Scoliosis : symptoms, degrees, causes, types and treatment of scoliosis

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Scoliosis : symptoms, degrees, causes, types and treatment of scoliosis




Various postural disorders in children, adolescents, and even adults are common. 
Without treatment, uncomplicated forms turn into scoliosis – this disease causes a three-plane deformation of the spinal column in humans. Occasionally, scoliosis is congenital: in this case, the position of the spine is disturbed already from the birth of the child. Scoliosis: Symptoms, degrees, causes, types, and treatment of scoliosis

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis of the spine is a persistent deformation of the axial skeleton of a person, which is characterized by lateral curvature in relation to the normal position of the spinal column. What is a simple language? Pathology causes a change in the location of part of the vertebrae due to lateral displacement, to the right or left side. In the pathological process with scoliosis, all parts of the spine can be involved, in addition, if there is a problem in one department, anomalies occur in all other segments and other organs:

What is scoliosis?

  • curvature in the forward or backward direction;
  • twisting of the spinal column;
  • secondary chest deformity;
  • violation of the position of the pelvic bones.

In addition to troubles with the musculoskeletal system, advanced cases of the disease lead to damage to the lungs and heart. Most often, the pathology develops during the active growth of the skeleton – at 4-7 years, at 10-15 years. Often, a sharp progression of the disease occurs at this age, especially if the child has even minimal disturbances in posture. If the latter can be cured by simple exercises and exercise therapy, then with the disease with different types of scoliosis, a combined approach will have to be used.



Types of Scoliosis

Since the spine consists of three sections, scoliosis can develop in any of them, depending on what is classified into the following types:

  1. Cervicothoracic. It is rarely observed. The peak of the curvature occurs in 3-4 vertebrae in the chest area.
  2. Thoracic or thoracolumbar. A common, but severe form – in this case, scoliosis can disrupt the functioning of vital organs, cause the appearance of a hump, severe back pain.
  3. Lumbar. It does not give severe symptoms, is relatively easy, progresses slowly, but can cause the development of osteochondrosis.
  4. Lumbosacral. It is rarely registered, it provokes a distortion of the pelvis, sacrum, and leads to asymmetry of the legs.

Types of scoliosis are also subdivided according to the specific form of curvature of the spine:

Types of Scoliosis

  • S-shaped – complex curvature with the formation of two arcs (scoliotic, compensatory), while the back resembles the letter of the same name;
  • C-shaped – the most “popular”, causes the appearance of one arc, which is clearly visible when tilted;
  • Z-shaped – a severe form with 3 lateral bends, is rare, is treated operatively.

Vertebrologists and orthopedists subdivide scoliosis into progressive and non-progressive. Also, all types of pathology are conditionally divided into two large groups:

  1. Structural scoliosis. It causes a persistent change in the position of the vertebrae themselves. For the reason, structural scoliosis is divided into traumatic, cicatricial, metabolic, osteopathic, myopathic.
  2. Unstructured scoliosis. It leads to normal lateral curvature of the spinal column without rotation of the vertebrae. Depending on the cause, non-structural scoliosis can be postural, compensatory, reflex, hysterical.

What is scoliosis and when does it occur? Usually, the disease develops in childhood, therefore it is divided into the following forms: infantile (at 1-2 years old), juvenile (at 4-6 years old), teenage (at 10-14 years old). Scoliosis: Symptoms, degrees, causes, types, and treatment of scoliosis

Degrees of scoliosis

Scoliosis of the 1st degree  – the angle of curvature of the spine – 5-10 °, changes in the structure of the spinal column are noticeable only when tilted. The patient feels mostly mild symptoms of fatigue, difficulty maintaining his back in a level position, in some cases, stiffness of movements is manifested.



Scoliosis 2 degrees  – the angle of curvature of the spine – 11-25 °. The processes of light torsion (twisting) of the vertebrae begin. The patient has a disturbed gait, posture, periodic back pain appears. Also visible are shoulders located at different levels, bulging shoulder blades.

Scoliosis 3 degrees  – the angle of curvature of the spine – 26-50 °. The twisting of the vertebrae is already pronounced, a rib hump appears. The patient has numbness of the limbs, headaches, and dizziness, back pain, sciatica, breathing problems, impaired functioning of the heart and digestive organs.

