The spine naturally has a normal curve when you view it from the sides. When looking at it from the front, it should also appear straight. Scoliosis is a disorder that affects the spine or backbone, causing an awkward curve on it. 

Therefore, in people with scoliosis, you'll notice that the bones of their spine twist on each other, and they have extra (awkward) curves to either side of their bodies. These twists and awkward curves most notably make the spine develop S or C shapes or a scoliosis curve right in the spine.

Scoliosis is classified into three groups based on how severe it is. These groups include;

  • Mild scoliosis: Usually ranges from 10 to 20 degrees

  • Moderate scoliosis: Ranges from 20 to 50 degrees and

  • Severe scoliosis, which would range from 50 degrees onwards.

Scoliosis Diagnosis

It is estimated that scoliosis is twice more likely to affect girls than boys. While it is mostly seen in persons of 10 years plus, it can affect persons of any age. It is also important to note that scoliosis is a hereditary condition meaning that, if you have scoliosis, there are chances some of your children may also develop this condition. 

However, the severities of scoliosis curves do not correlate between generations. When it comes to diagnosis, your doctor will confirm scoliosis after a series of tests, physical examination, CT scan, spinal radiograph, or an MRI scan.

They can use the Cobb Method to measure the curve and diagnose it in terms of its severity by the number of degrees they will get from the measurements. Positive diagnoses are made based on the coronal curvatures measured on posterior-anterior radiographs averaging more than 10 degrees.

Depending on the patient's age or sex, they may also use a standard exam known as Adam's Forward Bending Test. This screening method is common in grade school exams and is also commonly used by pediatricians.

To diagnose scoliosis using the Adam's Forward Bending Test, the practitioner will direct that you bend 90 degrees at your waist. When you bend at this angle, it will be easy for them to spot awkward spinal curvatures and your trunk's asymmetry.

While this screening test can help the examiner detect potential complications, they cannot accurately determine the severity of the condition or deformity. This is where the radiographic tests may be necessary for accurate diagnoses.

What are the Symptoms of Scoliosis?

Signs and symptoms of scoliosis may vary, but these are the most common signs to look out for;

  • Hip irregularity. One hip may appear slightly raised than the other.

  • Uneven shoulders

  • Uneven waist

  • One shoulder blade may also appear more stuck out than the other.

Scoliosis Treatment

In severe scoliosis, the spine may curve from side to side and twist or rotate. Because of this, you may notice that the ribs on one side of the body are more prominently stuck out than the other side of the body.

You should see or contact a doctor if you notice any of the scoliosis signs and symptoms listed above. You should also take immediate action if your child's, teachers, or friends raise concern on any form of irregularity on the child's spine since mild curves may progress even without you, the parent, or the child knowing outright.

After diagnosis, the doctor will assess several issues to determine the patient's best scoliosis treatment options. They may assess;

  • The curve's location

  • The spinal maturity

  • Degree and severity of the curvature

  • Any hint that the curve may progress

From these variables, the doctor may recommend any of the scoliosis treatment options below;

  1. Observation

For many children with scoliosis, the curvature is mostly mild and may not need treatment. However, if the doctor is concerned that the curvature may progress, they may plan to continuously examine the child after every four or six months through the adolescence period. If it was an adult, though, the doctor might recommend X-rays once every five years though this frequency may change if the symptoms continue getting worse.

  1. Bracing

Doctors only recommend bracing for patients who are yet to reach skeletal maturity. For instance, if a child is diagnosed with the condition, and the curve ranges from 25 to 40 degrees, the doctor may recommend bracing to stop the curve from progressing.

For the best results, the brace will need to be regularly checked to ensure that they fit correctly. The patient may need to wear the brace for around 16 to 23 hours each day until the curve development flattens.

  1. Surgery

Surgery is usually the last resort for managing scoliosis and may be recommended for severe scoliosis of 40 degrees and above with a clear progression indicator. It is usually done for children to stop the curve's progress as the child grows into adulthood and stops spinal deformity.

Book an Appointment with a Board Certified Surgeon for Scoliosis Treatment in Singapore

Several factors will determine the treatment option that a board-certified surgeon will recommend for you or your loved one's scoliosis disorder. Book an appointment with us today for a complete assessment before we can recommend the best treatment plan as you or your loved one begins the recovery journey.