In most cases of scoliosis, the curve either occurs in the upper part of the spine (a thoracic curve) or the lower part of the spine (a lumbar curve). It may also occur in the middle of the spine and include both thoracic and lumbar vertebrae - this is called a thoracolumbar curve.
However, in some cases, the upper part of the spine will curve in one direction while the lower spine curves in the other. This creates a 'double' curvature with the appearance of a letter 'S'.
Examples of 'S'-shaped spines.
Causes & Symptoms of Double Scoliosis
The exact cause of double curve scoliosis is unknown, but this condition is not uncommon, nor is it life-threatening. While both curves will usually be of roughly equal size, a double scoliosis patient's Cobb angles may be anywhere from 10 degrees to 100 degrees.
Symptoms of 'S'-shaped scoliosis may include:
- One of your hips or shoulders being higher than the other
- One of your shoulder blades being higher or sticking out further than the other
- A rib hump (if your scoliosis has caused your chest to become twisted)
- One arm appearing to be longer than the other because of a tilt in your upper body
As this spinal condition progresses, back pain can develop and the curvature can put pressure on your nerves. This can lead to weakness, numbness and pain in your legs, and may even cause a loss of coordination in the muscles of the legs, making it difficult to walk.
In severe cases, the patient's lungs or heart may be affected, leading to breathing problems and heart failure. Luckily, such extreme outcomes are very rare even if you do have an 'S'-shaped spine.
Treating 'S'-Shaped Scoliosis
In order to halt the progression of double curve scoliosis, you may be required to wear a brace or undergo spinal fusion surgery. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, however, we treat scoliosis suffers using a non-surgical, brace-free treatment programme called ScolioGold - a combination of non-surgical scoliosis treatment techniques from around the world.
ScolioGold therapy is designed to treat all aspects of each patient's spinal condition with no need for surgical intervention. For more information about our scoliosis treatment courses, or to book an initial consultation, contact Scoliosis SOS today!