning signs a healthcare professional uses to help determine if a patient has scoliosis. The most common signs of scoliosis include:
• Uneven shoulders and/or shoulder blades
• Uneven hips and waist
• Appearance of leaning
• Head is not centered over the body
• A “rib hump”, which is a hump on one side of the spine that is most noticeable when bending forward.
How is Scoliosis Diagnosed:
The diagnosis typically begins with a complete history followed by a thorough physical examination. A healthcare professional will examine the spine and look for any signs of scoliosis. X-rays may be taken in order to evaluate any tilt or rotation of the vertebrae causing a curvature. X-rays allow the doctor to confirm the diagnosis, monitor the degree and severity of the curve, and to assess the patient’s skeletal maturity
Scoliosis Fast Facts:
Scoliosis is the most common deformity of the spine
The condition causes the spine to abnormally curve sideways, into an “S” or “C” shape of more than 10 degrees
The condition can affect people of any age, but the most common age of onset is between the ages of 10 and 15
Each year, an estimated 30,000 children are fitted for braces and more than 100,000 children and adults diagnosed with scoliosis undergo surgery
People who have a family member with scoliosis are more likely to develop the condition
Although girls and boys are diagnosed with scoliosis in equal numbers, girls are eight times more likely to have a curve that progresses and requires treatment
Common signs and symptoms include: uneven shoulders, ribs, hips or waist, back pain, one shoulder blade sticking out, a rib hump at the back of the waist or ribs, one arm hanging lower than the other, discoloration or change in texture in the skin that covers the spine
In 85 percent of cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown; this is called idiopathic scoliosis
One quarter of children with spinal curves require medical attention
Bracing for Scoliosis:
Currently, the spine medical community advocates bracing as the non-surgical treatment for idiopathic scoliosis. The objective of bracing treatment is to prevent the curve from progressing.
There are a number of bracing options, and doctors will recommend a particular back brace and bracing schedule based on factors such as the location of the curve, age, skeletal maturity and degree of curvature. Compliance with wearing the back brace as prescribed is clearly vital to the success of bracing treatment.
For more information about scoliosis and bracing please send us a message.