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General Information on Scoliosis

Scoliosis refers to curvatures of the spine when observed from the front or behind. The body is bent sideways. Therefore, usually, one shoulder is higher from the other. Sometimes a hump is observed on one side of the back, especially when the patient leans forward. Here, the ribs on the back of the rib cage have an asymmetrical backwards protrusion. Scoliosis should not be confused with kyphosis. Kyphosis is an increase in the curvature of the backbone in particular, and sometimes the neck and lumbar spine, while looking at the spine from the side. Sometimes scoliosis and kyphosis may be seen together.

Children who are diagnosed with scoliosis are first examined for other possible developmental anomalies in the spine. In these children, sometimes pathologies such as split spinal cord syndrome (diastematomyelia) and tethered cord syndrome may be seen. Scoliosis may show symptoms in children and adolescents as externally visible curvatures in the body, different alignment levels of the shoulders or protrusions, humps on the back, which becomes prominent when leaning forward. In adult-onset scoliosis in adults and the elderly, the complaints are usually related to lower back and leg pain, gait disorders, and balance problems. It may cause findings such as posture (standing) and balance disruptions.

Patients suspected of scoliosis usually require radiological examination after medical examination. The examination usually begins with scoliosis radiography. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is used for a detailed examination of the spinal cord and soft tissues, and Computed Tomography (CT) is used for a detailed examination of the bones. Scoliosis in the thoracic region (back) may cause the narrowing of the rib cage and respiratory issues as a result of decreased lung capacity, especially in children. It may be necessary to perform respiratory tests on such patients.

Some scoliosis cases are followed-up with conservative treatment, while others require surgical treatment. While it is sometimes necessary to offer corsets to the scoliosis patients who are monitored, they sometimes undergo exercise programs by physical therapists.

Scoliosis cases are examined under various classifications. Scoliosis that develops due to unknown causes during childhood is referred to as idiopathic scoliosis, scoliosis that is linked to neurological or muscular diseases is referred to as neuromuscular scoliosis, scoliosis due to developmental anomalies of the spine which are present at birth is referred to as congenital scoliosis, and adult scoliosis that is observed with degeneration in older people is referred to as adult degenerative scoliosis.

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