What are the early signs of scoliosis?

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Scoliosis is when the spine curves sideways creating a C or S-shaped curve. This happens most often during the growth spurts right before puberty. Over time, cases of scoliosis can get worse. This often results in reduced space around the chest which sometimes makes it difficult for the lungs to properly function. Because scoliosis commonly appears in early adolescence, it is important to recognize the warning signs. The warning signs of scoliosis in adolescents include:

  • Pant legs, sleeves or hemlines appearing uneven 
  • Uneven arm length or shoulder heights 
  • A slight limp 
  • Sore back, tingling, or numbness
  • One breast more prominent than the other

In infants, the symptoms include: 

  • A bulge on either side of the chest
  • The infant may lie curved to one side consistently
  • In more severe cases, shortness of breath and chest pain can occur 

In adults, the warning signs may progress if they have had it since childhood but were not diagnosed. As you get older with scoliosis, the curves can grow. Another form of scoliosis can also form in adults. The disks that sit in between the bones and joints in your spine start to break down causing them to tilt. This leads to the spine starting to curve. One of the first signs to look out for with scoliosis is back pain. The spine curving can put pressure on nerves causing tingling and numbness. In adults, symptoms of scoliosis include:

  • Uneven shoulders/hips
  • Bump in the  lower back
  • Trouble walking or standing up straight 
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decrease in height
  • Bone spurs (bony bumps in joints of the spine)
  • Feeling full quickly after eating (this is from pressure put on your stomach from your spine)

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and believe you may have scoliosis, a spine surgeon on Long Island at New York Orthopedic Spinal Associates can help you. 

What Leads to the Development of Scoliosis?

There is no definite cause of scoliosis. It is more common in females than males (a 9:1 ratio).  The reason for this is also unknown, but it may be due to a genetic tendency or the alteration of hormones. In adults, the development of scoliosis can be caused by the result of the slow curving of childhood curves in the spine that were left untreated.  If you are looking for a Spine Surgeon on Long Island, New York Orthopedic Spinal Associates can help you with diagnosing your scoliosis or helping you with untreated scoliosis that has developed with age. Some possible causes for Scoliosis include:

  • Congenital scoliosis: this is very rare and occurs when the spine grows abnormally when inside the mother
  • Specific Genes
  • Leg Length: if one leg is longer than the other, this can lead to the development of scoliosis 
  • Syndromic Scoliosis: this is when scoliosis forms from another disease such as neurofibromatosis or Marfan’s syndrome 
  • Other causes include:
    • Bad posture
    • Carrying heavy backpacks
    • Connective tissue disorders 

 Less common types could be caused by:

  • Cerebral Palsy or Muscular Dystro Trophy
  • Birth defects that affect the development of the spine 
  • Injuries/Infections of the Spine 

What are the Risk Factors of Scoliosis?

  • Age: most cases of scoliosis develop right before puberty (9-15 years)
  • Sex: Females have a higher risk than males of the curves worsening 
  • Family History: Scoliosis can be hereditary 

How Is Scoliosis Diagnosed?

A spine surgeon on Long Island at the New York Orthopedic Spinal Associates can diagnose you with scoliosis and come up with the best treatment plan for you. We diagnose scoliosis through a series of tests that include: 

  • A physical examination of the back, shoulders, hips, and waist
  • Neurological examinations to evaluate muscle strength, reflexes, and areas that are numb
  • Imaging Tests
  • Diagnostic tests such as CT, MRI, and bone scans 
  • A spinal curve measurement using a tool called a scoliometer

Make an appointment with a spine surgeon on Long Island today and take the next step in treating your scoliosis.

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