Scoliosis is a lateral deviation of the spine with rotation of the vertebral bodies. The spine is twisted and bent in itself. The degree of curvature can vary.
What is the cause of scoliosis?
In most cases, no direct cause for scoliosis is known. It has now been confirmed that a certain predisposition may exist. However, there is no talk of direct heredity. In rare cases, the cause is a congenital malformation, muscle or nerve disease, or an accident.
Symptoms: How can I recognize scoliosis?
While a slight deformation of the spine can only be detected by looking closely or during a further examination, a severe deformation is clearly visible. It is not uncommon for one shoulder to hang lower than the other, for the pelvis to be crooked, for the shoulder blade to protrude and, in very pronounced cases, for the person affected to have a rib hump.
Diagnosis of scoliosis
A physical examination and X-rays confirm the suspicion of scoliosis. In addition, a large-format X-ray of the entire lumbar and thoracic spine is used to analyze the severity of the scoliosis.
Scoliosis usually develops during a growth phase, for example before or during puberty. Since the bending can worsen significantly during growth, early diagnosis is important in order to take even slight deformities seriously and to begin therapy.
Therapy: How is scoliosis treated?
Therapy for scoliosis should begin at an early age, as long as the spine is not yet fully grown. At this time, conservative therapy is still possible by means of a fitted corset.
When is spinal surgery necessary?
In severe cases of scoliosis, surgery should be considered to prevent long-term health problems. For example, spinal curvature can affect lung function in the long term, as well as physical activity. And back pain is also a possibility, as it is easier for wear and tear to occur in the spine. However, the decision to operate must always be made on an individual basis.
In an operation lasting several hours, the shape of the spine is corrected or sections are stiffened using special screws and thus stabilized. As a rule, scoliosis is operated on lying on the stomach, but this is also individual.
Sport with scoliosis
Even those who suffer from scoliosis are allowed to do sports. This is even recommended to strengthen the entire back and trunk muscles. Sport can thus be supportive of the physiotherapy already prescribed. However, the question of "sport with scoliosis" must always be considered on an individual basis, with regard to the extent of the scoliosis, the patient's age, pain and the respective type or intensity of sport.
Gentle and suitable sports are swimming, cycling and Nordic walking. Sports such as tennis or squash, on the other hand, are less suitable because the jerky and jolting movements put additional strain on the spine.