Doctor warns of four symptoms that require a prompt medical assessment

Scoliosis is characterised by an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine, typically in an ‘S’ or ‘C’ shape. It most commonly develops just before puberty, although it can occur at any age.

The severity of scoliosis varies from mild deformities to more pronounced spinal distortions. The exact cause is often unknown, although it can be associated with genetic factors, neuromuscular conditions, and congenital spine anomalies.

While scoliosis isn’t usually a sign of anything serious, Dr Tony Nalda, leader of the Scoliosis Reduction Center, shared four signs of scoliosis that require prompt medical assessment.

1. Pain, discomfort and muscle fatigue

Persistent or recurring back pain, especially in children and teenagers, should be evaluated for scoliosis, said Dr Nalda.

He explained: “Spinal curvature puts extra strain on your muscles, nerves, and ligaments, and can also cause muscle fatigue, especially in the back and shoulders.

“This is because extra effort is needed to maintain posture and balance. Those with scoliosis may also experience leg pain, or numbness and weakness.”

2. Feeling full prematurely

Severe cases of scoliosis can impact the function of the stomach and digestive system as the significant curvature of the spine exerts pressure on the abdominal area.

This can lead to feelings of premature fullness, or discomfort after eating, said Dr Nalda.

3. Struggling to breathe

In extreme cases of scoliosis, the spine curvature can be over 70 degrees.

Dr Nalda said: “This can compress the lungs and make breathing harder, especially during physical activity. If you notice that you’re struggling for breath with no other identifiable cause, you should definitely get checked out for scoliosis, as cases that impact a patient’s breathing are among the most serious.”

4. A change in appearance and movement

Someone with scoliosis may develop uneven shoulders or have one shoulder blade that protrudes more than the other.

Dr Nalda said: “Another sign of scoliosis is the development of an uneven waist, or one hip that sticks out more. Prominent ribs or loss of height can be additional signs of scoliosis.

“Look out for any noticeable changes in gait, such as leaning on one side, striding unevenly, or battling to maintain balance.”

The sooner people are diagnosed, the quicker they can receive treatment.

In turn, they can maximise their health and enjoy their lives to the fullest, said Dr Nalda.

He added: “So if you, your child, or your loved one are showing any of these warning signs, it’s best to get them promptly checked out by a professional.”

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