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Scoliosis
by Mel July 2nd 2010, 05:11 AM

Article featured in Avatar - Volume 3, Issue 12 (June 2010).


Scoliosis
by Briana


June marks Scoliosis Awareness Month. Scoliosis is the curving of the spinal cord and is a genetic disorder that can affect both females and males between the ages of six and fourteen. However, this disorder is more common in females.

A person without scoliosis may have zero to fifteen degrees of a curve in their spinal cord, whereas someone who has scoliosis will have a curve between thirty and ninety degrees. A few signs that a person may have scoliosis are uneven shoulders, waist, or hips. If a person bends over, scoliosis can be very apparent, as the spine would be curved in a different direction and one shoulder blade may be more prominent. To be diagnosed with scoliosis, a person would need to see their doctor and be referred for further tests, such as an MRI scan, x-rays of the spine, and neurological tests.

There are a couple of different ways to treat scoliosis, such as wearing a brace or having surgery. When a patient is first diagnosed with scoliosis, the doctor will typically have them fitted for a brace. Braces help to gradually push the spine back into a normal position. There are a few different braces: the Boston brace, the Milwaukee brace, and the Charleston brace. The Boston brace is plastic and covers all of the person's body under the arms and above the hips; this is the general brace to be worn. Usually, patients wear the brace up to twenty-three hours per day. The Milwaukee brace will most likely go above the arms and have a neck ring to hold it in place. It is similar to the Boston brace because it should be worn for twenty-three hours as well. Lastly, the Charleston brace is also known as a night time brace. When the patient goes to have this brace molded, they bend in a certain direction to push the spine back in place. With this brace, patients may pick different patterns or colours to personalize it and make it their own.

Another form of treatment is spinal fusion surgery. Usually, doctors will only perform this type of surgery if the curve exceeds fifty-five degrees. Spinal fusion is a major surgery and could last up to eight hours. During the procedure, doctors will open the back and place metal rods on to the spine to straighten it out. If a patient has two curves, one on the top and another on the bottom, they can not correct the whole spine. If they did, the patient would not be able to bend at the hips very well.

My sister and I were both born with this genetic disorder. My sister had a Boston brace and I had a Charleston brace. She went into surgery around the age of twelve and had a double spinal fusion. The doctors thought I had stopped growing, but by the time I was twelve, they did not see the need to perform surgery. When I was seventeen, I had a lot of pain in my back. I went to the doctor and my curve went from a forty-five degree to a seventy degree. In December of 2009, I had a double spinal fusion. I was in the hospital for five days and it took months to recover. I still have a small curve on my lower spine, which causes my hips to be uneven. Having two metal rods on the spine, I had to learn how to modify the way I performed different actions, such as tying my shoes or bending over to pick something up. Usually, people can bend using their backs, whereas I can only bend from my hips. The plus side from having the surgery done, however, is that I have perfect posture and cannot slouch.

Unfortunately, scoliosis can cause major problems in different parts of the body. Some curves can actually compress lungs and make it hard to breathe. Other times, such as in my case, scoliosis can cause hips to be uneven and legs to be bowed. After my spinal fusion, I had two more surgeries to correct my bowed legs, adding up to three major surgeries in a time frame of a year. I now have a plate in each thigh holding my thigh bone together.

Scoliosis can be a disorder difficult to deal with. One of the best treatments is having someone who is always there through all of the struggles of scoliosis. People with this disorder are not different from anyone else. If you or someone you know has scoliosis, remember you are not alone in any way.
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Re: Scoliosis - March 1st 2017, 01:38 AM

Unfortunately, scoliosis can cause major problems in different parts of the body. Some curves can actually compress lungs and make it hard to breathe. Other times, such as in my case, scoliosis can cause hips to be uneven and legs to be bowed. After my spinal fusion, I had two more surgeries to correct my bowed legs, adding up to three major surgeries in a time frame of a year. I now have a plate in each thigh holding my thigh bone together.
In bow legged adults,certain bone infections such as bacterial infections that result in disfigured bones can be treated with antibiotics.
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