Scoliosis

Scoliosis can do more than impact your health. A curved spine can also affect your appearance, your self-esteem and your ability to do the things you want to do. But Hoag believes you have what it takes to heal. At Hoag Spine Institute, we deliver gradual, conservative, next-gen treatment options that emphasize flexibility and pain management, for a more complete recovery. With a robust, whole-body approach to diagnosing and treating back pain as well as serious conditions like scoliosis, Hoag Spine Institute is the Orange County leader for treatment of serious conditions of the neck and spine.

Need Advanced Scoliosis Treatment? Orange County Trusts Hoag for Comprehensive Spine Care.

Scoliosis can do more than impact your health. Back pain and spinal curvatures due to scoliosis can also affect your appearance, your self-esteem and your ability to do the things you want to do.

But with the Hoag Spine Institute in your corner, you have what it takes to take charge of your scoliosis symptoms. Every day, our comprehensive team of medical pain management and spine surgery experts delivers conservative, next-generation treatment options for those with scoliosis in Orange County. We emphasize flexibility and pain management, for a more complete recovery. And if your case requires scoliosis surgery, Hoag is the area’s recognized leader for minimally-invasive surgical approaches that deliver lasting relief with less blood loss, less risk of infection and faster recovery.

Read on for what you need to know about scoliosis, including what it is, why it happens and key definitions. And remember: for advanced, patient-focused care for back problems and spinal deformities in Orange County, there’s no place like Hoag. Contact us today at 949-764-1411 or through our online form.

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a type of spinal deformity involving an abnormal, sideways curvature of the spine.

Everyone has natural curves in their spine. But in those with scoliosis, these curves become abnormally severe, to the point they can begin to cause health problems or affect a person’s posture and appearance. In severe scoliosis cases, the spine can resemble a “S” or “C” shape in X-rays.

The abnormal curvature of the spine that’s characteristic of scoliosis can occur in different areas of the spine. In some cases, it can twist individual vertebrae as well. Scoliosis can vary in severity from person to person, with cases classified as mild, moderate or severe scoliosis.

Depending on the degree of spinal curvature, people with scoliosis can experience a range of issues with their appearance, including visible position differences in the height of their hips, shoulders or shoulder blades, or having a rib cage that’s more prominent on one side of the body than the other.

What are the Different Types of Scoliosis and Their Causes?

Scoliosis is classified into several types, with the type a person has depending on what causes the abnormal curvature and other factors.

Different types of scoliosis include:

  • Idiopathic scoliosis, the cause of which is unknown. Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common form of the disease.
  • Congenital scoliosis is a form of scoliosis resulting from birth defects that occur during the spine’s development in the womb.
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis is associated with neuromuscular conditions that cause severe muscle weakness that can lead to spine curvature, like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.
  • Degenerative scoliosis is typically seen in older adults, and usually caused by disc degeneration and other aging-related changes.

What are the Symptoms of Scoliosis?

Scoliosis doesn’t always cause noticeable symptoms, especially in mild or early cases. In those cases that do have noticeable signs, common symptoms of scoliosis include:

  • Visibly uneven shoulders or hips.
  • Leaning to one side when standing or walking.
  • Back pain, though pain is not always present, especially in mild cases. In more severe cases, those with scoliosis can experience debilitating pain in the back.

In advanced cases involving severe curvature, those with scoliosis may experience symptoms differently, including:

  • Leg pain that may be severe.
  • Major, visible differences in the body, including issues like having a more prominent rib cage on one side of the body or one shoulder blade that’s higher than the other.
  • A visible curvature of the spine when a person is bending forward.

Ready to get to the root of your back pain? Take Hoag’s free, online spine pain assessment to understand the impact your back pain has on your life.

What are the Risk Factors for Scoliosis?

While anyone can develop scoliosis, certain groups have a higher risk than others, depending on the type of scoliosis. Risk factors for scoliosis by type include:

Idiopathic Scoliosis
  • Age: The sideways curvature of the spine that’s characteristic of idiopathic scoliosis is usually diagnosed in pre-teens and teenagers. Symptoms like uneven shoulder blade height usually develop as a child grows, often becoming apparent after a rapid growth spurt. What’s called early onset scoliosis can impact even younger children. But with early intervention, most children can be successfully treated with non-invasive treatments like wearing a scoliosis brace.
  • Being female: Girls are at slightly higher risk than boys for developing scoliosis curves.
  • Family history: Having a close relative like a parent or sibling with scoliosis can increase your risk of developing scoliosis.
Congenital Scoliosis

Present at birth, congenital scoliosis is usually related to abnormalities that occur during the development of the vertebrae and spinal column while a baby is still in the womb. As such, the risk factors for congenital scoliosis are less clear than some other types. However, it’s believed the condition may involve genetic mutations during gestation or be somehow related to the mother’s health and diet during pregnancy.

