The spine is an amazing structure; it provides support for the entire body. From the side the spine takes on an S shaped appearance with forward curvatures in the neck and lower back, and a backward curvature in the mid back region. When viewed from behind however the spine should be perfectly straight. In this configuration the spine is best able to support the body and protect the nervous system. When the spine develops an abnormal curvature to the side, it is referred to as Scoliosis.
In a small number of cases scoliosis is thought to be caused by a leg length discrepancy or a birth defect in the formation of the spine. But in the vast majority of cases there is no known cause and it is classified as idiopathic. Recent research is pointing towards a genetic defect as the main culprit. Scoliosis is more common in young, thin girls, especially dancers and gymnasts.
However, with no known cause, early detection is the best defense against scoliosis. It is most commonly detected during a growth spurt in adolescence. As the child begins to grow, the curvature worsens and thus becomes more evident. In the past, regular scoliosis screenings were done in schools across the country. However these screenings are becoming rarer and rarer and as a result the spinal curvature is not detected as early. This robs the child of valuable time to work towards preventing the curvature from getting any worse.
Traditionally minor scoliosis is treated with a “wait and see” approach. In many cases the curvature will progress. At this point a rigid brace is sometimes prescribed. Rigid bracing does nothing to correct the curvature, and only rarely stops the progression, at which time surgery is then recommended. Surgery is always a last resort.
However now there is another option for those diagnosed with Scoliosis, the SpineCor flexible dynamic brace. SpineCor’s approach is to brace the individual as soon as the curvature is diagnosed to be above 15-20 degrees. The brace itself is soft, dynamic, and unnoticeable under clothing. An individual wearing the brace is actually encouraged to move unlike a rigid brace. SpineCor bracing gets better results too! If caught early enough, progression of the curvature can typically be stopped or even corrected, leaving the prognosis of surgery much less likely than rigid bracing or doing nothing at all. For more information visit the Scoliosis Center of North Carolina.