by Dr. Larry Acuña, via The Medical City | Why is our spine important?
First, our spine is our body’s primary support. It is what enables us to stand upright and move around. It is the mainframe to which all our body parts are attached, our head, shoulders, chest, hips, and legs. This means that any change in the anatomy of our spine can have drastic effects on our everyday activities.
Normally, if you look at another person’s back, the spine is straight and midline. However, there are some people that have an abnormal lateral curvature of their spine that is usually categorized under Orthopedic Urgent Care. This disease is called scoliosis. It causes an abnormal “C” or “S” shaped curvature of the spine making the shoulders uneven and slanted and the rib cage prominent on one side.
The main cause of scoliosis is usually unknown. Many other illnesses and syndromes are linked to this disease like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy*, or Marfan syndrome**. A muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited diseases marked by progressive weakening and wasting of the muscles while Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue.
Scoliosis is seen in two to four percent of our population and is more common in girls than boys. Further, it is diagnosed through physical examination and/or radiographs of the spine.
Scoliosis is a spine deformity that when progresses severely, will cause restrictive lung disease manifested by difficulty in breathing and getting tired easily. Moreover, scoliosis brings along a stigma of a negative body image, which is the usual complaint of teenage patients with deformities. Back pain usually manifests in the adult population.
The treatments for scoliosis are physical therapy, body bracing, or scoliosis surgery. Physical therapy and body bracing is usually done for mild cases of scoliosis with spine curvatures (Cobb’s Angle) of 40 degrees and below. If we recognize them early at 25 – 35 degrees most of them will not progress. However, for more severe cases, surgery is recommended to prevent restrictive lung and heart disease.
In 2013, I had a 35-year-old female patient with the following symptoms: poor posture, difficulty breathing, a hump at the back, and discomfort when sitting or lying. I advised her to undergo a series of tests which later on revealed that she had severe neuromuscular kyphoscoliosis. This condition involves the abnormal front-to-back curving of the upper spine. She underwent scoliosis surgery that same year and was glad about the outcome.
The surgery brought about a lot of improvements to the patient in terms of health and appearance. After the surgery, she could breathe and sit up better. The discomfort and back pain was gone. She also lost the hump on her back, looked thinner, and gained four inches in height.
If you have scoliosis, it is important to talk to your doctor because scoliosis is a treatable illness. Your doctor will tailor-fit the right treatment approach for you. At The Medical City, your doctors will collaborate with you as partners in your health care.
The Medical City Integrated Spine Program
“Get the knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases” -Hippocrates
The Medical City Department of Orthopedics is launching its new Integrated Spine Program (ISP) which offers expert diagnostic and therapeutic services for patients with back problems. Some of these conditions are scoliosis, lumbar slipped disc, cervical spondylosis, spine fractures, spine tumors, and spine infections.
The goal of The Medical City ISP is to set the standard for spine health in the country. With its highly specialized team of surgical, medical, and nursing staff, The Medical City’s ISP offers world-class state-of-the-art care for children and adult patients with spine illnesses. The program boasts innovative technologies in treating spine patients. From its newly procured Modular Spine Table System to its Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring Machines and Image Guided Surgery System, The Medical City ISP provides you with first-class healthcare for your spine needs.
The ISP has different spine packages to offer which include Lumbar Laminectomy, Lumbar Laminectomy with instrumentation, Anterior Cervical Decompression and Fusion (ACDF), and Scoliosis Surgery.
For further information, please visit us or call the Orthopedic Multispecialty Center (OMC) located on the Ground floor of The Medical City’s Podium Building, tel. nos. 9881000/9887000 ext. 6521.
The OMC offers different Orthopedic services such as Sports medicine and Arthroscopy, Joint replacement surgery, Hand and Microvascular Surgery, Pediatric Orthopedics, and Orthopedic Oncology.
*Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of inherited diseases in which the muscles that control movement (called voluntary muscles) progressively weaken.
**Marfan syndrome is an inherited disease that affects the body’s connective tissue, which provides the strength, support, and elasticity to tendons, cartilage, heart valves, blood vessels, and other vital parts of the body.(www.webmd.com)