Scoliosis is a deformity of the spine. It affects people of all ages but is often diagnosed in the early teens. Some cases are mild enough that treatment is unnecessary, but the condition can also worsen with age. Standard scoliosis care includes body braces, but people with more severe cases may require surgery.
The symptoms resulting from scoliosis are more varied than just a curved spine.
Scoliosis causes the spine to curve side to side, anywhere from a very small curve to a shape approaching a C or S. This curvature is the most obvious symptom of scoliosis, but it can be so minimal that only an x-ray shows any issue. In some people, the severity of the curve increases as they get older.
Doctors define a spine curve of less than 25 percent as mild scoliosis; from 25 percent to 40 percent is moderate, and over 40 percent is severe.
Uneven shoulders are another visible scoliosis symptom. The spinal curvature can cause one shoulder to sit higher than the other, or the hips to be unlevel. One shoulder blade may also stick out more than the other. In some people, this causes significant discomfort or pain.
This condition can cause the body to lean to the left, right, or forward. Walking can be painful with this condition. The severity of the lean varies in line with the severity of the disease.
Scoliosis affects the shape of the body in a way that makes this person's clothes ill-fitting. While this is a minor annoyance, it can be a source of frustration and discomfort.
Scoliosis symptoms tend to become more severe with the passage of time as discs degenerate. A curvature of the spine that first appears in teenage years may increase by as much as two percent a year in this person's adult years. Medical researchers discovered that if a teen has a spinal curve of less than 30 percent, it is unlikely to increase later. However, if the curve is greater than 30 percent, further degeneration may be inevitable.
Pain in the lower back is one of the most common symptoms that teenagers with scoliosis mention to their doctors. At first sight, the link between lower back pain and curvature of the spine seems to be obvious, but doctors are less sure about the connection. Some argue that it is unlikely that this spine problem could put pressure on any of the body's organs. They believe that the back pains are likely linked to participation in vigorous sports or other similar activities while the body is still maturing.
Scoliosis is just one of many possible factors that might cause a person to suffer from excessive fatigue. It is easy to recognize extreme cases of fatigue, especially if it follows physical activity. However, minor cases of fatigue may be overlooked by doctors and caregivers.
Chronic headaches can be indicative of serious underlying health problems. Because they are common, the presence of a headache does not point to scoliosis. However, when they occur alongside other symptoms of this condition, their severity should be discussed with a doctor.
A weak sense of balance, along with the physical characteristics that scoliosis causes, can cause a person with scoliosis to feel particularly clumsy. Clumsiness is a common symptom of serious cases of scoliosis. As the disease progresses, difficulties with balance will continue.
Patients with severe cases of scoliosis often experience digestive problems. Particularly when the curve is greater than 70 percent, patients feel full after eating a very small amount of food. This is because their stomach is compressed. This can also lead to excess gas, indigestion, and constipation.
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