International Scoliosis Awareness Day being observed

Scoliosis is the condition in which the spine bends to the left or right creating a curve

Kathmandu, June 29

With the aim of creating awareness about scoliosis by promoting education and bringing together those affected by it, International Scoliosis Day is celebrated across the world on the last Saturday of June every year.

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves to the left or right, creating a C- or S-shaped curve. The exact cause of the disease remains unknown.

Early treatment is necessary to prevent and correct the spinal deformity or else the curve grows stiff. People with larger, untreated curves (over 45 to 60 degrees) are more likely to develop back pain, particularly in the lower back.

The deformity is progressive, said Gaurav Raj Dhakal, Associate Professor of Spine Surgery at National Academy of Medical Sciences. Each month at least three patients are found visiting the National Trauma Centre for the treatment of scoliosis. There are many scoliosis patients who have no idea of the disease, according to Dhakal.

Patients visit hospitals only when the deformity gets severe.

Severe condition of the disease increases treatment cost. Early diagnosis is therefore necessary, he added.

Children of any age can suffer from spine curvature. Infantile scoliosis occurs in children aged three or below. Juvenile scoliosis occurs in children between the age of four and nine. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis occurs between 10 to 17 years of age.

Though idiopathic scoliosis can occur in both girls and boys, girls are five to eight times more likely to have their curves increase in size along with their age, said the doctor.

Besides children, adult degenerative scoliosis begins in adult patients due to degeneration of the discs, arthritis of the adjacent facet joints and collapse and wedging of the disc space. Though adolescents with scoliosis feel no pain, adults with the disease will experience back pain along with deformity. Legs of adults with scoliosis could become weak due to nerve compression, according to the doctor.

Most adult patients or parents having children with scoliosis note one or more changes such as the chest shifts to one side, one shoulder blade becomes more noticeable than the other, unevenness of waist, one shoulder higher than the other, one hip higher than the other and unevenness of the front of the chest.

The doctor said that it is advisable to look at children’s back so that parents can find the deformity at the earliest.

School screening programme could be an effective measure to trace the disease in children.

Adam’s forward bend test can be conducted where a patient bends forward, starting at the waist until the back comes in the horizontal plane, with the feet together, arms hanging and the knees in extension.

The palms are held together.

The examiner stands at the back and looks along the horizontal plane of the spine, searching for abnormalities of the spinal curve.