Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that can cause the rib cage to loose its steadiness. Scoliosis is fairly common, affecting about 23 out of 1,000 persons and is seen more often in girls than boys. It’s found most often in the early teen years when there is a fast-growing period.

A small degree of curvature in your child may not be serious and you may not even be able to notice it. At any rate, your doctor must always check it out because the curvature is quite often greater than it appears to be. If the condition grows worse the lungs may be affected to the point that it causes repeated chest infections and some shortness of breath.

Causes of Scoliosis

The cause is unknown, but some suspect hereditary may play a part and in some cases it follows neurological diseases. Poor posture or too much exercise does not cause it. Although Scoliosis cannot correct itself it seems to progress to a certain point and then stop, never advancing any further. In severe cases where the curvature of the spine is extreme it may interfere with the normal function of the heart or chest cavity.


Many times physical therapy proves to be a great comfort by developing a better posture and increasing the strength of spinal muscles. Sometimes a person must wear a spinal brace for up to a year or more to help straighten the spine. If treatment does not work, then surgery is indicated.

Types of Surgery

1. Spinal-fusion
As much as one-third of the whole spinal column may have to be fused to produce stability. The operations for Scoliosis are serious and afterwards a patient must take care and let the spine heal properly. Often the patient will have treatments for a long period of time after the surgery.

2. Harrington rods insertion
Long metal rods are inserted deep in the muscle tissues beside the spine. This works by creating pressure and counterpressure, which causes the rods to force the vertebrae into a much better alignment. This type of surgery has proved to be very satisfactory. In time most of the rods will have to be removed, but the operation is considered quite safe.

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