Why It's So Important to Catch Scoliosis Early

Your skeleton is the framework that allows your body to move, walk, and run, and one of the most vital parts of your skeleton is your spine. Also called the backbone, your spine is the central support structure of the body, supporting your head and ribs (which protect your vital organs) and enabling you to bend, twist, and stand upright. Damage to your spine can mean functional problems with basic movement, which can be debilitating.


Scoliosis is a spinal condition that alters the curvature of your spine and affects up to nine million people in the US. It often affects people in their teenage years (usually between 10-15 years old) but can afflict people of all ages. Let’s examine the importance of catching this condition early by looking at what scoliosis is, its symptoms and causes, and what early diagnosis can help avoid.


At Spinal Correction Centers, you can get relief from scoliosis or other spinal conditions with the help of Drs. Stephen StellerRyan GarciaJustin Murray, and their skilled medical staff.


Understanding scoliosis


Your spine forms an S curve from three natural curvatures in its shape. Scoliosis causes an unnatural arc on one side of your spine, putting it out of alignment and leaning sideways to an S or C shape. It often affects the upper spine and lower back, but it can happen anywhere in your backbone. It isn’t always noticeable, but it can cause you to lean to one side or give you uneven shoulders or hips. Older children or younger teens are most likely to get this condition, but in rare cases, infantile scoliosis can affect children up to three years of age.


Causes and symptoms


Often scoliosis is idiopathic, meaning there is no known cause. Scoliosis is closely associated with conditions like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, birth defects, and spina bifida (vertebra do not fully cover the spinal column). Problems with the spinal curve are either structural or nonstructural. Structural complications are permanent; nonstructural problems still mean the spine is structurally normal.


Aside from uneven shoulders or waists, people with scoliosis may also experience prominence on one side over the other in their shoulder blades (scapula), their back when bending forward, or one side of their ribs may jut forward. Scoliosis can also cause your spine to twist in addition to curving unnaturally, which can affect the appearance of bones and muscles on opposite sides of the body.


The importance of early diagnosis


Since most cases affect developing children in the form of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (about 80% of cases), catching the condition before it worsens over time can help ensure their spines have normal development. Complications like breathing problems, chronic back problems, and noticeable changes in appearance (severe uneven shifting of hips, shoulders, ribs, and other body parts) can make life difficult and the condition much harder to treat.

Early stages can be hard to catch, as a sideways or lateral spinal curvature of at least ten degrees is considered scoliosis but often shows no symptoms. Even if the condition isn’t causing significant amounts of pain, it can lead to imbalances and increase the chances of muscle spasms, which can be very painful.


Early detection is critical to prevent the condition from getting worse and leading to other more harmful complications. Treatment options will be less severe in the early stages or if your scoliosis is mild. Whatever the severity of your condition, we want to help you get better. Call Spinal Correction Centers today or make an appointment online for a consultation at one of our offices in Dunedin, Largo, Riverview, or St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Riverview, FL 3356

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