When it comes to understanding their diagnosis, one of the biggest difficulties facing scoliosis
sufferers is the large amount of complex terminology used to describe the condition. From individual characteristics and variations to the many development patterns which exist, the sheer volume of information and unfamiliar medical jargon can sometimes prove to be overwhelming and confusing, adding unnecessary stress to an already very stressful situation.
It is for this reason that we seek to explain scoliosis terminology and commonly-asked questions in greater detail so as to provide individuals with clarity and an improved understanding of their condition. Today, we are focusing on the term rotatory scoliosis, which is sometimes used by doctors to describe a specific curvature of the spine.
What is rotatory scoliosis?
Also referred to as rotoscoliosis
, this term is used to define particularly severe forms of scoliosis in which the spine not only leans to one side but also curves with a strong degree of rotation. Scoliosis in general is defined as a sideways-leaning spinal curvature (as opposed to conditions such as hyperkyphosis
, a curve in the upper region of the spine that causes the patient to lean forwards). Simple or 'postural' scoliosis may be used to describe a form of sideways curvature without any twisting of the vertebra, while structural or ''rotatory' scoliosis defines a more complex curvature in which the vertebrae twist either into or away from the bend. This rotation of the spine can lead to further skeletal misalignments in areas such as the pelvis, ribs and shoulders. Although the term itself is often used to describe the most severe curves, which have a particularly strong rotational component, there is a degree of rotation in most scoliotic curves, which means that this term is sometimes used to describe scoliosis more generally.
What are the symptoms of rotatory scoliosis?
As mentioned above, rotatory scoliosis causes misalignments throughout the body, which may be manifested in a variety of visual symptoms, including:
- Unlevel hips (one hip appearing higher than the other or tilted)
- Uneven shoulders (one shoulder appearing higher than the other)
- Protruding shoulder blades
- Rib cage more prominent on one side of the body
- One leg appearing shorter than the other
These symptoms can differ substantially according to the Cobb angle
of the curve, along with its rate of progression, which will also determine the extent of further complications experienced by the patient.
How is rotatory scoliosis treated?
For progressive cases of scoliosis, many patients are fitted with a back brace
, which is designed to prevent the curve from becoming more severe. For those who are deemed to be at risk of further progression, spinal fusion surgery
may be recommended in an attempt to permanently correct the curve; however, this is not advised lightly, due to the risks and possible complications involved.
There are also a variety of non-surgical treatments available, including physical therapy and stretches that are designed to improve the spinal curvature and relieve the patient's symptoms. Here at Scoliosis SOS, we have developed our own unique ScolioGold
treatment programme, which combines a variety of proven non-surgical methods in order to treat the spinal condition of each individual as best as possible. Over the years, we have treated patients with varying degrees of scoliosis and other spinal conditions, providing them with the methods to manage their condition and halt further progression.
To find out more about our treatment programme, or to book a consultation, please get in touch.