International Scoliosis Awareness Day (ISAD) is observed on the last Saturday of June. Around 2-3 per cent of the entire population of the entire world is suffering from this condition and that is why June is celebrated as a scoliosis awareness month. Scoliosis is a complex spinal deformity and commonly affects growing children.
According to Dr Umesh Shetty – Sr. Orthopedic Surgeon & Director, AXIS Hospital, Mumbai – the cause of the disease is still not known.
“Scoliosis is a condition when there is an abnormal curve in the spine. The curve in the spine differs from patient to patient as per their age and other factors. Major risk factors are younger age (9 to 15-year-olds) and female. Young women during puberty may often encounter this,” said Dr Umesh Shetty.
What are the causes of scoliosis and does it have any connection with other diseases?
Dr Umesh Shetty: The cause of scoliosis is unknown so far. However, among the infants, it could be linked with congenital disease spina bifida, which is triggered during the pregnancy of the mother. There are some scoliosis like functional, neuromuscular, and degenerative types. Functional scoliosis may happen due to unequal weight-bearing or even muscular spasms. Neuromuscular scoliosis is usually linked with birth defects, where the bones of the spine do not form or separate properly during fetal development. Degenerative scoliosis happens in elders due to factors like arthritis, osteoporosis, or fractures for that matter.
What are the problems faced by people affected by scoliosis?
Dr Umesh Shetty: Scoliosis can make the patient suffer from severe pain and in advanced cases even restrict their natural movement, where the patient may not be able to walk or work normally. In extreme and rare cases, breathing difficulties may be faced by patients.
How serious is the scoliosis problem and how it can be treated?
Dr Umesh Shetty: Early screening through x-rays etc. are the best ways to detect scoliosis presence or development in the body. Most people are treated with observation, rest, and bracing, etc., in the early stages. For advanced stages, there are minimally invasive surgical options are available, but they are recommended only by experts in the most critical situation.