What is the treatment for scoliosis?There are generally three available options used in the treatment of scoliosis: observation, bracing, and surgical correction. The majority of scoliosis cases are detected early, and are treated successfully with non-operative methods. Treatment options depend more on how likely it is that the curve will worsen than on the angle of the curve itself. A child with a 20° curve and 4 more years of growth may require treatment while a child with 29° of curvature who has stopped growing may not
require treatment. The treatment of scoliosis depends on the patient's age and sex, the severity of spinal curvature, the location of the curve, the type of scoliosis, and in girls, whether the patient has started to menstruate. The age at which menstruation begins is an important indicator of the stage of bone growth, which helps determine the risk that the disease will progress.
Most cases of idiopathic scoliosis are mild and require no treatment. However, to make sure that the curve does not get worse, the patient should be examined regularly by a doctor. More severe cases that cause discomfort or other symptoms and mild cases that are likely to get worse often require treatment, which may include special back braces, surgery, and back-strengthening exercises. Observation and repeated examinations may be necessary to determine if the spine is continuing to curve. Bracing may be used when the curve measures between 25 to 40 degrees on an x-ray, but skeletal growth remains. The type of brace and the amount of time spent in the brace will depend on the severity of the condition. Surgery may be recommended when the curve measures 50 degrees or more on an x-ray and bracing is not successful in slowing down the progression of the curve. Surgery is suggested for patients with curvatures over 50 degrees, for untreated patients, or for patients in whom braces have failed. In adults, scoliosis rarely progresses beyond 40 degrees, but surgery may be required if the patient is in a great deal of pain or if the condition is causing neurologic problems.