The human spine is a medical marvel of sorts, which is not only responsible for helping us to move or lift things, but to bare our body weight, and preserve a normal body alignment. It’s impossible to exist without a spine. Scoliosis is defined as the curvature of the spine and although it isn’t specifically considered a disease, it is very serious complication resulting from a multitude of different symptoms with no definite known cause. Fortunately, with the passing of time, and development of new technologies doctors are now treating this debilitating condition in numerous ways. We will explore the different technologies caregivers are currently using to fix this malformation using studies and articles written by doctors treating this condition themselves. We will also discuss the dilemmas that doctors face in delivering these new tools and skills to correct a sometimes life-threatening deformity.
The spine is one of the most integral parts of our bodies. Not only does it house the components of our central nervous system (i.e. the spinal cord), protects vital internal organs, but it also helps to support our movements and other daily functions. The spine holds us upright and provides the framework for our entire bodies. Since it plays such an important role, damage or deformities in this area are not to be taken lightly. Scoliosis is defined as side-to-side spinal curvature (“What is scoliosis? 2011), and it affects between 3-5 people out of every 1,000. It can have vast implications on every day life including, back pain, and in more serious cases, lung function.
Not much is really know about the cause of scoliosis, but much is being done to attack it. 80% of all scoliosis cases affect children between the ages of 11 and 18; classified as Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, or AIS. Being diagnosed with AIS can be a very distressing ordeal. Fortunately, doctors and scientists are constantly developing new methods and techniques to fight this condition.
Depending on the severity of the curvature, different treatment methods are implemented to attack this abnormality of the spine. Although the effectiveness of using plastic back braces to deter the curvature is still to be determined, doctors still generally use this method for smaller curves. In recent years, doctors have been employing a minimally invasive surgical approach for larger curves, one that requires surgeons to only make a few small incisions along the spine, rather than the traditional two-foot incision along the spine. This technique is by far the most radical treatment since the first scoliosis surgery took place in the early 1900s.
Anatomy of the Spine
The spine has three primary functions: stability, protection of essential internal organs and nerves, and range of motion. Without the spine humans would not be able to carry out many everyday functions such as standing up straight, bending over, twisting in different directions, or even walking. In...