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Dr. Daubs and Dr. Maitra

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. The cause of most scoliosis is unknown. Dr. Michael Daubs and Dr. Sukanta Maitra of OptumCare Orthopaedics and Spine Care offer their insight.

Scoliosis affects about 2 to 3 percent of the population. We see it in very young children and infancy. We call early onset scoliosis and then we have adolescents that can get scoliosis and then we also have older adults that can get what we call generic scoliosis. A lot of times we don’t even recognize who has it, it’s difficult to detect but in younger kids it can develop rapidly when they are growing and become really disabling.

So the signs and symptoms of scoliosis, particularly in the younger patient population, are mostly related to shoulder imbalance or the shoulders not lining up correctly when they’re standing. And often times as we get older, the leg lengths may feel different for patients and that may be another sign or symptom that you have a curvature in your spine. But for the most part, it’s usually back pain that continues to get worse and ulti-mately you want to get your medical professional to take care of you and to take a look at you and refer you to the appropriate physician.

So the diagnosis is usually both clinical exam we’ll do a detailed history to see if you have a family history of scoliosis and we’ll do a neurological exam as well. So it will be a

really comprehensive exam including x-rays to determine if you have scoliosis or not. In regards to treatment, it can be anywhere from just monitoring, checking x-rays periodi-cally a couple of times a year. It can arrange to bracing for a lot of young children. We brace them to try to get them through their growth spurt and then sometimes they’ll end up needing surgery. The same as with adults. If they have more severe symptoms, then they may end up needing surgery.

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