Levoscoliosis is a spinal curve that occurs when the spine inclines more on the left side in a ‘C’ shape. The curve often starts in the lower back. Levoscoliosis is not as common as scoliosis that involves curvature towards the right side. A 2014 review revealed that about 85 to 90% of children had scoliosis that involved right spinal curves.
3 percent of individuals with progressive curvature may eventually experience severe problems that can include scoliosis and back pain, spinal problems, and nerve compression causing numbness, weakness, and leg pain.
What is Levoscoliosis?
Levoscoliosis is a type of scoliosis in which the spine curves to the left, sometimes causing the spine to make a ‘C’ From a side view, the spine normally curves at the neck and lower back, forming a wide “S” of the spine. However, when viewed from the back and front, the spine usually appears straight
Types of Levoscoliosis
There are several types of levoscoliosis with each having different features. They include:
Levoconvex scoliosis is thoracic levoscoliosis. It is a convex curve in the spine towards the left side. Also, convex refers to the outward bulging of the spine. In this condition, the curved part of the spine is found on the left side of the body.
The thoracic spine comprises twelve levels and the thoracic cavity has a ribcage that protects the heart and lungs. The presence of mild thoracic levoscoliosis does not affect the heart and lungs. However, in severe cases involving the thoracic spine, it can cause breathing problems since the abnormal spine projects over the ribcage and compresses the heart or lungs. Levoscoliosis rarely affects the thoracic spine as the curve is usually found on the right side in thoracic scoliosis.
The lumbar spine comprises five levels. Lumbar levoscoliosis is more common than thoracic levoscoliosis. However, some patients may have a mild case, which will not affect any organ. The spleen and intestine are the two organs that are usually affected by this condition. Also, levoconvex lumbar scoliosis usually has a C-shape curve in the lower back region. This levoconvex curvature exerts pressure on the organs in the abdomen, thereby causing pain and other related symptoms.
This type of levoscoliosis affects the thorax and lumbar spine. It usually occurs as an S-shape curvature of the spine. In this case, the spine usually curves to the right side. However, it is hard to treat this condition because it affects the upper and lower sections of the spine. This condition will cause a failure of the affected organs in severe cases.
What Are The Causes of Levoscoliosis?
About 80 percent of patients with levoscoliosis have idiopathic scoliosis. In other words, the cause is not known.
Levoscoliosis may result from any of the following:
- Birth defects: This occurs when the spine bones do not form properly in the womb. It also refers to congenital scoliosis.
- Neuromuscular causes: Some diseases, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, can lead to this condition
- Injury: It can occur by damaging the spine.
- Degenerative conditions:
Signs and Symptoms of Levoscoliosis
The signs and symptoms of levoscoliosis are different in each patient. The actual signs are determined by the severity of the curve.
The following are some of the signs and symptoms of levoscoliosis:
- Back pain
- Uneven shoulders and protruding shoulder blades
- A noticeable curve in the spine in advanced cases.
- In some mild cases, there are no visible symptoms.
- One leg becomes smaller than the other
- Slightly oblique waist and unequal hip
- Changes in the way the person walks
- Difficulty in carrying out daily activities (such as wearing clothes, cleaning, and cooking)
- Breathing difficulties
- Changes in posture
- Weakness and numbness of the muscle
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How is Levoscoliosis Diagnosed?
Most young people that have a slight curvature in their spine will not notice it themselves. However, the condition may get noticed during a school screening or while visiting a doctor.
If you notice that your hips or shoulders appear uneven, you need to go to your doctor to check your spine. In addition, your doctor will make inquiries about your growth and the symptoms you notice. The doctor will also carry out a physical exam by looking at your back while you bend forward at your waist with your arms hanging down. They can also check to see if there’s any numbness or weakness of the muscle.
If any curve is detected during the exam, your doctor should refer you to see an orthopedist or a spine specialist. They will conduct X-rays and use the outcome to measure your spine’s curvature. If the curve in your spine becomesat least 10 degrees, then there is scoliosis. However, when the curve becomes at least 25 degrees, doctors will recommend treatment.
According to the National Scoliosis Foundation, about 2 to 3% of people in the United States have scoliosis. This amounts to about 7 million of the United States population. Because there are several different types of scoliosis, a patient may have an abnormal curve either on the left or right side.
Southwest Scoliosis Institute has top scoliosis specialists that are adept at diagnosing and treating levoscoliosis in children and adults. For instance, the appropriate treatment option of levoscoliosis depends on the cause and how severe the scoliosis is. Also, the health and age of the patient will also influence the type of treatment required. Some treatments that are commonly used for levoscoliosis include the following:
Back or Underarm Brace
Although a plastic brace cannot reverse the curve in the spine, it can prevent the curves from getting severe in about 80 percent of kids. However, children that have spine curves between 25 and 45 degrees must wear a back brace.
Most people will wear the brace for about 16 to 23 hours daily; they will only take it off when they need to exercise or bathe. Once the bones stop growing or after repairing themselves, the patient can remove the back brace.
People living with levoscoliosis and trying to reduce pain and enhance movements may need to visit a chiropractor. Ensure you choose a practitioner that specializes in managing scoliosis. The symptoms can get worse if you choose a non-specialized practitioner.
Although chiropractic treatment will not cure levoscoliosis, it can improve the quality of life of the patient.
Physiotherapy offers more promising results in improving the quality of life of someone with levoscoliosis. According to the Scoliosis Research Society, some exercises can help to cope with the symptoms. Maintaining the right body weight and sticking to a regular exercise program are effective in reducing symptoms associated with this condition.
At Southwest Scoliosis Institute, our expert surgeons usually recommend levoscoliosis surgery for those with a severe spine curvature or those whose condition is getting worse after undergoing non-surgical treatments. After carrying out a complete spinal examination on the patient, the doctor will give his or her recommendation. The treatment option that the doctor recommends will depend on the patient’s condition.
Patients that require levoscoliosis surgery must choose qualified spinal doctors to handle their care and treatment. For instance, our doctors are board-certified spine surgeons with many years of combined experience in carrying out minimally invasive spinal surgery. Our expert spinal surgeons will give patients the results they desire.
In advanced cases of levoscoliosis, especially in conditions where the curves can damage organs or restrict movement, a doctor will perform a spinal fusion to reverse the curve. During the spinal fusion procedure, the surgeon will align the bones and insert one or two small bones. When this region heals, it will form a single and straight bone. The surgeon can also attach a metal rod to the spine to keep the bone straight as it heals. Most people will walk the day after surgery and resume activities within two to four weeks.
The treatment procedures performed by our expert spinal surgeons will:
- Improve your posture
- Ease pain
- Improve your strength and core stability
- Help you breathe easily
- Improve your pelvis alignment, and
- Improve your movement pattern and function
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Finally, if you or your loved one suspect you have Levoscoliosis and want to discuss your condition with board-certified experts at Southwest Scoliosis Institute, please give us a call and make an appointment at 214-556-0555.
If you are an adult living with scoliosis or have a child with this condition and need a doctor who specializes in orthopedic surgery,
call the Southwest Scoliosis Institute at 214-556-0555 to make an appointment today.