Definition of Scoliosis (Skoliosis)
The definition of scoliosis is an abnormal side-bending curvature of the spine. However, the definition of scoliosis is incomplete without understanding its long-term effects, age groups it affects, and what options sufferers have in dealing with scoliosis. In this section of our site, we will briefly summarize these topics with the hope of providing you a basic understating of what defines scoliosis and what you can do if you or a loved one suffers from scoliotic conditions.
Simply put, scoliosis causes the backbone to be curved to one side if you are viewing a person’s spine from the rear. A healthy normal spine should run straight down the middle, but those who suffer from a scoliotic condition will have a spine that bends to either the left or to the right. Smaller curves are harder to detect, while larger curves are easily identified as they may produce a hump adjacent to the spine.
By Definition, the Side-Bending Curve Must be at least 10-degrees for the spine to be classified as Scoliotic
The clinical definition of scoliosis is a diagnostic term given to abnormal curves that measure more than ten degrees. Our renowned doctors of chiropractic and our expert clinical teams that complete the best of physiotherapists in Malaysia will not classify or define curves under ten degrees as scoliosis. However, a side-bending curve of fewer than ten degrees bears repeated assessments, especially if the patient is under the age of ten. Many clinicians often hastily dismiss curves under 10-degrees, only to find progression later on as the child grew. But the 10-degrees rule is not set in stone. In other words, the 10-degree rule is workable and should be applied if the patient has not passed the age of rapid growth.
Defining the C-shaped and S-shaped Scoliotic Spines
Our clinical teams will use the letter “C” or “S” in their description of a scoliotic condition. C-shaped curves are similar to a C while S-shaped scoliosis resembles the letter S. C-shaped scoliosis is a single curve, whereas, for the S-type, two curves are present. S-shaped scoliosis is also known as double scoliosis. Double scoliosis is notoriously tricky to manage and associated with a faster progression.
The difficulty with S-shaped scoliosis is due to the nature of the curve. With a double scoliotic condition, the spine bends, but it also rotates as it bends. This coupled motion of abnormal side bending with rotation (turning) is the leading reason for its rapid progression.
The best definition of scoliosis is the one given by our director, Dr. Yama Zafer (Doctor of Chiropractic), who defines scoliosis as a three-dimensional disorder of the spine that involves bending and twisting in multiple planes. According to Dr. Yama Zafer, the three-dimensional component of scoliosis has been known for decades, but there are some who are still unaware of facts. This lack of awareness is the primary reason why many centers fail to obtain the needed stability when it comes to scoliosis.
What are the Common Causes of a Scoliotic Spine?
Approximately 80% of scoliotic cases are of unknown cause. In other words, since has yet to establish why the spine curves and bends in an unnatural way and as such the most common terms for scoliosis are those that have the word “idiopathic” assigned to them:
Scoliotic curves with apparent caused are classified as a structural and non-structural scoliosis.
Structural scoliosis is harder to manage and correct. In this group, the patient’s spine is rigid and will not correct. Often, the definition of scoliosis for the structural type is linked to causes that include the following conditions:
- Muscular dystrophy
- Cerebral palsy
- Birth Defects
- Genetic disorders such as Down syndrome or Marfan syndrome
In contrast to the structural form of scoliosis, the nonstructural scoliosis is a condition in which the spine is relatively healthy, but bent to one side. The most common cause of non-structural scoliosis is short anatomical leg length or muscular spasms.
Can scoliosis be prevented?
There are far too many rumors and old wives tales when it comes to scoliosis, and almost all are to be taken with a grain of salt. We will point some of them out for you here.
Some believe that sports in early childhood can lead to the scoliotic condition. This is a classic tale that is untrue, so don’t limit your young one for fear of developing a scoliotic condition.
Poor Posture, Heavy School Bags, and Your Spine
Also, there are rumors out there that heavy school bags can lead to scoliosis. Heavy school bags are not good for the spine, but their link as a root-cause of scoliosis has been debunked; however, if your child has a mild curve, the heavy school bag can further aggravate and stress spinal joints to a point where the mild scoliotic condition progresses to a more severe degree. The ideal weight for book bags is one where the bag is less than 10% of your child’s weight. However, we encourage all to keep book bags at about 5-7% of body weight; if your loved one has to carry heavier bags, get them book bags with wheels.
Lastly, poor posture dose does not cause scoliosis, but it can dramatically impact a scoliotic condition. Our advice: Don’t tell your kids that! Make them aware of poor posture, as poor posture is the leading cause of back pain and early degenerative changes. If these degenerative changes are not kept in check, scoliosis can develop in adult life, and as such, it is termed adult degenerative scoliosis.
We hope to have provided you a well-balanced definition of scoliosis. For more information about scoliosis or the best scoliosis treatment in Malaysia, please call or visit one of our centers today.