Scoliosis of 4 degrees  – the angle of curvature of the spine – more than 50 °. It is characterized by disturbances in the work of most organs and systems, mainly musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular and digestive. There is a curvature of the pelvis, an asymmetric arrangement of the legs.

Degrees of scoliosis

Causes of the disease

What is scoliosis, and why does it develop? There are a huge number of causes of the disease, but they are found out only for 20% of all cases of scoliosis. The remaining 80% is the curvature of the spine of an unclear etiology, and it occurs in childhood, more often in girls. Presumably, the reason is a low tone of the spinal muscles, when with active growth the muscle corset is not able to keep the vertebrae in an anatomically correct state. Risk factors in these situations are:

  • sleep on a too-soft mattress;
  • Carrying a school bag in your hand and not on your back;
  • improper posture in the classroom, at home, when sitting;
  • sedentary lifestyle;
  • other forms of violation of the orthopedic regimen.

Scoliosis is a disease that can even be congenital. Usually, sick babies have other skeletal structure disorders. The traumatic form occurs after bruises, vertebral fractures or failed operations. When one leg is shortened, the spinal column adjusts compensatory, and without wearing special heels or shoes begins to bend.

Causes of the disease

In adults, less often in children, scoliosis can be caused by serious diseases:

  • osteochondrosis ;
  • osteoporosis;
  • hernias;
  • poliomyelitis;
  • spondylitis;
  • metabolic diseases;
  • myopathies;
  • muscular dystrophy.

Symptoms of Scoliosis




Initially, it is almost impossible to independently determine scoliotic deformity and identify the disease. That is why it is worth regularly showing the child to an orthopedist so that at the scheduled appointment in time to identify the first stage of the pathology. Later, scoliosis is already starting to cause unpleasant symptoms:

  • visually noticeable asymmetry of the shoulders, shoulder blades, hips;
  • strong bulging of the scapular angle on one side of the spine;
  • a feeling of stiffness, the presence of a foreign body in the back;
  • general decrease in working capacity, faster fatigue;
  • pain in the chest, back, lower back;
  • increased pain after long sitting or physical work;
  • with a cervical form of pathology – headaches, aching in the neck, shoulders, arm on one side;
  • resting the body more on one side than the other.

Symptoms of Scoliosis

Then the pathology begins to cause even more severe symptoms. The chest is deformed, a characteristic cavity appears on the bone, and a “hump” grows on the back. Torsion (twisting) of the vertebrae can join. Since the chest is compressed, the heart and respiratory system work worse. There is a risk of developing gastrointestinal diseases, nervous system diseases, limb size reduction due to insufficient blood supply.Scoliosis: Symptoms, degrees, causes, types, and treatment of scoliosis

Diagnostics of Scoliosis

Most often, the initial stages of the disease are detected at a scheduled appointment with a doctor. After conducting an examination and a series of physical tests, curvature can be detected. After the orthopedist or vertebrologist will evaluate the condition of the body according to the following signs:

  • the length of both legs;
  • symmetry of large joints;
  • the presence of kyphosis;
  • degree of spinal mobility;
  • symmetry of the shoulder blades, shoulders, muscles at the waist;
  • the correct structure of the chest;
  • muscle tone;
  • total length of the spinal column;
  • the location of the pelvis, internal organs.

Further, the patient must be referred to as instrumental studies. To make an accurate diagnosis, a simple method is enough – radiography of the back (standing and lying, including stretching). Pictures will need to be taken regularly to notice any changes in the state of the body in time. Measuring the exact angle of lateral scoliosis will help drawing the image with special lines on which you can make all the necessary calculations. Also, from the picture, we can conclude that there is one or more altered vertebrae:

Diagnostics of Scoliosis

  • beveled;
  • deformed;
  • turned sideways;
  • semi-vertebrae.

