What are the symptoms of scoliosis? What are the signs? Let’s take a look …
Scoliosis has many symptoms and signs, and the condition can present itself as either mild or acute. Depending upon the type (idiopathic, congenital or neuromuscular scoliosis) and severity (trunk rotation angle and extent of the spinal curvature) of the scoliosis, what a patient experiences can be very different indeed. Sometimes it can be quite debilitating, frustrating and embarrassing for sufferers.
Many times, though, there are no symptoms or signs (especially in teenagers and children) and a curve can go completely unnoticed. Many schools now screen for the early detection of scoliosis and spinal deformities, however.
The symptoms and signs of this spinal disease include but are not limited to the following:
• The inability to sit still or straight.
• A head that appears to be off-centre.
• A body that appears to lean more to one side.
• A leg that looks shorter than the other.
• A shoulder that seems higher than the other, or a shoulder blade that protrudes.
• A rib cage that seems higher on one side of the body.
• A waist that looks uneven.
• An aesthetic difference in the spine compared to others, i.e. it doesn’t look straight.
• Hips that seem to be misaligned, or one that is more prominent.
• Mild or acute pain due to overall misalignment.
• Dull muscular pains, shooting pains, bulging discs, slipped discs and aggravated spinal nerves.
• Lumbar scoliosis that sometimes causes lower back pain.
• Scoliosis pain related to twisted or malformed vertebrae.
• Impaired physical movement.
• Delayed nerve response.
• Urinary incontinence (inability to control the bladder).
• Bowel incontinence (inability to control the bowel).
• Erectile dysfunction (failure to achieve/maintain an erection).
• In severe cases, a heart and lungs that work in an impaired way (trouble breathing, etc.).
A few key considerations:
Contrary to popular belief, pain is not the most common scoliosis symptom, and there could be an underlying cause that needs to be treated. Never ignore these symptoms. During puberty, the body grows at its fastest. Therefore, a curvature of the spine can progress relatively quickly during this time. Significant curvature is much more common in girls; they are said to be 8 times more likely to have curves that progress to the point that they require urgent treatment.
Recognising the signs and symptoms of scoliosis is critically important and can make a huge difference in the outcome of a patient. Early detection enables treatment before the condition progresses and causes more problems. Never ignore scoliosis symptoms and signs.