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What Is Scoliosis? [Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments]

23 April 2024

What Is Scoliosis? How to Avoid It at Work?

Amidst the hustle of daily work, it's easy to neglect our health, yet paying attention to conditions like scoliosis is essential. Scoliosis, a condition that might seem enigmatic to many, is a sideways curvature of the spine that can affect anyone. This guide aims to demystify scoliosis by delving into its causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention strategies. By understanding scoliosis better, we can take proactive steps to safeguard our well-being.

Was it scoliosis?

Scoliosis, scolios in Greek, means bending. It is a complex medical condition characterized by a three-dimensional curvature of the spine, often accompanied by a lateral bend of at least 10 degrees Cobb angle. This deformation includes lateral bending and torsion, where the vertebral bodies are twisted, deviated, and rotated. Unlike a poor posture, scoliosis cannot be straightened through one's efforts.

The spine consists of approximately 33 vertebral bones interconnected by bone processes and discs acting as shock absorbers. Normally, when viewed from the side, the spine forms a double "S" shape, with the cervical and lumbar regions curving forward (lordosis) and the thoracic and sacral regions curving backward (kyphosis). However, scoliosis disrupts this structure, causing the spine to curve forward, backward, and to the side.

What Causes Scoliosis?

Research indicates that approximately 30% of scoliosis cases have a genetic predisposition, while acquired conditions during development account for up to 70%. In detail, this disease can stem from a range of causes. Here are four common causes:

Idiopathic Scoliosis

This is the most common type of scoliosis, and the exact scoliosis ursache remains largely unknown, hence the term "idiopathic," which means "of unknown origin." It typically presents during adolescence but can be detected at any age. Despite extensive research, the exact cause remains elusive, though genetics may play a role.

Congenital Scoliosis

Congenital scoliosis is present at birth and results from a malformation of the spine during embryonic development. This type is caused by one or more vertebrae that are improperly formed, leading to the spinal curvature. It can be associated with other organ anomalies.

Neuromuscular Scoliosis

Neuromuscular scoliosis is a spinal curvature caused by underlying neuromuscular conditions. Its most common causes include conditions such as cerebral palsy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, VACTERL diseases, and neurofibromatosis. These conditions result in muscle weakness, imbalance, or neurological dysfunction. Disease progression depends on factors including the age of onset and skeletal maturity.

Secondary Scoliosis

It refers to spinal curvature that develops as a result of another underlying condition or factor, such as trauma, degenerative disc disease, or osteoporosis. Unlike idiopathic scoliosis, which has no known cause, secondary scoliosis can be attributed to a specific underlying condition or event. Treatment for secondary scoliosis often focuses on addressing the underlying cause alongside managing the spinal curvature itself.

What Are the Symptoms Associated with Scoliosis?

Scoliosis can manifest with various symptoms, although some cases may not display any noticeable signs initially. Common symptoms include:

1. An uneven alignment of the shoulders and hips leads to asymmetry in the body.

2. Protrusion of a shoulder blade (one shoulder blade appearing more prominent than the other)

3. Waist asymmetry (or irregular waistline)

4. Back pain, particularly in the lower back

5. Pelvic tilt

6. Chest asymmetry (one side of the ribcage being higher than the other)

7. Visible rib hump, lumbar bulge

8. Changes in skin appearance over the spine

9. Deviation of the spine's bony prominences

These scoliosis symptoms may vary in severity and presentation depending on factors such as age, progression of the condition, and the degree of spinal curvature. However, in most cases, the visible curvature of the spine may cause clothes to fit differently or appear uneven when standing upright. Additionally, individuals with scoliosis might experience discomfort or fatigue after prolonged periods of sitting or standing. If you experience similar discomfort, consult a doctor as soon as possible.

How to Treat Scoliosis?

Treating scoliosis needs a multifaceted approach tailored to the severity of the curve, the cause, and the patient's age and general health. Here are the primary treatment options:

Active Observation

1. Frequency: Every 4 to 6 months.

2. Method: Regular monitoring of spine growth.

3. Care Tips: Treatment is initiated if curvature worsens.

Physical Therapy (e.g., Schroth Therapy)

1. Frequency: Typically 2-3 times per week.

2. Method: Specific exercises targeting posture, breathing, and muscle strength.

3. Care Tips: Consistency in therapy sessions is important for effectiveness.

Orthotic Bracing

1. Frequency: Worn consistently, typically throughout the day.

2. Method: Braces apply pressure to the spine to prevent curvature progression.

3. Care Tips: Proper fitting and adherence to the wearing schedule are crucial for effectiveness.

Surgery (for Severe Conditions)

1. Frequency: Typically a one-time procedure.

2. Method: Surgical insertion of rods, wires, or screws to straighten and stabilize the spine.

3. Care Tips: Need post-operative rehabilitation and follow-up care for recovery.

Regular Physical Exercise

1. Frequency: Regularly, as part of daily routine.

2. Method: Engaging in activities, including specific scoliosis übungen, to enhance overall well-being and strengthen back muscles.

3. Care Tips: Avoid high-impact exercises that may worsen curvature.

Alternative Treatments (e.g., Chiropractic Care)

1. Frequency: Starting at 2-3 times weekly, then decreasing as symptoms improve, possibly to monthly sessions for maintenance.

2. Method: Chiropractors use manual manipulation techniques to adjust the spine and improve its alignment.

3. Care Tips: Find a chiropractor experienced in scoliosis treatment and discuss treatment goals and expectations. Chiropractic care may be used as a complementary therapy alongside other treatments such as physical therapy or orthotic bracing. Regular follow-up appointments may be necessary to monitor progress and adjust treatment as needed.

How to Prevent Scoliosis in the Office?

Scoliosis is terrible, but prevention is possible by creating a supportive and ergonomic workspace in the office. Implementing simple adjustments and adopting healthy habits can also help to minimize the risk of developing or exacerbating scoliosis-related issues while working at their desks. Find out 4 specific ways below to prevent the disease as much as possible.

Use Ergonomic Chairs

An ergonomic chairs can reduce back pain and discomfort, promoting spinal alignment and reducing the risk of scoliosis-related issues. FlexiSpot BS11 Pro is a good example, which boasts a tiltable backrest with a maximum tilt angle of 135° for relaxing comfort. Its 3D armrests can be adjusted in height, depth, and angle to prevent your arm from soreness.


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Adjust Desk Height​

The correct desk height can promote good posture. According to ergonomic guidelines, the desk height should allow for a 90-degree angle at the elbows when typing, with wrists straight and parallel to the floor. This typically corresponds to a desk height of around 29 to 30 inches (73.7 to 76.2 cm) for most individuals. Adjustments may be necessary based on personal height and ergonomic preferences.​​

Keep Items Within Reach​​

Arrange your workspace to keep frequently used items within arm's reach. This arrangement helps avoid overreaching or twisting motions that can aggravate the spine and potentially worsen scoliosis symptoms.

Take Frequent Walks

Take regular breaks once an hour to stand up and stretch or take short walks, as prolonged sitting can contribute to poor posture and back discomfort. Frequent movement throughout the day improves spinal health and reduces the risk of developing scoliosis-related issues.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the understanding was that scoliosis empowers us to take proactive steps toward prevention. We should take spinal health first as it is not just a choice but a necessity in today's fast-paced working society. By learning everything about scoliosis from causes to treatments, we can preserve our well-being in our careers.