Your spine is a vital component of your body, protecting your spinal cord from damage as well as supporting your body’s weight. Damage to the spine, whether by a medical condition or an external force, may be debilitating and can sometimes require surgery and physical therapy. Some individuals with spinal problems may find daily tasks to be painful and possibly difficult to perform.
When you need professional advice about spines and scoliosis, Florida Medical Clinic is your best resource.
Your Spine and You
Every year, millions of Americans suffer from spinal pain in one form or another: whether spinal injury, fractures, herniated discs, and more.
Keeping your spine healthy is an important part of your lifestyle. Taking good care of your spine now will help prevent or mitigate problems later.
A few simple adjustments to your daily can make all the difference. These include…
- When lifting a heavy object, bend at the knees instead of using your back.
- Carry heavy objects close to your body.
- If you stand frequently, reduce the strain to your lower back by keeping one foot in front of the other and making sure your knees are slightly bent.
- For people who sit at their jobs, don’t slouch! Invest in a comfortable or ergonomic chair if necessary.
The American Chiropractic Association has a comprehensive list of recommendations on what you can do to keep your spine healthy.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is defined as a sideways (or lateral) curvature of the spine. The spine does curve naturally; however, the curve should not be visible when viewed from the back.
No single factor determines whether an individual will develop scoliosis. In some cases, the cause of scoliosis is not known. Scoliosis is usually diagnosed during childhood or early teenage years, but can develop in adulthood.
The severity of scoliosis varies between individuals. Many cases are mild, while others become more severe and potentially disabling as time goes on.
Scoliosis is not a preventable condition. It can, however, be treated. A CT scan or MRI can determine whether an individual has scoliosis.
The type of treatment depends on the severity of the individual’s case, as well as age, gender, curve pattern (S versus C), and the location of the curve.
For children, many cases of pediatric scoliosis do not need treatment as their bones are still growing and forming. Other cases can be mitigated with surgery, or a brace and regular monitoring.
Treatment for adults is a more complex situation since adult bones have already formed. Many adults can find relief with non-invasive options such as physical therapy, braces, exercise, and medication.
Surgery is available to prevent the spinal curvature from getting worse; however, many surgeons view this option as a last resort. Spinal surgery is a significant undertaking for the individual as the surgery is invasive, may take months to fully recover, and can lead to complications.
Surgeries for scoliosis generally aim to relieve symptoms caused by spinal problems, prevent the condition from worsening, and restore the individual’s quality of life, especially for chronic conditions.
Complications of Spinal and Scoliosis Treatment
As with any invasive surgery, spinal and scoliosis treatment can have their complications. These include bleeding, nerve damage, infection, lung problems, and pain.
Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) is another potential complication following spinal surgery. This particular condition can be very dangerous, as excessive blood clots form in the veins and may cause permanent damage. If left untreated, these clots can travel to the lung and cause a pulmonary embolism, which is a serious condition where the lung collapses.
The decision to have spinal or scoliosis surgery is one that requires thorough consideration between the patient and doctor. Your doctor will make recommendations as to the type of treatment and recovery program appropriate for you. At the end of the day, however, only you know best what type of treatment you are comfortable with.
Florida Medical Clinic Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Whether you’ve injured your spine in an accident, have a child affected by scoliosis, or if you have scoliosis yourself, Florida Medical Clinic’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery can help.
Our leading specialist, Dr. Geoffrey Cronen, is a leader in the Southeast for diagnosing and treating spinal deformities. Since 2007, Dr. Cronen has helped children with spinal deformities at the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Tampa.
Make an appointment today by calling (813) 979-0440.