Scoliosis occurs when the spine has an abnormal curvature, which can cause many problems if left untreated. Even though mild cases of scoliosis may not need treatment, leaving moderate to severe cases untreated can have serious consequences.
Potential Risks of Untreated Scoliosis
Spinal Deformity: The most apparent consequence of untreated scoliosis is a spinal deformity. As the spine continues to curve, it can cause the shoulders, hips and rib cage to become uneven, leading to a noticeable hump on one side of the back. This can cause various physical problems, including muscle imbalances, back pain and reduced mobility.
Respiratory Problems: Severe cases of scoliosis can also affect the function of the lungs and lead to breathing problems. As the spine twists and curves, it can compress the chest cavity, making it difficult for the lungs to expand fully. This can cause shortness of breath, fatigue and other respiratory symptoms. It can also increase the risk of respiratory infections and complications in some cases.
Cardiovascular Issues: As the spine twists and compresses the chest cavity, it can put pressure on the heart and other major blood vessels. Over time, this can reduce blood flow and cause heart palpitations, chest pain and other cardiovascular symptoms. It can also increase the risk of heart failure and other serious complications in severe cases.
Psychological Effects: Scoliosis can also significantly impact a person’s mental health and well-being. The visible deformity and physical limitations can cause self-consciousness, low self-esteem and social isolation. It can also cause anxiety and depression, especially if the problem is not treated and starts to get in the way of daily activities and quality of life.
Treatment Options for Scoliosis
Many of these risks can be reduced with proper care, and people can live healthy, fruitful lives. In mild cases, it may be enough to watch and ensure the condition does not worsen. In more severe cases, braces or surgery may be needed to straighten the spine and prevent more problems.
Surgery is typically reserved for more severe cases. The surgeon will straighten the spine and fuse the affected vertebrae with medical hardware. This can help prevent the curve from worsening and alleviate any associated symptoms.
If you think you have scoliosis, book a consultation at Ortho Sport & Spine Physicians as soon as possible to discuss treatment options and prevent further complications.
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