Neuromuscular Scoliosis

Neuromuscular scoliosis is usually associated with conditions like cerebral palsy, spina bifida or muscular dystrophy that affect muscle balance and strength. In most cases, a person’s risk of neuromuscular scoliosis depends on the type and severity of the neurological or muscular condition they have. In general, patients who are the most limited in terms of mobility usually have the highest risk for developing neuromuscular scoliosis.

Degenerative Scoliosis

Degenerative scoliosis is more common in older adults, especially those with pre-existing spinal issues like an arthritic spine. As such, the biggest risk factor for degenerative scoliosis is growing older, due to physical changes and normal wear-and-tear on the spine. Those who haven’t taken steps to strengthen their core muscles, stay flexible and maintain a healthy weight are the most at risk as they age.

Treatment Options for Scoliosis

Minimally-Invasive Robotic Spinal Surgery at Hoag

When your spine is on the line, trust Hoag for next-generation spinal surgery.

In 2021, Hoag’s Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute in Newport Beach became the first hospital in Southern California to offer the Mazor X Stealth™ advanced robotic navigation platform for spine surgery. Combining 3D pre-operative planning tools with robotic precision, the system provides surgeons with advanced visualization of the body’s unique internal structures, giving every patient a better opportunity to come back strong from back surgery, including spinal fusion. Learn more about advanced robotic surgery for the spine at Hoag.

Confused about your Scoliosis Treatment Options? Hoag Nurse Navigators Are Here to Help.

Facing a health issue like scoliosis that could involve surgery can be confusing for anyone. That’s why the Hoag Spine Institute offers our unique Spine Care Navigators.

The Spine Care Navigators will help guide you throughout your diagnosis and treatment, serving as a resource for medically accurate information and advice. It’s one more way Hoag is here for Orange County patients with spine issues at every step of their treatment journey.

Visit this link to meet Hoag’s Spine Team, including our Spine Care Navigators for issues like scoliosis.

Is There Any Way to Reduce My Risk of Scoliosis?

There is currently no known way to prevent scoliosis, as the root cause for the vast majority of cases is unknown. These cases, known as idiopathic scoliosis, make up about 80 percent of all scoliosis cases.

However, there are certain steps you can take to potentially improve your overall spine health and posture, which can work to reduce your risk of developing issues like degenerative scoliosis as you grow older.

These steps may include:

Maintain Good Posture

Be mindful of your posture while standing, walking or sitting at a desk. Avoid slouching, hunching or carrying heavy bags on one shoulder. At work, use ergonomic furniture and adjust your chair height and screen position to promote proper posture.

Strengthen Your Core Muscles

Engage in regular exercise that targets core muscles in your back and abdomen, including planks, crunches and yoga. Strong core muscles can help support your spine and improve overall stability and strength, potentially keeping degenerative scoliosis at bay as you grow older.

Engage in Regular Physical Activity

Getting regular physical exercise not only helps keep your spine healthy, flexible and strong, it can greatly benefit your overall health, helping you avoid problems like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular issues as you age.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess body weight can put additional strain on your spine, including your spinal discs, vertebrae and the muscles and connective tissues that support your spine. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can be beneficial not only to your spine health, but your overall health as well.

Pay Attention to Body Changes

Degenerative or idiopathic scoliosis often starts slowly, with few noticeable symptoms. As such, be sure to pay attention to small changes in your posture and body differences over time, like uneven shoulder blades or hips. If you’re a parent, pay that same attention to your child’s posture and body shape, especially as they enter puberty.

Need a Scoliosis Specialist in Orange County? The Hoag Spine Institute Has What You Need to Heal.

With a robust, whole-body approach to diagnosing and treating back pain as well as potentially serious spinal conditions like scoliosis, the Hoag Spine Center is setting the gold standard in Orange County for the treatment of conditions of the neck, back and lumbar spine.

U.S. News and World Report consistently lists Hoag as High Performing — their top distinction — in fields like neurology, neurosurgery and spinal fusion. The reason why is simple. A dedication to advanced, patient-focused care. The latest technology, for hyper-accurate diagnosis, more successful treatment and a lasting recovery. A multidisciplinary team of spine specialists who are unified in their commitment to your healing. That’s spinal care at Hoag, and the level of treatment we deliver right here in Orange County every day.

Do you need an evaluation or treatment for scoliosis in Irvine, Rancho Santa Margarita, Huntington Beach, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach or other communities across Orange County? Trust Hoag for scoliosis care. With a focus on pioneering therapies and minimally-invasive surgery techniques, the Hoag Spine Institute is here for you.

You don’t have to accept living with the physical changes and pain of scoliosis in Orange County. Not when Hoag is right in the neighborhood. When you’re ready to heal, we’re here to help. Contact the Hoag Spine Institute today at 949-764-1411 or through our online form.

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