What is Scoliosis & Kyphosis? | Dr. Andrew Cash, MD Las Vegas, Nevada

By Brooke Strickland and Andrew Cash, MD

Scoliosis is a rare spinal condition that means that the spine rotates and curves from side to side.  It can be present at birth, but most often develops in childhood and adolescence.  It can be present in both boys and girls, but young girls have more incidences of scoliosis.  Children are often screened at a young age, since the body and spine grows so rapidly during the elementary and middle school years. Early detection is very important, as to minimize the curving of the spine as much as possible. Scoliosis is often not painful, but because it’s affect on the overall look of the body, it can cause self esteem issues for some children and teenagers.  

How do I know if I or my child has scoliosis? 

 A doctor will closely examine your back to see if there is cause for concern.  Curves of 10 degrees or less are not considered scoliosis, however, curves less than 30 degrees are usually followed through a series of x-rays taken as the child grows.  If the child has a curved spine more than 30 degrees, a brace or other orthopedic device is used to help reduce curvature.  If the brace doesn’t work and scoliosis is more severe, surgery is often recommended.   

What is kyphosis and how is it different than scoliosis?

Kyphosis also refers to a curved spine, but it is more of an exaggerated curve that makes the back appear rounded.  There are several things that can cause this including poor posture, tumors, osteoporosis, or the use of steroids for a significant period of time.  The most common cause is poor posture, which can usually be corrected through learning to sit up straight more, as well as stretches that help strengthen the back, correct the curve, and take away any pain associated with the condition.  Treatment for kyphosis is also similar to scoliosis and may involve physical therapy, exercise routines, pain meds, or a brace.  If these non-invasive tactics are not helpful in correcting the curves spine, surgery will likely help correct it, relieve any pain, and help stabilize the spine for right growth in the future.

Contact Dr. Cash at Desert Institute of Spine Care for an appointment at: http://www.disclv.com

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