If necessary, more frequent monitoring of the condition of the spine to eliminate the harm from radiography is performed by other methods – ultrasound and MRI, as well as scoliometer. MRI is additionally performed to clarify the causes of back disease and in complex cases of scoliosis.Scoliosis: Symptoms, degrees, causes, types, and treatment of scoliosis

Massage, exercise therapy, manual therapy

1-2 stages of scoliosis of the spine can be corrected with the help of manual therapy, massage. In the course of performing special manipulations, the methods have the following actions:


  • increased muscle tone;
  • alignment of the vertebrae;
  • normalization of the location of intervertebral discs, ribs;
  • improved blood circulation;
  • removal of muscle clamps;
  • elimination of pain – aching, shooting.

To fix the achieved results in straightening the curvature should be with the help of exercise therapy. If you do not strengthen the muscle corset, scoliosis will quickly make itself felt again. Therapeutic exercises will correct posture, relieve stress from the vertebrae, and establish metabolic processes. The complex should be selected individually, which depends on the severity of the disease. First, a warm-up and stretching are carried out, then – the main block of exercises.

Massage, exercise therapy, manual therapy scoliosis

Most often, one course of exercise therapy lasts 3-4 months, then other classes are selected, including supporting ones. It is recommended to swim in parallel since this type of physical activity affects all muscles at once. Until the age of 14, most often the listed methods of treatment are enough to completely eliminate the problem, of course, if the degree of the disease does not exceed the 2nd.

Physiotherapy and drugs

Physiotherapy for a disease such as scoliosis is a necessary step. Treatment helps to strengthen muscles, improve blood supply to the spine and eliminate pain, cramping, and stiffness. Most often, muscle myostimulation is prescribed – “lazy gymnastics”, which is performed to enhance the effectiveness of exercise therapy. Courses are also assigned:

  • ultrasound;
  • magnetotherapy;
  • ozokerite;
  • paraffin wax;
  • electrophoresis;
  • baths – salt, coniferous.

Drug therapy is not basic, because it is not able to correct the curvature. But the medications have a strong symptomatic effect and make the patient’s life easier. NSAIDs are assigned more often (Meloxicam, Arcoxia, Ketanov) to relieve pain, eliminate inflammation in the muscles. With severe soreness, the local administration of anesthetic drugs (Novocaine, Procaine) is possible. To improve the functioning of nerve trunks, B vitamins are introduced into the course in the form of complex preparations (Milgamma, Neuromultivit). Children are simultaneously given funds with vitamin D, calcium, fish oil.Scoliosis: Symptoms, degrees, causes, types, and treatment of scoliosis

Other treatments for scoliosis

An operation is prescribed if the angle of curvature of the spine is more than 40 degrees. Surgical treatment may also be required in milder cases, but for certain reasons for the development of the disease (myodystrophy, trauma, an anomaly in the structure of the vertebra, etc.). Straighten the position of the spinal column to a physiologically correct angle, using metal rods, plates, followed by complete immobilization of the patient. Often, insertion of bone inserts between the vertebrae is required, for example, in the presence of half-vertebrae.

Patients are shown treatment in sanatoriums as an additional measure to improve blood circulation and symptomatic effects. Assigned baths, mud, therapeutic shower, massage, training on simulators. The passage of therapy in sanatoriums helps to accelerate and consolidate the results, including after the operation.

Folk remedies are a symptomatic part of the overall treatment. Alternative methods will help relieve pain and muscle stiffness in scoliosis. You can perform baths with pine needles, decoction of aspen bark, as well as compresses, rub back ointments – all this will help to quickly eliminate muscle spasm. Infusions of medicinal herbs are also taken orally (saber, comfrey, St. John’s wort) for 1-2 months.

Disease prevention

To prevent the disease, there are preventive measures – scoliosis can be prevented. Need to:

  • sit correctly, walk with a straight back;
  • sleep only on an orthopedic mattress;
  • exclude excess weight, sedentary lifestyle;
  • organize a diet according to the principles of a healthy diet, eat more vitamin food;
  • swim, ski;
  • when sitting, use comfortable tables and chairs, if necessary, buy special devices for the back, legs.

Often, scoliosis develops during pregnancy, therefore, with a tendency to curvature of the back, special corsets should be worn and exercise therapy done as prescribed by the doctor.

Scoliosis: Symptoms, degrees, causes, types, and treatment of scoliosis


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