Scoliosis is a condition that affects the spine and can appear in adults or in children. It is characterized by a curvature of the spine to either the left or the right. While the most common place for the spine to be curved is the chest area, the lower back is also a place that it can bend.
Unfortunately, there no known cause for scoliosis. It can range from moderate to severe and some patients have even required surgery to correct issues caused by it. Most children, however, do not require a specific type of treatment because it is usually something that they outgrow as they age. But, for those who do require treatment, leaving the issue as is, can cause serious damage to the heart, lungs, spine, pelvis or chest.
There are many ways that you notice the signs of scoliosis, especially in children. For starters, the shoulders may not be the same height or the head may not be centered directly above the pelvis region. Also, you may find that the ribcage is not symmetrical or that one shoulder blade is higher than the other. For babies, you may see that they seem to lie consistently to one side.
To test for it in an adult, there are a few steps that you can go through to determine if you have scoliosis. To begin with, you will need one or two people to look at your back through the process. You will then lean forward as you are keeping your feet together. Eventually, you should bend at the waist 90 degrees.
The person who is observing your back will stand behind you and note any curvatures that they see in your spine. Some, with more extreme cases of the condition, may even be able to look in a full length mirror to help them determine if their hips are out of line.
Keep in mind that while this may help you determine if there is a curvature, you will not be able to determine the severity of the condition unless you receive a diagnosis from your doctor. Since there are many health concerns involved for those with scoliosis, it is important that you visit with your doctor if you believe that you have this condition.
While about 80% of cases are caused by unknown circumstances, there are some theories that have surfaced for the remaining 20%. Some of these may be due to conditions that are related to the nerves and muscles, like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. Since children with these issues are often not able to walk upright, scoliosis can develop.
Other cases are caused when children are born with the condition due to the spine not developing properly when they are still in the womb. Others develop it through genetics, bad posture, leg length, carrying heavy backpacks, and exercise. Regardless of the cause of the scoliosis, it is important that you have it checked out by a doctor.