Scoliosis is defined by having abnormal curves in the spine. It can be a curve side to side forming an “S” when both the mid back and low back are involved, or a “C” curve when just the upper or lower spine is involved. Scoliosis is also used when there are excessive curves front to back. A kyphosis describes a strong curve in the mid back while excessive lordosis describes a strong sway back curve in the lower back.
Scoliosis can be functional or structural. A functional curve is a curve that is due to a condition and can be corrected. An example of this is a short leg which causes a tipping of the pelvis and a resultant scoliosis of the spine. A scoliosis from the bottom up.
A structural curve is one due to the way the spine and skeleton develops. There can develop during different time frames
Some curves start inutero when the developing fetus is positioned in a way that allows for uneven development of the cranium and face (plagiocephaly and unilateral microcephaly), and eventually a torticollis. This is called infantile scoliosis and there is an increased risk for hip dysplasia in these infants. This left untreated can result in a scoliosis. Some infants, those in a breech position or facial or brow presentation at birth can have asymmetry between the front and the back of the body. They usually have the head in a strong position of extension (looking at the ceiling), arms back, difficulty lying on the stomach. Besides physical treatment of the joints, ligaments and muscles, it is critical for the parents to learn how to train with the infant. Babies that are asymmetric already inutero will usually develop a favorite side, often disregarding one side. In the breech baby this may present as not having contact with the front of the body, or with the top and bottom half of the body.
Being asymmetric in infancy affects the integration of sight and balance with movement interfering with normal development of the core musculature.
The condition left untreated results in asymmetry in the developing child.
When we discuss scoliosis, there are two aspects to consider. One is that scoliosis develops and the other is the scoliosis that progresses. There are different theories as to why some children develop scoliosis; there is not a single cause. There are different theories why a scoliosis becomes aggressive and progresses into a more deforming condition. More to come on this.
What is important in the treatment of scoliosis is evaluation of the curves, optimizing function of the spine and working with exercises to reduce the curves and gain core strength and stability. Each child gets an individual program which is based on how their curve has or is developing. Another important aspect of managing scoliosis is nutritional supplements. Certain nutrients, D vitamin in particular, are critical for the developing spine. There is a higher risk for scoliosis in Scandinavia due to the northerly latitude. Under the section “näring och hälsa” are recommendations for supplementing D vitamin, both how much to take and during which months of the year.